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RAND and EMR

January 15, 2013

This is hilarious – look at what the RAND corporation came out with last week:

“A team of RAND researchers in 2005 published a widely cited analysis that the projected widespread adoption of health information technology could eventually save the United States more than $81 billion annually by improving the delivery and efficiency of health care.

Seven years later, the evidence about the safety and efficiency of health information technology is mixed and annual health care spending has grown by $800 billion annually.”

These RAND guys are really smart.  Remember the “Beautiful Mind” guy?  He was a RAND analyst.  Why has EMR technology not lived up to it’s promise yet?  Well, they’re smart so they’ve actually listed a number of things that need to happen to improve efficacy of EMR:

Kellermann and co-author Spencer S. Jones conclude that a compelling vision is needed to guide future investments in health information technology and offer a few suggestions:

  • Health information stored in one IT system must be retrievable by others, including doctors and hospitals that are a part of other health systems. This is particularly important in emergency situations.
  • Patients should have ready access to their electronic health information, much as consumers now have access to their bank accounts. Patients should be able to view their own records and share them with health care providers of their choice.
  • Health information technology systems must be engineered to aid the work of clinicians, not hinder it. Systems should be intuitive, so they can be used by busy health care providers without extensive training. Doctors and other health care providers should be able to easily use systems across different health care settings, much as consumers easily drive various makes and models of automobiles.

Really???  Anyone who uses these systems would have listed these suggestions years ago.  I was talking the other day to a surgeon friend of mine, an old-timer, who suggested something great:  do a Manhattan Project.  Get all the great IT minds in a room with a bunch of doctors and nurses, lock the door, and have them come up with an EMR system that aids clinicians, is intuitive, is accessible, and is flexible.  Then use the money the government has earmarked for reimbursing doctors and hospitals for implementing EMR and use it to create the system and give it for free to every hospital and doctor.  Remember the scene in “Apollo 13 where they lose their CO2 scrubber and have to call in all the engineers and put them in a room to make a square peg go into a round hole?  Right now we have the square and the round.  Let’s make it all oval shall we?

 

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