I’ve been really intrigued lately by the changing media landscape. Things like Blogs and Twitter are providing opportunities for basically anyone to be able to share a message with the world. Certainly, many of the blogs don’t get read and a tweet on Twitter falls off people’s radar very quickly. However, some of the better or more interesting ones rise to the top and provide an interesting and sometimes dissenting voice to the conversation. Personally, I think this type of open discussion around topics is valuable and beneficial as long as people maintain a certain level of respect and decency.
My question to you then, is what would you say to a Healthcare IT audience?
As I considered on this difficult question myself, I decided the message that I would want to deliver: You can resist all you want, but the future of healthcare will require IT.
Pretty much every day, someone comes on this site to talk about the benefits and challenges associated with EMR and EHR in their office. As I’ve listened to the various challenges that people have posted, I’m sympathetic to them. However, almost all of those I’ve heard boil down to poor EMR selection or poor EMR implementation.
To me, the EMR selection is the absolute most important part of the EMR implementation process. Far too many doctors and clinics don’t take the time and effort that’s required to really go through a proper EMR selection process. I’m very sympathetic to them for a lot of reasons (ie. It’s not their job or interest, there are 300 EHR vendors, there aren’t great resources for differentiating EHR, there are a lot of perverse incentives, etc). However, it’s worth the cost to do it right. Otherwise, you should wait until you can do it right.
However, I believe that EMR is still only one small part of how healthcare IT is going to impact healthcare. Just last night I was at a local event and someone who use to work in the casino industry has been working for the past year or so on an app that helps improve doctor to doctor communication. Fascinating stuff.
Personally, I see us just at the very begging of a revolution in healthcare IT. IT is going to start invading every part of healthcare and will pretty much be impossible to avoid.
Certainly there will be some (possibly many) who continue to resist the adoption of technology in their clinic. However, I’m seeing more of a shift by patients and doctors that are interested in finding more ways to integrate technology into their healthcare. Most of the doctors aren’t sure what to do next, but they’re looking.
I can certainly understand and appreciate those that say that the current EMR and healthcare IT offerings aren’t up to snuff. The fact is that many of them aren’t. However, that doesn’t change my belief that IT is still going to change how healthcare is provided. It just may mean that healthcare will be changed by an IT offering that most of us don’t know about today.
My greatest wish would be that we could close the case on whether healthcare IT is important and/or it can change healthcare. Instead, let’s put our energy into finding the ways that it can change healthcare IT for good. All of us focused on using healthcare IT and EMR for good in healthcare would produce some amazing results.