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Achieving Meaningful Use Requires a Physician-Centric Approach to IT

March 2011
Beckers Hospital Review

Hospitals have been heavily computerized for decades, but those systems have done little for physicians. It's ironic: Physicians are avid users of technology that actually helps them — witness the prevalence of smartphones and, more recently, iPads in the hands of physicians — but those same physicians will bend over backwards to avoid using typical hospital information systems. 

Physician adoption of CPOE (computerized physician order entry) is notoriously awful. We're talking about software that has been around in some form for nearly 40 years; yet as of KLAS's most recent survey, less than six percent of hospitals had all their physicians engaged with their CPOE system.

Hospitals have a vested interest in getting their clinicians to use IT, now more than ever with so much American Reinvestment and Recovery Act money being dangled in front of them contingent upon physician meaningful use. All too often, however, the current hospital approach to the ARRA equation is to force or shame physicians into using the existing HIS "for the sake of the greater good." However, the "greater good" has never really been demonstrated or quantified across the board; and, within the walls of the hospital, the physicians do all of the "meaningful work" and the hospital gets all of the "meaningful money." In addition, physician productivity is almost universally negatively impacted, and personal incomes and/or lifestyles suffer.

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