Healthcare IT Requires Both "Physician Adoption" and "Physician Advocacy"

August 2, 2011  |  Category: Health ITPhysicians

I spend a lot of time with physicians and hospital executives extolling the virtues of clinical software that can streamline physicians’ workflow. It’s a compelling proposition, and the vast majority understand the value of, and enthusiastically embrace, such systems. Data security, of course, is critical to the acceptance and deployment of clinical software; physicians ask me about it, and my technical counterparts routinely address security issues with hospital IT professionals. In the end, we’re able to answer all their questions and address all their concerns.

But it appears that patients are far less confident than clinicians and IT staff about healthcare providers’ ability to ensure the security of their electronic information. A new survey found that the majority of adults felt that their personal information could be misused if kept in an EHR. (The recent demise of Google Health provides another supporting data point.) That concern represents yet another challenge – and responsibility – for physicians (and healthcare IT vendors). Once we’re successful at generating broad-based physician adoption of clinical systems, then doctors must turn around and become advocates for these systems with their patients. Because, ultimately, everybody up and down the line – patients, providers, and payers – needs to be fully engaged in using this technology, which holds so much promise for improving both the quality and efficiency of our healthcare system. The EHR train has left the station; let’s all help patients jump on board.