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EHR Adoption is not like addressing the Year 2000 Problem!

September 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Some deadlines like the Year 2000 are not movable! Ready or not, here they come!

EHR Adoption and tthe current deadlines like 2010 and 2014 are all artificial deadlines. With just a bill they can be postponed again and again, till things like Meaningful Use, Certification of EHR Software are all worked out completely!

We have seen this movie before with the Sarbanes Oxley Act and Compliance with the act that is needed. The Act was passed in 2002 and a number of extensions for compliance were issued time and again!

I have a feeling that the longer we go with a lot of uncertainties about what meaningful use is or imprecision around how EHR packages will be certified, I am afraid that deadlines will be extended again and again!

I hope that this does not happen, but given past experiences with anything the Federal Government does on a scale that it is trying to do with the Stimulus Package and EHRs, it is very likely that deadlines get extended!

This can have a lot of profound consequences on a lot of companies and people. EHR companies may not see the same kind of rampup they would experience if the deadlines are not extended. In some sense, these are not deadlines but only announced dates. Nevertheless moving them could affect a lot of companies and people!

That way Year 2000 was better. You didn’t have a choice. It came whether you were read or not!


Initial Hump of Adoption

August 31, 2009 Leave a comment

One of the Physicians I was talking to about EHRs said that he joined a practice when they had already implemented EHR and rolled it out to everyone already.

He said that he was ready to quit the second day! He persisted and by the end of the first week, got so used to the system, would not go back to paper anytime soon!

That seems to be the problem. The initial hump of adoption!

I don’t blame physicians. If I have been doing my job for years and years one way and I were to change it overnight, I would be upset and ready to quit also! But Physicians see the expense, delay and the downstream problems associated with paper records, they don’t want to go back to the way it was!

Pen and paper are very easy to use, painless from day 1 and that’s probably the way they were taught for years and years. This is like changing horses in midstream. More like swapping a horse for an automobile. Both have horsepower and that’s probably where the comparisons stop!

It may be better for consultants and EHR vendors to describe this process honestly in the beginning rather than oversell the ease with which the transition will happen! I am sure Physicians readily see the downstream advantages and are ready for it but the initial hump of adoption may be the one that scares them!