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Physician Resistance Remains a Stumbling Block to EHRs

Lisa Eramo, for HealthLeaders Media, July 2, 2009

What can make or break an EHR implementation? Two words: physician buy-in, says Mike Davis, executive vice president of Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics in Chicago.

Hospitals either have it, or they don't. And if they don't, they need to find a way to achieve it if they want to take advantage of the $17.2 billion in incentives associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, he adds.

Draft meaningful use criteria is a start
Now that hospitals have a draft of the meaningful use criteria that the Health Information Technology Policy Committee unveiled June 16, there's no time like the present to begin obtaining physician buy-in. The draft criteria include a matrix that proposes several goals, objectives, and measures for 2011, 2013, and 2015.

Physicians surely play a role in all of this, particularly as one objective for 2011 is to use computerized physician order entry (CPOE) for all order types (including medications) as well as drug-drug, drug-allergy, and drug-formulary checks. The specific measure related to this goal is to capture the percentage of orders entered directly by physicians through CPOE.

Physician buy-in a must
The need for physician buy-in will be a rude awakening for hospitals nationwide, many of which are still in the early stages of EHR implementation. Nearly 16% of 5,073 U.S. hospitals surveyed during 2008 have not installed any type of electronic component for their laboratory, radiology, or pharmacy departments, according to the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model™.

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