Politics and literature are combining to boost the physician adoption of clinical information technology, according to the president of the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems.
William Bria, M.D., told physician informaticists gathered for a daylong symposium at the Health Information Management Systems Society meeting Sunday in Orlando, Fla., that the political planets are aligning to support medical informatics. Bria, the AMDIS president and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Michigan School of Medicine cited the State of the Union address by President Bush as only one example.
Bush told the nation that electronic medical records would improve patient safety and reduce costs. Bria also said a deal by the National Library of Medicine to purchase licenses and provide free to all users the Snomed clinical information terminology was "a major milestone."
"You've got to have controlled medical terminology to tell the dumb machines what to do."
Still, Bria said, "Funding the national EHR remains a daunting challenge."
Physicians are influenced, Bria said, by what they read in clinical journals and more commonly now mainline clinical journals are running articles and case studies about healthcare information projects. Before, Bria said, only small-circulation, technical journals and newsletters carried informatics reports and studies.
That doesn't mean physician leaders can be complacent about rolling out clinical systems.
"The reality is it still is a risky business to do this, and if you think otherwise, you're delusional," Bria said.
"The good news is, it can be done, it can be achieved. If you get in that mind mode by the end of the day (today) you're part of us."
As evidence of the growth of informatics, last year at the first AMDIS gathering as a part of the HIMSS show in San Diego the physician tech leaders met in a hotel apart from the convention center and drew about 180 attendees. This year, the AMDIS meeting became a full part of the HIMSS program, was moved into the same convention center as the trade show and drew more than 250 doctors.