New Year, Familiar Challenge

January 4, 2016  |  Category: All Things EHR

The most significant IT-related change in healthcare over the next several years will involve processes as much as technology. I’m referring to EHR optimization, specifically to improve physicians’ workflow and productivity.

An EHR is supposed to “automate and streamline the clinician’s workflow;” unfortunately that’s not today’s reality, as evidenced by countless articles and complaints by physicians. The current crop of EHRs have simply paved the cow paths; they’ve automated traditional paper processes and removed the paper. Now, to meaningfully improve healthcare, we need computers to help doctors  do something differently than they would have done had they been working on paper. Some of these advances will rely on various technologies such as big data and A.I.; others simply require a re-thinking of how systems support physicians’ workflow.

Impediments to using hospital EHRs demand attention because physicians are by far the most expensive and scarce resource in the healthcare system. Hopefully, the next few years will bring about the innovation and new approaches necessary to make EHRs truly work for physicians. Otherwise, the $36 billion and the countless hours hospitals across the country have spent implementing electronic systems will have been squandered.

Paul Brient
Chief Executive Officer
Paul has more than 20 years of experience in healthcare information technology. Prior to PatientKeeper, Paul held senior executive-level positions at leading healthcare and consulting firms, such as McKesson, HPR, and The Boston Consulting Group. Paul began his healthcare IT career as the founder and president of BCS, an early physician office management software company.