Discussion of physicians' and hospitals' use of health information technology will be on the agenda when the American Medical Association's House of Delegates meets June 18-22 in Chicago, with resolutions calling for defining e-visit criteria, facilitating the certification of open-source software and slowing hospitals' transition to new IT applications slated for review.
Also on the docket is a trustees report (PDF) stemming from a 2009 resolution calling on the AMA to promote the adoption of a standardized electronic health-record system user interface and to advocate for a federal mandate for interoperability of EHR systems. That report concluded that such a mandate would be counterproductive at this time.
"The usability of electronic medical records and their ability to effectively integrate with clinical decision-making and work flow has not been adequately addressed to date," according to the report. "In a highly competitive marketplace, (EHR) vendors will be motivated by their customers to build new user interface designs and improve their products to provide better solutions over time. At this time, any attempts to standardize products would stifle product innovation. Just as medical practice has evolved, so will the (EHR) marketplace."
Instead, the report recommends that the AMA advocate for standardizing key EHR elements, standardizing log-in procedures and continuing research into interface design that can improve the quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare.