Imagine If the Car Industry Had HITECH

The following is an interesting comment that’s kind of an extension to my previous post about a visit to an EMR using Doctor’s office. I think many of you will enjoy it.

Can you imagine this in a manufacturing environment? If GM, Ford, etc were legislated (incented?) to implement automation and safety changes that caused them to cut production in half…and cause the workers to be a bit distracted from what they were doing on the other 50% (then maybe tax them higher if they don’t put the changes in place within 3 years)….how healthy would that be for GM? And for the cost and quality of the cars being built?

Of course, not all EMR software causes you to cut production in half. EMR also doesn’t have to mean you’re distracted the other 50% of the time. Take a look at this post by Dr. Koriwchak that talks about some of the principles he used in his EMR implementation. My favorite comment he made was that he “rejected the notion that we would have to decrease patient volume and lose revenue, even temporarily, to get EMR implemented.”

So, if you see the HITECH act / EMR Stimulus money incentivizing what’s described above, then maybe….just maybe…you’re looking at the wrong EMR software.

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.


  • This isn’t a very good analogy. There have been a number of safety innovations the auto industry resisted, including seat belts, which save countless lives every year. At the time those innovations were required, there was ample data to show their safety and efficacy. In medicine we have several large studies showing poorer outcomes and increased error in addition to decreased efficiency with the introduction of EMRs, and yet they are still promulgated because… it just seems like it must be good. And if it’s not, you’re using the ..wait for it.. WRONG SOFTWARE!

  • brian,
    There are studies showing both good and bad to EMRs just like there were for other safety innovations like seat belts. Personally I don’t put as much stock in those studies as in my first hand experience seeing the benefits of an EMR implementation. So, my interest in broader EMR use comes from first hand experience and not just some study. Of course, I’ve heard of some of the failed implementations, and so I think they’re important to be heard and for doctors to learn from them so that they don’t have the same issues.

    So, it might been a little broad to say you’re using the wrong EMR software. Although, that’s certainly one possible issue. Another is that you might have implemented the software poorly. There are others.

    One thing is pretty clear though. Trying to get a doctor to use an EMR that doesn’t want to is a failed notion. There’s something in humans that makes us kick against being forced to do most anything.

  • Extending you analogy, if auto industry was like HIT industry, we would be driving vehicles that required different fuel.
    GM sedans would require gasoline, GM SUVs would use bio-fuel, BMWs would run on hydrogen tanks. Toyota car hydrogen tanks would be larger, so no interoperability.
    50 models requiring 50 different kinds of fuel.

    These cars would also have drivers on either left or right as the engineers pleased.

    if you switch cars, from a GM sedan to Ford SUV, you would have to relearn driving.

    Of course each car would require different kinds of roads to be driven on.

    You get the idea… disparate standards, no interoperability, loose regulation… 😉

    People don’t want to wear seat belts and want to drive at 100 MPH, but there are laws which force us to do otherwise.

    Strict regulations around safety manufacturing are already in place – for the good of the car passengers. Car manufacturers have figured out an efficient way to deal with it and passengers are happy.

  • Can you imagine having drivers sitting on different sides of the car (not being all right or all left)? What about if the brake and accelerator were switched. It’s bad enough when I switch between my cars and one has you shift out of park on the steering wheel and the other has it in the middle of the 2 front seats.

    Standards are an interesting beast for sure.

  • Complete analogy fail. The amount of safety and quality regulations on the auto industry is quite lenghty and have greatly increased especially since the early 70s with the introduction of CAFE standards, catalytic converters, etc.

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