The Story of the Year
One of the biggest HIT-related news stories in 2011 was the extension in the effective date of Stage 2 Meaningful Use. At some levels this was a non-event. ONC’s decision to push back the Stage 2 start date for Stage 1 “early attesters” by a year (to Oct. 1, 2013) corrected a flaw in the original plan that effectively penalized hospitals for being on the ball and attesting for Stage 1 early. Yet, the move created a fair amount of confusion in the market and headlines in industry media, and paused some Meaningful Use activity. That is largely behind us now.
The Stage 2 proposed rule will be published in the next month or so, and many hospitals are beginning to focus on the challenge of getting widespread physician adoption of CPOE and documentation software that will be required by Stage 2 and 3 objectives. The key to this critical next step will be for hospitals to deploy applications that are (1) more usable by physicians; and (2) that actually save physicians time. Making CPOE software more usable, or “physician friendly”, has many aspects: It must support physician workflow, have an intuitive user interface (think training times denominated in minutes, not days), and offer flexible order sets and adjustable alerts. Ultimately, for physicians to adopt technology voluntarily and happily, it must have benefits to them. This means saving time (as technology should) and helping them provide better care for their patients (in a way that works for them).
A key part of this equation is to make applications accessible anytime, anywhere on a variety of computing platforms – traditional computers, tablets/pads, and smartphones. The emergence of the tablet as a “first class” device has been eagerly anticipated by the healthcare IT community for nearly a decade and is finally here. At PatientKeeper, we have a small but growing number of our 40,000 users who use their tablet/iPad as their only computing device. I think this trend may emerge as the big story of 2012.
What do you foresee in the year ahead?