6 Ways IT Is Contributing to Health Care Inefficiencies

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Time-Consuming Training

Typical hospital EHRs require extensive classroom training that often takes physicians away from their patients for days at a time. If anything demonstrates how non-intuitive most EHRs are, it's the training required to use them. As the chief executive of the physicians group at Mass General Hospital, speaking about its new EHR, recently told the Boston Globe, "It's not an intuitive program, it's incredibly complex. Not everything is Uber or OpenTable." This reality speaks to the value of purpose-built systems designed specifically for physicians, with extensive input from physicians that can integrate with a broad-based EHR. Systems developed in this way would likely be more intuitive and would make lengthy training a thing of the past.

No industry has ever computerized its operations with the goal of reducing productivity and efficiency; that would be absurd. Yet we see countless articles and complaints from health care professionals about the fact that certain systems, especially electronic health records (EHRs), have made physicians less productive, less efficient, and potentially less effective. If computers performed similarly for knowledge workers in other industries, they'd still use paper.

While an EHR is supposed to "automate and streamline the clinician's workflow," most systems are not living up to the promise. Counterintuitive workflow, extensive training and alert fatigue are just a few of the hurdles care providers must jump over when going about their daily tasks. These challenges among many others can hinder patients from receiving the best possible care.  

In this slideshow, PatientKeeper, a leading provider of health care applications for physicians, shares six reasons why IT is contributing to health care inefficiencies and what can be done to rectify the problems.


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