14 Apr Down To Business: Health Care IT: Not What The Doctor Ordered
Don’t underestimate the maddening complexity and considerable costs of digitizing health care records and processes. That was the overarching message from a dozen or so health care players, some of them doctors, following my recent column urging the industry to bring its IT practices into the 21st century.
A few readers took issue with my labeling health care practitioners as “laggards.” In fact, argues Dr. Daniel Essin, former director of medical informatics at Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center, “physicians are, and have always been, early adopters of technology.” Essin, who’s now chairman of an electronic medical records vendor, ChartWare, says many physicians have made multiple attempts to implement EMRs but failed. He cites six main reasons:
* They can’t articulate a set of requirements against which products can be judged.
* EMR systems aren’t flexible enough, requiring workarounds even before their implementation is complete.
* There’s a mismatch between the tasks products are expected to perform and the products’ actual functionality.
* Some systems are conceived as a “simple” add-on to the billing system.
* System workflows consume way too much physician time and attention.
* There isn’t adequate integration between internal and external systems.
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