One physician’s less than stellar opinion of EMRs

The Healthcare IT Guy: “Physicians know that better exists. They have experienced Google, Amazon and e-Bay. Game lovers know that Electronic Arts’ “Tiberium,” now 15 years old, exceeds the capabilities of their professional health care software. They know from Yahoo and MSN the value of configuring a home page suited to delivering niche-information of their own preference. They know from using Word and Word Perfect that they can create precision documents merely by tweaking a template. They know they can use voice commands to make a phone call on their Blackberry. They know that they can find drug information more easily on Google than proprietary software. They suspect that if their EHRs and EMRs had physician-specific home page functionality, that they could drop and drag orders, answer FAQs, dictate letters, and save time with templates with many fewer clicks. Ordering medications should be as safe and uncomplicated as using E*Trade.” – Once again I ask you, healthcare vs. consumer tech, who’s more advanced? In reality a good EHR/EMR should be like a microwave oven; just open the door, push a few buttons, and pull out your finished product in 30 seconds. Most people don’t worry about how the microwave oven works, they just use it. Like the rest of use, physicians want simplistic design with ultimate functionality. Who can blame them, really, but they will have to give a little as the technology is still in it’s infancy within healthcare. For some yet to be determined reason, healthcare is always behind other industries when it comes to high-tech. Read the entire article if you get the opportunity, it contains some great information.

2 thoughts on “One physician’s less than stellar opinion of EMRs”

  1. There is a quite simple reason, which is easily determined, why Healthcare IT is “behind” consumer tech. It’s called an IT budget, and for companies like banks, brokerage houses, e-commerce providers, search engine/orwellian providers, the IT budget pretty much IS their business. In healthcare, we have to pay for pesky things like Helical CT scanners, drugs, and a large group of well paid staff to do patient care. Oh, did I mention the tremendous amount of government/regulatory oversight that both restricts, at least to an extent, what you can do, and how much you can charge for it?

    Not to suggest that its a GREAT reason, but it’s one that has been on my mind for some time as a reason that Healthcare IT hasn’t hit its 2.0 sweetspot.

  2. You bring up a good point, Robert, but I was speaking generally about the healthcare industry in terms of the available systems. Many of the systems I use in my job as a pharmacists are less advanced than commercial systems designed to do similar things (databases, inventory management, barcode tracking, automated storage, automated dispensing, etc). For example, our Siemens Pharmacy system (which cost millions) is slow, cumbersome and has a poorly designed user interface. The systems that are sold by Siemens as part of their “integrated” solution are even worse. The pharmacy system offered by Meditech is better than the Siemens system in several ways, but still has a long way to go to be technologically advanced IMHO. In terms of an IT budget, I must humbly disagree with you on a couple of minor points. All large, advanced businesses have IT budgets along with other costs, but you see the ones that are good at it succeed, while those that manage things poorly fail. Hospitals, in general, do a poor job of managing their IT resources, but remain open because they are necessary. If hospitals had to be succeed on their own (without government funding, tax breaks, deep drug discounts, etc) to remain open I think you would see an entirely different structure in place. Of course this is my opinion and pretty much worthless as I am not responsible for any of those decisions. Thanks for stopping by.

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