Physician Social Media Use And EMR Adoption: Held Back By Similar Forces

In a recent blog post, Dr. Jeffrey Benabio argues that generally speaking, there are two simple reasons why many physicians haven’t spent more time digging into social networking:

*  Fear of liability

*  Lack of compensation for time invested

I’d argue that these two forces are holding back much of physician EMR adoption as well.  Sure, many practices dislike having to spend on an EMR solution, and may find technology overwhelming, but I’d argue that the two concerns  above are far more powerful.

Honestly, I think complaints about EMR costs have been exaggerated.  EMRs aren’t necessarily a big expense for a healthy practice, especially given that hosted solutions are getting more affordable by the day.  I’m not saying the cost is trivial, but it can be managed.

And I don’t think physicians, especially young ones, are stone-cold terrified by the idea of bringing more technology into the practice. They may not be thrilled by changing their workflow, but they’re intelligent adults who have doubtless used computers to perform many other types of work in their time.  Buying an EMR is a stretch, but not the biggest hurdle they face.

No, I think that fear of liability — in this case, mistakes made due to EMR misuse — and of sinking countless hours into learning the new platform are the biggest inhibitors to physician EMR implementation.  Both of these fall into the “fear of the unknown” category which derails so many new technologies.

If I’m right about this, the best way to boost medical practices’ EMR adoption rates may be to help address these fears. CMS, the courts and leading attorneys need to nail down what liability doctors face when working in this new environment, and vendors need to find better ways to assure doctors they’ll be productive quickly.

Let’s get right down to it and help doctors cope with their real concerns. Otherwise, we’ll wait in frustration as consultants and policymakers swing and miss.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

1 Comment

  • I sat in an IPA Board meeting last week and listened to many of the same points you raised about adoption of an EMR. As I sat there I noticed that all of these physicians, both young and old, had smart phones and at various times throughout the meeting each of them checked their phone at least once. How hard wat it for all of them to get up an running on a smart phone? A few days, a week? The same is true of an EMR. If the same amount of effort was put into installing a system, and learning how it works, everyone would be a lot better off.

    Sure, you need to choose the right system which compliments your workflow. Perhaps one built by a physician, for physicians would make sense. Something simple, easy to install, and FREE.

    Rather than taking the time to complain I challenge physicians to log on to and sign up for free account. Try it out, and let me know what you think. I believe that in a few hours you will be hooked. Prove me wrong!

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