6 Ways IT Is Contributing to Health Care Inefficiencies

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Documentation Bloat

Many computer systems make it easy and seemingly encourage physicians to dump large amounts of clinical information into progress notes, providing little value for the next clinician who reads them. As a result, physicians are spending more time sifting through lengthy clinical documentation trying to discern the vital nuggets of information necessary to inform their care decision making. In order to combat this bloat, documentation software design should include customized note types, quick text, and integrated links to clinical data, all of which (used properly) can help physicians to create more meaningful and valuable documents.

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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