In my previous article I understand that I presented a dire picture of what appears to be an unrecoverable situation. So why even worry about it anymore if it’s so bad? Because, despite the pilfering of billions of dollars, we should care. It’s our duty to make healthcare successful so that it is able to serve the People in the right way. Like I said before, let’s make healthcare honorable again.
I’ve been in healthcare technology for 30 years and I’m very proud of it. I’m ashamed that we have collectively arrived to the situation where it is. So let’s fix it!
It was not my intent to be neither enlightening nor encouraging, because first we have to identify what is downright wrong in order to acknowledge it like mature adults and then to craft a plan to overcome it and move above it. My attempt was to make bold and true statements. Statements that resonate with most of us in healthcare and especially with the direct “victims” of the technological destruction of it, the doctors, clinicians and patients.
How many doctors regret being compensated $40k to implement a clunky EHR? Most of the ones with which I’ve been able to have a conversation about it.
But they didn’t have an option, or they bit the carrot with their teeth or they would end up biting their tongue while being whipped with a stick.
The government is the major payer in the USA healthcare system. This is the only reason they could dole out $31 billion to get EHRs implemented in the physician practices. They could have literally thrown these billions out the window and we would have obtained better results.
Doctors are manifesting their misery in an outcry. Most blame business and government regulations. Their biggest complaint is because they have been forced to implement useless certified EHRs that don’t even meet the criteria for what they were certified.
Physicians purchased EHRs that were certified for Meaningful Use Stage 1 and when they encountered the criteria for Meaningful Use Stage 2 they encountered that what they purchased was no longer usable!
The whole Meaningful Use program was a joke. The fact that requirements were provided in a piecemeal way was a an insult to injury. This piecemeal approach gave opportunity to the “snake oil salesmen” to sale useless technology. Of course there were some honorable and accountable entrepreneurs and vendors but there were many spoiled apples too.
Technology should be shielding the physicians from this misery. Instead technology and the lack of interoperability has been making it worse! Yes, it’s exacerbating the misery.
I will have more on the topic of interoperability in the next part of this series. What I can say is that our current interoperability standards are useless. They actually defeat the whole purpose of what interoperability should do. Have you seen how complex the HL7 v3 RIM is? Did you know that HL7 v2.x is tailored more towards the operational and transactional management of a healthcare acute provider system? The CDA tried to incursion into the medical and clinical aspect but has had little or no success despite being around over two decades.
Technology has also disappointed the patients. As a patient, which I am like many of you reading this, I now go to the physician practice to witness that the doctor spends 80% of their time behind a laptop. Where is the doctor <=> patient interaction, the eye to eye contact and the empathy in the conversation? I want to have a conversation with my doctors and not with clerks.
Can we unravel the technological destruction of healthcare?