You may be forgiven after reading some of my articles for thinking that I’m somehow "anti-health care information technology." It’s a subject that I’ve written a lot about over the last couple of years, mainly because I feel passionately that our use of information technology at the frontlines of health care needs to drastically improve. But let me start first by making a confession: I love information technology. I am just ...

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"It was a dark and stormy night." My computer didn’t catch fire while typing the previous sentence. No alarms were triggered warning me about the quality of such opening. I wasn’t prompted to select subjects and predicates from drop-down lists. I typed the entire sentence, letter by letter, not at all dissimilar to its first rendering back in 1830. Computer software, in general, and Microsoft Word in particular, magically removed the ...

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Dear Santa, I’ve been a very good doctor all year. I have checked all my boxes and aced all my meaningful use requirements. This year, I’m not asking you for anything fancy. I just thought you might be able to instill some kindness and good will into the people who designed the user interface of my EMR. Maybe, with your help, they would come to see how a few minor tweaks ...

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I spent the past month working on an inpatient medicine team at our tertiary care hospital. As a referral center, we often care for incredibly complex patients who require multiple consulting services. One of the most vexing parts of caring for our patients is attempting to track their care through many previous hospital systems. Unless a patient is both extremely vigilant about his or her medical care and highly health literate, ...

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Through Dec. 15, federal regulators will accept public comments on the next set of rules that will shape the future of medicine in the transition to a super information highway for electronic health records (EHRs).  For health providers, this is a time to speak out. One idea:  Why not suggest options to give leniency to older doctors struggling with the shift to technology late in their careers? By the government's own estimate, ...

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The "necessity-burden monster" are words of my own choosing, and does not reflect any authoritatively-stated or generally-accepted health care paradigm.  It is, for me, an apt summation for how the progressive stages of the administrative side of health care have become a degeneration to the original intention of keeping medical records: to assist in patient care. What it has undergone, particularly in the last twenty years or so, and when compared to the ...

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In a recent post Rocky Bilhartz outlined some of the challenges health care providers face when working with software. Health care providers are spending more time in the digital world and less time interacting with patients. The problem of less patient contact, in part, accounts for their complaints leading to the desire to streamline repetitive tasks so they can get back to why they really choose to be ...

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Venture Capitalist Fred Wilson had a great post a while back titled, "Bootstrap Your Network With A High Value Use Case." He points out that the initial value proposition for Waze (the community-based traffic and navigation app acquired by Google) was simply to help drivers that like to drive too fast identify speed traps. But it of course quickly expanded way beyond that and now provides a lot more value ...

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Last week I was playing golf with some friends. The Boston area has been having a bit of an Indian summer, and we are lucky to still be getting out there (long may it last). The conversation during one of the holes turned to health care information technology, when my friend, who is also a physician, told me about his experiences with a (certain famous) new electronic medical record that’s just been installed in their ...

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In Hollywood In the classic film, The Day the Earth Stood Still, an alien spaceship lands in Washington, DC, and delivers an alarming message; people of the earth must cease their internecine hostilities or face total annihilation. To prove their power, the aliens cause all electrical devices on the planet to stop working for 30 minutes. It's a pretty impressive show of force. In the office At 8:45 a.m. yesterday, despite the absence ...

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