EMRs: Here’s the Problem

Ms. Faulkner understands why it’s taken much longer for the health care industry than, say, banks and airlines to move to electronic data. In banking, the types of data are much more limited and known, she says. In health care, by contrast, data is constantly changing based on information from doctors, nurses, patients and others. New discoveries, protocols and government requirements add even more complexity.

Full article on electronic medical records.

Comments (5)

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  1. Davie says:

    Although I understand that the complexity of data makes it more difficult to assemble, I think it also makes it more necessary to digitize. If our current collection of data is unwieldy and sprawling then all the more reason to organize it electronically.

  2. Larry C. says:

    I agree that there are lots of potential problems.

  3. Brian says:

    Too much data being stored is bad for medical privacy and bad for the individual. If government were to at least make fewer requirements on what is stored, at least that would cut down on the complexity.

  4. John R. Graham says:

    EPIC sounds like great entrepreneurial success. I’m sure now that the government is mucking about in dictating EMRs it will mess things up!

    There are fundamental differences between airlines, banks, and health care that make it a pipe-dream to think EMR’s are ever going to be as successfully digitized as the former two industries.

    First, every passenger who takes a given flight on a given day has pretty much the same needs. People aren’t showing up at the airport filled with uncertainty. The gate attendants don’t have to “diagnose” whether a passenger is going to LAX or JFK: The passenger knows exactly what he is doing.

    Second, competing airlines fly in and out of the same airports. Obviously, there systems and procedures have to be interoperable so that air-traffic control can move them around safely.

    As for banking: Banks borrow and lend trillions of dollars to each other every day. They have an incentive to continually adopt new IT to make these overnight loans ever more liquid.

    Health systems do not have remotely the same incentives.

  5. mdb says:

    Bank info constantly changes, think tellers, ATM, point of sale, checks, online sales, etc. All this has to be kept up to date and time (imagine if it was not near instantaneous). The biggest difference is the variety of data, banks – numbers and documents (mostly), hospitals – images, numbers, audio, etc., then you get in to samples and such; it really is very complex data – sources are irrelevant. Government regs – is the reporter aware of banking regs (Sarbanes Oxely was HUGE with IT systems track financial data to the penny, guess how they did that – Dodd Frank is pretty big as well)? There are many issues with EMRs and I am sure this woman in the interview is well aware of them – I wish there were competent reporters. New discoveries evolve slowly thanks to the FDA – no one will be taken by surprise by a new discovery. Protocols can change quickly – but most never require reprogramming an LIS or LIMS – just configuration. Another article that says there are problems – but gets it wrong.