The concerns of the electronic health record are understood. However, I think as the industry utilizes standards such as HL7 and buyers pay attention to the architecture of the systems, EHR systems will provide valuable cost-saving efficiencies to such a financially troubled industry. The largest challenge will be the adoption of nontechnical users to learn and understand that framework. The system is much more complicated than a pen and paper, but it provides efficiencies that will allow for a better standard of care across the entire world.
Benton M. Dickey
Solution delivery consultant
Kansas City, Mo.
Do-it-yourselfers may not realize true costs
Developing your own version of an electronic medical-record system is a common mistake that tech-savvy medical practitioners make. They rarely create a scalable, efficient system that meets standards and avoids common patient-safety traps. It is also much more expensive than they realize. Most docs think that since they did it themselves, they saved a ton of money. But did they? How much productive time was spent building the system? How much extra did they pay for the hardware? How many patients did they not see because they were busy working on the electronic health record? How much do they spend on maintenance? What kind of support do they get? Is the system disaster-proof? Where do they keep backups?
It is always frustrating to see do-it-yourself IT work. It is just as dangerous as do-it-yourself medical work. You wouldn't want me to perform my own upper-gastrointestinal exam. I'm sure I could do it. I've got a pretty good CCD camera and some flexible tubing. I'm sure I could rig up something that fits more with my workflow. I don't really have time to go to a doctor, and they never listen to my needs anyway. See how silly that sounds? That is how most do-it-yourself docs sound to IT professionals.
While there are some rare exceptions, I doubt that do-it-yourself-IT docs really understand the complexities of robust, tested and secure IT systems.
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