EMR, The Epic Medical Regression


The EMR. Better to known to the world of healthcare as the Electronic Medical Record. The past few years being supported by the government with a series of funding opportunities to help drive adoption.

The emergence of the EMR was responsible for moving our information on patients from the complex world of 2D paper to the convenience and simplistic digital world of bits and bytes.

I remember when the EMR was first introduced into one of my clinics. The great premise was that everything would be at the tips of your fingers, easily searchable, actionable, and would improve productivity. No more faxing, no more copying, no more filing, no more lost papers.

Yet the promise has been far from met. I would say the first decade of EMR and implementation has just been more of the same. Taking paper and converting it to digital form. How do we take this form, this information sheet, and how do we shrink it to fit onto the screen.

It did increase productivity. It forced healthcare to expand their IT department, to rely on IT professionals to build out large teams, to work on interfaces, integration, patches, updates, and education. Building out programs to train the most brilliant minds in healthcare on how to information that used to be written with a pen to now be placed in a small little box, that you click on, then needing to type, hit enter, and move to click in the next box to repeat the process once again.

I prefer to call the EMR the Epic Medical Regression.

As one clinic began to implement into the new world of EMR, others followed suit because it was a “best practice.”

It was the leap into the digital age that was going to transform healthcare.

It is the single piece of technology that has made highly educated men and women completely frozen in their tracks. It has led to the need for new industries tracking patient satisfaction scores, patient experience, and engagement.

Today we continue to discuss interoperability, common language, and actionable data in healthcare.

Yet in every other industry the collection, utilization, sharing, and knowledge gained from information continues to move by quantum leaps. It leads to cost reduction, accessibility, and productivity.

Healthcare it leads to wait times, increasingly complex processes, inability to share/import patient information amongst hospitals, clinics, physicians, and competing organizations. We layer on more and more interfaces in hopes of duct taping systems together to work with one another. We add on more technology from more vendors that adds more layers.

We hear on all the reasons why we can’t do this or are unable to do that. It is because it is due to patient privacy. It is a highly regulated industry. Lives are at stake.

Again, EMR is the Epic Medical Regression.

Instead of starting with defining the problem, we jumped to adopting technology because everyone else was doing it. If you were a CEO, CFO, or CIO you wouldn’t be fired for investing in EMR, but you would be fired if you didn’t get an EMR.

Hasn’t the problem always been how do we care for the sick, the needy, the poor, the chronically and terminally ill in the most compassionate and timely way?

If that is the problem that healthcare needed to solve, why did we adopt EMR’s that made us more complex, less compassionate, and more difficult to find answers to our patient and communities most timely questions?

Why did healthcare adopt technology that forced regression in our ability to connect with patients when the rest of the world adopts technology that allows us to deeper connections between people?

Why did we adopt the Epic Medical Regression?

As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek



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