Good and Bad Doctors Exist Regardless of EHR

I find it interesting how many people are propping up electronic medical records as the silver bullet that’s going to solve our healthcare woes. It’s going to lower costs, improve care and solve world peace.

Let there be no doubt that the promises of electronic medical records are real. My problem is that many of them are just far overstated.

This time article does a pretty good job of putting some of these promises in perspective. The article on electronic medical records ends with this insightful commentary:

Doctors and patients live in a world of painful, pressing questions. The great physicians I’ve known seek answers through personal commitment to each patient and judgment born of practical experience — neither of which I have found in a machine.

I think this highlights an important point. Technology isn’t going to take a poor doctor and make them good. In fact, in some respects an EMR just exacerbates any problems a doctor has already. This isn’t just true for doctors. It’s true for anyone in a clinic. Rare is the person who poorly charts in the paper world and by some miracle is able to chart well in an EMR.

What technology does have the potential to do is take an already good doctor and make them great. Let’s just not think it’s some magical silver bullet.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, 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,, 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.