Here is an article from Dr. Marvin Malek, an internal medical physician in Vermont. He does a great job encapsulating the history behind health information technology in the United States and the consequences the HITECH act has had on the electronic health records landscape. It rightly points out that one of the intended consequences of that act was to create a niche market for software developers to target medical practices. But instead of a unified system where each system can talk to each other and having a user-interface that is easy to use, and error-prone, we get a glut of inferior products. Costly products that don’t talk to each, doctors generally hate using them, and some take the data as hostages. I would also argue that these software developer’s assumptions that medical practices are “gold mines” and that doctors are generally uneducated or at best ignorant of the existing technologies make these doctors and practices as ripe victims for being, to put it bluntly, ripped-off.
For me, I saw it coming when I started my medical school education way back in 1996 and I saw its eventual reality in 2004 when the HITECH act was passed; and now I’m seeing the chickens home to roost right now as this 2014 “deadline” of getting everyone on an electronic health record. Oh…and how is the adoption rates for electronic health records by medical practices these days? Later in my next post.