Why do so many seemingly great technologies fail to penetrate the health care system? I hope the following five answers shed some light on the realities of technology adoption in health care. 1. Many new technologies don’t address the real problem Tech entrepreneurs often take a backward approach to invention. They start by discovering a nifty technology. Later, they figure out how people can use it. This technique often teaches entrepreneurs a tough lesson: Technology ...

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Over the last year I’ve written a lot about the problems with health care IT and how we need to get better. Unfortunately, unlike other aspects of our life where information technology has actually made life easier, in health care the user experience been nowhere near as smooth. IT solutions, including electronic medical records, are for the most part slow, inefficient and cumbersome. They cause a great deal of frustration ...

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As a physician who openly despises many aspects of current EMRs (see “How An EMR Gave My Patient Syphilis” or “The Medical Chart: Ground Zero For The Deterioration Of Patient Care” ) I recognize that they are here to stay. And so, since we’re all stuck with these digital middlemen, I have some suggestions (based on popular social media platform functionality) for making them better. 1. Likes. Health care ...

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One of the most important tricks of the trade that I learned in medical school was what some might have considered a little throwaway bit of advice. During my psychiatry clinical rotation the preceptor advised that, when applying the stethoscope to the patient’s back, one should rest the other hand gently on his or her shoulder. Human touch was important. It would relax the patient and convey subconsciously a sense of ...

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The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 committed to the expanded adoption of health information technology, expecting electronic health records (EHRs) to transform medical care while promising dramatic improvements in quality, efficiency and safety.  Five years and $25 billion later, the results have fallen short of expectations, and there are multiple reasons for our disappointment. First, EHRs were designed to document the provision of health care ...

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A few days ago a colleague of mine was inching south through the mother of all traffic jams: 60 straight miles of construction work on I-95 just south Washington, DC. The three-lane highway was jammed. Route 1, which runs parallel to I-95 was also jammed. Cars were stalled in the middle of the highway having run out of gas from waiting so long. He looked at the map on his phone ...

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"Dr. Sevilla, I have a question for you," a patient asked me this week. "I'm going to tell you something, but I DO NOT want it put in the chart." Hmm, I asked myself, can I really do that? It's the patient's wish, right? The patient went on to tell me that she heard about this week's story about a hospital network being hacked and 4.5 million records being stolen. ...

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It’s been a while since my last rant about electronic health records (EHRs), so let’s remedy that right now. EHRs in their current iteration are -- how to put this delicately? -- an unmitigated disaster. Nevertheless, much of the criticism of EHRs, including mine, has been in the destructive category. What about some constructive criticism? How could EHR software be made better? I am not ...

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Are patient portals a gateway or barrier to patient centered care and communication?A guest column by the American College of Physicians, exclusive to KevinMD.com. Patient portals. They have great potential, but is it being met? And are we losing something in return? I ask myself these questions now that my practice offers a patient portal linked to our electronic health record (EHR). I did not expect to feel that way, ...

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I recently did a tally.  Since starting my locums adventure last year, and going to full-time locums in January, I’ve worked in a grand total of 11 emergency departments.  Let me qualify that for the occasional visitor to my blog.  I decided to do this for purposes of flexibility, finances and a much needed change of scenery.  Not because I’m a problem physician, or unable to do the work in ...

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