EHR Proponents Keep Forgetting the Doctors

I decided to see if I could find the Senate testimony on EMR and EHR so that I could see the types of messages that were being told to Senate during their hearings on health care IT.  Well, it turns out that I found a ton of interesting information about the Senate hearings.  I had a feeling it was part of the public record and I think I was right.  In fact, I found a video of at least one Senate hearing and I’ll be writing about it shortly.

In this post I want to just highlight one section of the testimony from Adrienne Hahn.   It looks like Adrienne Hahn is from Consumers Union, the independent, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.  In Adrienne’s testimony she makes the following assertions about Health Care IT:

By harnessing the power of modern information technology systems we can improve the quality of American health care and moderate health costs by: 

1. Reducing Errors 
2. Eliminating service duplication, 
3. Promoting pay for performance, and 
4. Providing the data necessary to evaluate the actual comparative effectiveness of various treatments and drugs. 

I should point out that the majority of Adrienne Hahn’s testimony has to do with preserving a patient’s privacy and the impact of these choices on the consumer.  However, the above list of improvements caused me to pause.

Look at the list above and tell me which one benefits the doctors.  I guess reducing errors could possibly lower the liability a doctor has.  However, does anyone really think that in this sue happy world that a doctor’s liability insurance is ever going to come down in price?  Other than that, this list doesn’t include anything that benefits the doctors.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I have seen a ton of information advocating for patient’s privacy.  I’ve seen ton of people lobbying for better reimbursement models (see insurance companies).  Who is making sure that software is being built that will make doctors lifes easier as well?  If you’re a doctor’s advocate, I’d love to see and hear about what you’re doing to use health care IT to make doctor’s lives better.

I should also clarify that no, I’m not a doctor.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

2 Comments

  • In addition to forgetting the doctors, EHR certification bodies are putting little emphasis on usability, efficiency, and physician satisfaction. User Centric recently published a paper on EHR’s. We reviewed over 50 versions of selection criteria available online. Usability is barely mentioned. A link to the paper is on the UserCentric.com home page.

  • Randy,
    Thanks for pointing out the work you’re doing on usability. I’ll be certain to look into it since it’s of particular interest to me.

    I agree 100% that usability is often left to the side. Probably because it’s hard to measure. Usability has been my #1 complaint with the CCHIT Certification. CCHIT Certification makes people feel like it’s been certified to be usable even though it does not do that at all and for that matter never claims to do that.

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