Re-imagining Healthcare IT
The AMA’s CEO Dr. James Madara caused a stir recently when he likened today’s healthcare IT to “digital snake oil” during remarks at the 2016 AMA Annual Meeting. His analogy aside, the physician frustration with healthcare IT that Dr. Madara articulated is well founded, and the improvements he called for are completely reasonable and appropriate.
No other industry on Earth has accepted lower productivity and efficiency as a result of computerization. Healthcare shouldn’t either, especially when it comes to physicians, who are healthcare’s most valuable and expensive resource.
The fact is we’re still in version one of automating healthcare, which puts us well behind other industries. Take transportation, for example: Uber has completely changed the paradigm for ordering local transportation. There’s no tipping, there’s no dispatcher; instead there’s an incredible, new experience propelled by the technology that enables it. Today’s EHRs have gotten rid of paper, which is important, but that’s just table stakes; EHRs currently are doing the moral equivalent of electronic dispatching of taxi cabs. We have yet to Uber-ify healthcare and transform it into a system designed to take full advantage of the awesome computer power at its disposal. That’s where dramatic gains in both physician productivity and quality of patient care will be realized.
[This post was adapted from comments published in Becker’s Health IT & CIO Review.]