Death by a Thousand Clicks: Where Electronic Health Records Went Wrong

by Larry Emmott on March 21, 2019

in Health Care Politics,Paperless,Software

From Fortune: Follow the link and read the whole thing.

Electronic health records were supposed to do a lot: make medicine safer, bring higher-quality care, empower patients, and yes, even save money. Boosters heralded an age when researchers could harness the big data within to reveal the most effective treatments for disease and sharply reduce medical errors. Patients, in turn, would have truly portable health records, being able to share their medical histories in a flash with doctors and hospitals anywhere in the country—essential when life-and-death decisions are being made in the ER.

But 10 years after President Barack Obama signed a law to accelerate the digitization of medical records—with the federal government, so far, sinking $36 billion into the effort—America has little to show for its investment…

…a tragic missed opportunity: Rather than an electronic ecosystem of information, the nation’s thousands of EHRs largely remain a sprawling, disconnected patchwork. Moreover, the effort has handcuffed health providers to technology they mostly can’t stand and has enriched and empowered the $13-billion-a-year industry that sells it.

Source: Death by a Thousand Clicks: Where Electronic Health Records Went Wrong | Fortune

Wow, A long article but well worth it.

Three big takeaways:

  1. EHRs are very poorly designed, hard to use and take way too much time for poorly trained medical personnel to use.
  2. The poor design of the systems results in significant errors including the deaths of the patient.
  3. Government mandates and incentives distorted the system and are responsible for much of the dysfunction.

I remain a huge fan of the concept of a universal EHR and by extension EDR. However the system as it is now deployed is seriously flawed. Poorly designed systems and lack of interoperability have turned what promised to be a dream into a nightmare.



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