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A Call for Intuitive EMRs

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, July 24, 2012

"It means that I've got only about 12 or 14 months to learn what the certification requirements are, get my vendor to install software, and have it ready to go by October 1, 2013," Christian says. "I hyperventilate just to believe that, because I realize what that requires. But don't think that's just a tiny issue for community and rural hospitals. I think all of us in healthcare, even the larger systems" feel the pressure.

No one will feel that pressure more than physicians being asked to do even more than they do today. Even when they learn how to navigate all those new check boxes and unintuitive workflows, they may still be using software that hasn't been adequately tested.

"Just because we get rules out today doesn't mean the vendors are able to generate code tomorrow and get stuff out to implement," Christian says.

For now, expect the entire healthcare profession to lean even harder on the current software industry, with all its faults and shortcomings, to perform miracles. Given the massive amounts of money flowing from government to provider to vendor, it shouldn't be too much to ask.


Scott Mace is senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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1 comments on "A Call for Intuitive EMRs"


Alton Brantley, MD,PhD (7/25/2012 at 12:13 PM)
Pam McNutt and Chuck Christian have hit the nail on the head. In particular, the engagement of the federal government into the development of EMRs, with the bureaucracy of federal design, certification requirements, approval of certification bodies, and the introduction of civil and criminal penalties, has created a situation where the practice of medicine is subordinated to regulatory fossilization. Alternatively, what should have been sought was a standardization of interoperability and an evolvable, versionable content structure that would enable and foster the development of exactly what Pam desires. Standards should be interoperable and overlapping so that not every software system need be upgraded to interoperate effectively - a sliding window of versions and content that enable all parts of a multi system environment to operate as each component is changed out and upgraded. Finally, coding standards that are baroque in nature like the ICD codes need to be phased out and replaced with taxonomies built in machine-parsable grammars.