"You think about how these charts used to be transported. Hauled back and forth in the trunk of your car, which is not exactly secure. Then if you need access to the information in the hospital, well, with the hours we put in, the last thing we want to do at end of day is a peer review. Now we can access the Internet and work on what we need to do at the time that's convenient for us. We are no longer tied to a geographic location," says LeGrand.
Chesney says the software not only speeds up the review process, but it allows hospitals to meet state and federally mandated standards and establishes data-mining capabilities to chart trends and reduce medical errors. "Basically we were interested in getting greater transparency into the overall process," he says. "The key is: can you turn something contentious into something that is going to improve quality of care? We've also found that physicians are very interested data if they believe in the data that's being captured."
Acesis is an example of how health IT adoption can be accelerated in unexpected ways. LeGrand says that after using the new software, physicians who were skeptical of all things digital are expressing more interest in adopting other forms of IT. "Once you see how much something like this can ease the pain of what was a truly burdensome task, and you find out the barriers aren't as bad as you thought they were, you're definitely more willing to look at other IT possibilities," he says.
I write quite a lot about the health IT issues that get a lot of attention. The effect that electronic health records, health information exchanges, and e-prescribing will have on healthcare is being talked about and examined by every writer, politician, and pundit interested in healthcare. But sometimes, there are more nuanced changes that are being made from within hospitals that could have just as profound of an effect on the way medicine is practiced. And those that increase efficiency all the while improving the quality of care could serve as more than just tools for making doctors' lives a little easier, they could serve to speed up adoption of all forms of health IT.