The Washington Times recently had an article by Tevi Troy and Dr. Jason D. Fodeman about the EMR Stimulus program which talks about how the program might be counterproductive to its goal. The final paragraphs are an interesting perspective:
Unfortunately, Congress and the administration have decided to prioritize “getting it done” over “getting it right.” Other than being able to bring those signs saying “Project funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” that pop up across the nation’s highways to our hospitals sooner, there does not appear to be much benefit from this approach.
It will take much more than bombarding hospitals with extra computers and complicated, expensive software for health information technology to attain its true promise. It will require the right computers with the right software with properly trained support staff and physicians who know how to use them. All this takes time to establish and time to work out the kinks.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the administration is unwilling to devote the time and would prefer to roll the dice and pick up the pieces later. The administration’s rush to establish an interoperable health information technology network may very well prove counterproductive. It easily could waste money, endanger patients and, possibly, do irreparable harm to the technology’s reputation.
I’ve been preaching some of these things for a while, but it’s interesting that the mainstream media is finally starting to pick up the story.
I’d only caution that we not confuse the EMR stimulus with EMR. EMR is no doubt the future of healthcare IT. It’s just important to consider if EMR stimulus is the right approach to getting people to use as the article says “the right computer with the right software.”