When I look at the world of healthcare IT and EHR, there are a lot of things to be proud about. In the 11+ years that I’ve been blogging about EHR, I’ve seen a massive progression in the use of technology in healthcare. I know a lot of doctors that implemented EHR the right way and are seeing a lot of value from it. It makes their workflow more efficient and helps them take care of their patients better. They can’t imagine practicing medicine without an EHR and other technology.
On the other hand, I know even more people that feel like they were force fed technology that ended up making their practice worse. I don’t want to absolve the practice of any responsibility since they chose to chase the government money and/or they kicked their heels in and made the EHR implementation as miserable as possible since they were against it in the first place. Both situations usually ended up with things getting worse for the doctor.
While those at ONC proudly proclaimed that EHR adoption was going through the roof (and it was), they essentially burned out a whole generation of physicians on the value technology could bring to their practice. In many ways, MACRA is doubling down on these same things.
I wish that every government health IT program had one requirement tied to it. Does this improve patient care or improve efficiency? If they can answer this question affirmatively with proven facts, then they should regulate, incentivize and legislate it. If it doesn’t or we don’t know, then they should do the work required to find out.
I don’t know a single doctor that when shown the evidence of the benefits to their patients and their practices doesn’t want to adopt technology. If we’d given them the time to evaluate EHR properly, learn from their peers, and implement EHR in a rationale way, most doctors would love their EHR and be happy to use it.
The challenge is where do we go from here. The damage of rushed EHR implementations is done. However, we should choose to stop doubling down on requirements that don’t improve safety, quality, and efficiency. Implementations will improve and EHR satisfaction will improve if we just stop trying to force feed doctors.