At the end of my recent EHR workshop in Dubai, one of the attendees asked the question “What’s the economic model for EHR?” I thought this was an interesting question since we’d spent a lot of time talking about the benefits of EHR during the workshop. I talked to him after the workshop and he clarified his question to talk about how they were able to get funding for the EHR project up front, but they were trying to figure out how to pay for the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the EHR system.
I do believe that there are unique financial models in many countries. So, let’s set those aside for a minute since I think you really have to talk about those details based on each region. Instead, in the moment I gave him a much more general response that is worth considering.
I responded to his question with my own question, “What’s the economic model for electricity?” Of course, I could have asked the same question for water, the cleaning people, beds, etc etc etc. I think the same thing applies to the EHR. Every healthcare organization is going to need one just like they need water and electricity to function. The business model for them is you can’t see and take care of patients without it.
We’re not there yet with EHR, but I believe we’ll get there. I believe that the EHR and the companies which connect to and use the data will make it so you can’t properly see a patient without those tools. Sure, you might be able to make do in an emergency situation, but that’s an emergency. I believe the standard of care for many diseases, many care situations is going to require technology that interacts with the data in the EHR.
Personally, I can’t wait until this is the case. That will mean that we’ve built the technologies that facilitate a new level of care that wasn’t possible without technology. That’s a powerful concept and what we wish EHR software would already do. I think we’ll get there. What do you think?