84-year-old doctor refuses to use a computer – Lost her medical license

84-year-old doctor refuses to use a computer - Lost her medical license
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According to Washington Post, Aside from a fax machine and landline telephone, there isn’t much technology in the office of physician Anna Konopka, 84.

Instead, her patients’ records are tucked into two file cabinets, which sit in a tiny office next door to her 160-year-old clapboard house in New London, N.H. Records are meticulously handwritten, she said. Konopka does have a typewriter, but it’s broken, and its parts have been discontinued.

With medicine in the United States becoming increasingly regulated — and as more doctors are expected to keep records electronically — Konopka’s style of doctoring had attracted about 25 patients a week. Some had complicated conditions like chronic pain. Some didn’t have insurance. Konopka says she would see anyone who can pay $50 in cash.

But she no longer can. Konopka said she felt forced to surrender her medical license in September after New Hampshire Board of Medicine officials challenged her record-keeping, prescribing practices and medical decision-making, according to court documents. She is specifically accused of leaving the dosage levels of a medication up to a young girl’s parent and failing to treat the girl with daily inhaled steroids.

Konopka said the girl’s mother ignored her instructions.

State law prevents the board from releasing or discussing additional details regarding its now-closed investigation into the complaints against Konopka, a board member told the New Hampshire Union Leader. After Konopka surrendered her license, the board’s medical review subcommittee received additional complaints against her, according to court documents.

Konopka said she wonders if her license was in part taken away because of her inability and unwillingness to use technology to diagnose her patients or log her patients’ prescriptions as part of New Hampshire’s mandatory electronic drug monitoring program. The program, signed into effect in 2014, is an effort to reduce opioid overdoses.

In 2015, more than 16,000 people died of overdoses from prescription opioids, including methadone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every state except Missouri has created a prescription drug monitoring program, and most of those systems mandate some form of action by prescribers. Read the whole story on Washington Post.

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