I love the pick-up line from The Wedding Crashers: "Some people say that we only use 15% of our brains. I say that we only use 15% of our hearts." Interacting with many of my colleagues who have adopted an EMR in their practices, it seems that most of them use only 15% of what should be the system’s capabilities.
I recently asked a friend of mind why he hasn’t utilized many cool features like e-prescribing and a patient portal. He sheepishly answered, "To tell you the truth, I am just too damn busy. I wish that there could be some way that this technology would just make me feel like I was making a bigger difference in people’s lives and let me spend more quality time with patients."
The council’s esteemed panel recommended to "organize incentives, roles, workflow, processes and supporting infrastructure to support and respond to opportunities for clinical performance gains. Focus on identifying, prioritizing and managing changes in process and workflow."
Wow … that is so much more impressive than my friend’s quote!
I hope they didn’t spend too much money concluding what every front-line practitioner considers obvious. Let’s face it, most physicians are tremendously dedicated and work long hours. Any down time is spent squeezing precious extra minutes with patients, following up on tests, and calling families. Occasionally, there is even time to do preventive health.
To be fair, I would say that the technical accomplishments to date represent 15% of our needs. Let’s start working on the other 85%.
Joel Diamond, MD is chief medical officer at dbMotion, adjunct associate professor at the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and a practicing physician at UPMC.