Integrating clinical processes and information technology are crucial steps in improving the quality of healthcare in America, a leading outcomes researcher says.
"The challenge of clinical integration is the biggest challenge we face in medicine today," says David Nash, M.D., director of health policy and outcomes at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia. "Where we are stalled as a country ... is at clinical integration."
Nash delivered a keynote address on outcomes challenges at the summer conference of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Tuesday morning in Chicago.
According to Nash, integration of both care processes and clinical IT has proven difficult to date because it represents such an abrupt change from traditional behavior for clinicians.
"The reason why we are having such a devil of a time with clinical integration ... (is because) I believe we are experiencing an industrial revolution in medicine," Nash says. The prospect of such radical transformation is "scary" for physicians, according to Nash.
But he has reason to be optimistic. "From my perspective, we're beginning to win the psychological war" by convincing physicians to embrace rather than avoid information technology in clinical settings, Nash says.