The Disappearing EMR, Patient Built EMR, EMR Competes with Paper, and Healthcare and Data

You should know the drill by now. Each weekend, I go through and list some of the interesting, insightful, entertaining, news-worthy or otherwise notable tweets that I find covering my favorite topics of EMR, EHR and healthcare IT.

I have a feeling a few of these tweets will drive some interesting discussion around EHR. I hope they do since I do enjoy a nice discussion.

First up is a tweet that’s pretty profound to consider when we think about EMR:

I think the EMR has disappeared for a number of clinicians, but not enough. Maybe this supports my comment in a previous post that we hear a lot of stories of failed EMR implementations, but we don’t hear the stories of as many successful EMR implementations. Is that because those EMR that are so successful basically disappear. Reminds me of life where you start to take for granted something that at first was such a game changer.

My first gut reaction to this tweet was the need to link my really old post, “Develop Your Own EMR, Are You Crazy?” Although, this seems like a little bit different situation. I do wonder how many people developing EHR software end up seeing doctors who use that same software. I wonder if they’d have different priorities and/or if they’d take different approaches if their healthcare was the only motivator behind the EHR software they developed.

This one’s a little self congratulatory I admit, but I always love to see people tweeting my posts. Plus, I love to see how they frame what I’ve written. I prefer to look at that post as a look at ways that EHR can still improve, not as an ode to paper or even worse an excuse for doctors to still use paper. If you liked that post, look forward to another post this week in the “Healthcare Spoiled” series.

This is very true. We’re not ready to handle all the healthcare data that’s being produced today, let alone the tsunami of healthcare data that will come. I’m not too concerned though. It means there’s a tremendous opportunity on the horizon for an entrepreneur to do something amazing.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, 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.


  • John,

    Thanks for the highlight!

    One could interpret “disappear” either literally (Siri embedded in hospital walls, brain implant) or figuratively (musical instruments that seem, to the musician at least, to disappear by virtue of becoming a physical and cognitive extension to the musician).

    In this case I think we mean figuratively. Even “invisible” spoken language interfaces can frustrate if insufficiently intelligent and cooperative.

    Relevant to the notion of figuratively invisible EMRs is skilled use of a musical instrument. Think how many “clicks” a minute occur when a pianist plays a complex composition quickly, accurately, and enjoyably.

    That’s the problem with the whole “click minimization” solution to EMR usability. Many quick, accurate, and enjoyable clicks can be vastly preferable to fewer slow, errorful, and painful clicks.

    Perhaps EMR usability research should look to the phenomenology of musical instrument use to create EMRs that not just disappear, but make beautiful data.

    Thanks again (for the highlight, and for temporary use of your bully pulpit).


  • Chuck,
    Very interesting point about the click minimization phenomenon that we’re experiencing now. It’s never sat completely right with me and I was never sure exactly why. I think what you described is why I couldn’t ever grasp it fully. Sure, we all want less clicks, but in my heart I’ve thought about the number of clicks that I do each day and that’s never been an issue. Plus, I know some doctors who click quite a bit and don’t have any problem.

    Certainly there’s something to say about click minimization and streamlining software, but not all clicks are created equal.

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