Advocates of EMRs are not physicians and are not attuned to doctors' needs

LETTER — Posted Oct. 18, 2010

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Regarding "If EMRs were so useful, incentives and penalties would not be needed" (Letters, Oct. 4): Amen.

From my state-level work-group activity and hospital-level electronic health record use, I am left with the strong impression that those with the strongest investment in EHR adoption are not clinicians working at the sharp end of care. Rather, administrators, bureaucrats, politicians and vendors carry a disproportionate interest in our use of EHRs. I think this contributes significantly to a near absence of "usability" considerations in EHR design and implementation.

Clinicians want a usable, reliable, secure, affordable EHR system that feels intuitive and smooth and makes us work faster, smarter, safer and more profitably at the point of care.

Give clinicians these things, and federal incentives won't be needed. (The phenomenon of smartphone adoption by physicians is evidence of our spontaneous willingness to adopt usable, useful technologies.) Don't give clinicians these things, and federal incentives won't be enough.

A simple solution would be standardization of patient database structures. Clinicians would be free to interchange EHR application/GUI (graphic user interface) layers at will.

Current idiosyncrasies of proprietary product database structures render EHR product change prohibitively expensive due to the cost of data migration. On the other hand, if vendors know I can easily ditch their products in favor of better ones, market forces would drive improvements in product quality and cost.

David Hager, MD, Kerrville, Texas

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/10/18/edlt1018.htm.

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn