State’s push to make medical field electronic is causing some doctors to quit practicing

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — Doctors across the state are being forced to go electronic with requirements like using E-prescriptions and I-Stop but some doctors say the push is pushing them too far and away from practicing.

“I think this was the time for me to get out,” said Dr. Barry A. Weinstein. “Everyone has to realize when their time is. The state kind of pushed me out.”

After more than four decades of practicing medicine, he is hanging up his stethoscope and hanging a sign on his door which reads “Dr. Weinstein has retired”.

“Because the government was requiring electronic prescriptions, I figured they would take away my livelihood,” said Dr. Weinstein.  “So I decided to retire from the active practice of medicine.”

What the former physician is talking about with the electronic side of things is New York state’s effort to streamline patient information. Providers are now required to use e-scripts and to review and update i-stop. They’re both online resources created and enforced by the State Department of Health to cut back on patients doctor shopping and doctors over-prescribing narcotics.

“It’s a cost in money and time,” said Dr. Weinstein. “I’m not particularly computer efficient – older people generally are not – and it’s more a cost of time and aggravation.”

Dr. Weinstein’s home practice was pretty old-fashioned — it didn’t even have a computer, everything were written and kept on paper. He filed a waiver with the state, requesting they allow his practice to stay this way even after the Department of Health began enforcing the use of e-scripts. He says the took months to respond.

He feels there are good intentions with e-scripts and I-stop but has seen and heard about the downside of everything moving electronic.

“As I talked to the patients the last couple of months and they told me about experiences with doctors, they don’t seem to have a lot of face time with doctors,” said Dr. Weinstein.  “They all seem to be putting their energy in their computers.”

And that’s something this long-time physician didn’t want to become so he decided to take off his white coat, pack up his hand-written files and say his goodbyes, much sooner than he ever expected.

“I miss my patients,” said the doctor, getting misty eyed. “Perhaps, [I] didn’t realize how much and how important I was in so many lives as they came streaming in the last few months and they said their farewells.”

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