6 Ways IT Is Contributing to Health Care Inefficiencies

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Integration Challenges

The lack of interoperability among health IT systems has been in the news a lot recently. It was spotlighted at the annual HIMSS conference in March, where HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced the national interoperability pledge; and it was raised again by Vice President Joe Biden at the Health Datapalooza in Washington in May. Clearly, the push for standards to facilitate data interoperability in health IT is in high gear. Even as that effort progresses, vendors and provider organizations must continue to prioritize system integration to ensure that within a hospital or an IDN there is a smooth flow of clinical information that physicians need in order to provide the best patient care possible.

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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