Scot Silverstein's Good Health IT and Bad Health IT

Scott Mace, January 8, 2013

Inevitably, when the subject turns to the pitfalls of bad health IT, you will find Scot Silverstein, MD, ready to comment. He has been writing about health IT difficulties since 1998.

Silverstein is an adjunct professor at Drexel University who I recently interviewed for an upcoming HealthLeaders magazine story on physician resistance to health IT.

A recent Silverstein blog post caught my eye for the following statement: "It is impossible for people, especially medical professionals, to be 'ready' for a system that 'is not ready for them.'"

I wanted to learn about the good doctor's thinking and so I gave him a call. We spoke for two hours and it felt like scratching the surface of issues that healthcare will be facing for a good while to come.

If health IT has a canary in the coal mine, it is Silverstein. His Drexel website and contributions to the Health Care Renewal blog are the places to go to examine the voluminous literature about health IT's many shortcomings, errors, and challenges.

Silverstein completed a postdoctoral fellowship in medical informatics at Yale School of Medicine 20 years ago, but his experience with IT goes back to the 1970s, when building a computer involved using a soldering iron. His technology interests are diverse; he is also a ham radio enthusiast licensed at the highest level ("extra" class) by the FCC. In the 1990s, after years of practicing medicine and the post-doc, he joined Yale's faculty and began building electronic health record systems, including for King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Saudi Arabia, "even though my name's Silverstein," he notes.

Scott Mace

Scott Mace is the senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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