Many doctors could tell you why they hate health care IT with three letters: EHR. But what really irritates doctors about HIT and creates a Pavlovian effect around the term? The Permanente Medical Group CEO Robert Pearl, MD listed five reasons on HIStalk why health care IT isn’t widely embraced. This list touches on some of the inherent issues of HIT, and we’ve elaborated on each reason given what we believe are the foundational problems for health care IT today:
1. Developers focus on doing something with a technology they like rather than trying to solve user problems, such as jumping on the wearables bandwagon despite a lack of evidence that they affect outcomes.
Doctors may never get to the point of loving documentation, but it is feasible to create useable software that makes tedious tasks painless and even enjoyable. It takes redefining how we approach and use health care IT. We designed our charge capture technology to be inherently user-friendly and eliminate tedious paperwork, so that doctors actually enjoy using the software (a novel idea!)
2. Doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and patients all feel that someone else should pay for technology they use.
We are seeing an ever-increasing “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) phenomenon where health care providers are using their personal mobile devices for work. Health care groups need to embrace and internalize this concept with a robust policy instead of attempting to restrict it, making the technology much more powerful and cost-effective.
3. Poorly designed or implemented technology gets in the way of the physician-patient encounter.
The lack of usable software in health care takes valuable time away from the patient, leading doctors to instead spend their time stumbling through poorly developed technology. Good software should be developed with the objective of giving time back to the doctor.
4. EHRs provide clinical value, but slow physicians down.
EHRs and many HIT systems are extremely structured and they don’t build in customizations at the practice level. These rigid systems don’t allow for shortcuts or ways to make the process more efficient. Try driving the speed limit your whole life and you’d go crazy too.
5. Doctors don’t understand the health care consumerism movement and see technology as impersonal rather than empowering.
The health care IT industry is painfully far from where technology is for mainstream consumerism, so it’s no wonder doctors see it as impersonal. Technology should grant doctors access to information that gives them more transparency into their work. Our charge capture technology gives doctors control over their billing and allows them to run reports on their own productivity.
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” Albert Einstein (allegedly) made this statement. When we take the time to understand why HIT can be so unpalatable and what it truly means to build usable software, we can create technology that doctors will actually enjoy using and will also improve patient care.