In my previous post, I didn’t address much of the industry discussion about Electronic Health Record (EHR) usability:  What, exactly, is usability in the first place?  How do you measure it? How do you improve it? These questions are important for a couple of reasons: First, usability is a critical requirement for any software and should be a main focus of development. Second, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) is establishing policy to attempt to improve EHR usability, making it a regulatory issue as well. Here’s some background on the second point for context.  When the government passed ARRA to help fund Health IT adoption, a primary issue raised by the healthcare community was that Health IT systems have many usability issues. So – as many people posed – if the government was going to mandate EHR adoption, shouldn’t […]

The Health IT industry is abuzz with a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed by Professor Stephen Soumerai of Harvard Medical School and Professor Ross Koppel of the University of Pennsylvania.   The opinion piece, “A Major Glitch for Digitized Health Care Records” (subscription required), transforms a timid literature review on the value of information technology for medication management into the final word on IT’s ability to deliver savings in healthcare. The authors not only make sweeping pronouncements about the much-discussed ability of Electronic Health Records (EHR) to contain costs but go on to make equally questionable claims such as that the Meaningful Use program will cost $1 trillion – a figure they attribute to “installation, training and maintenance costs.” They also contend that the effort to share patient records between organizations has already been proven a failure, even as the industry […]

That was one of the key questions raised in Tuesday’s Health IT Meaningful Usability Summit 2012 in Washington, DC, part of National Health IT Week.  The summit attracted representatives from government, academia, payers, healthcare IT vendors, and non-profits. I was there representing Allscripts, where I serve as Director of User Experience. The summit attendees focused on a handful of key points related to usability:  safety and usability; radical industry transformation; open and modular systems and data; and a consumer focus in Health IT.  Let’s take a quick look at each of them in turn before I return to that headline. Safety and usability Dr. Jacob Reider, the acting Chief Medical Officer for the Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare IT (ONC), and a former CMO of Allscripts, gave a presentation on usability of health IT that focused on safety.  Dr […]

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Patients Take Center Stage

EDITOR’S NOTE: HIMSS recently invited members of the health IT blog community to share their responses to the question, “How will health IT make a difference a year from now at the next National Health IT Week?”  (HIMSS will launch its inaugural #NHITWeek Blog Carnival Sept. 10 in support the seventh annual National Health IT Week). We asked Rich Elmore, former ONC Query Health coordinator, now Allscripts Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, to do the honors.   When we look back one year from now, we’re going to find that the patient has truly taken center stage in our healthcare system, largely due to the impact of Health IT on the culture and practice of medicine.   You know there’s a massive culture shift underway when: Patients take pictures of their infections with their phone and send them via SMS to […]