Many health care reformers and politicians, including our President-elect, peddle the idea that government-sponsored dispersion of health care technology will cure much of what ails our medical delivery system.

Dr. Bobbs links to a great post in which Dr. Rick Peters  explains why this is hopelessly naive. It begins with the following brutal (but all too accurate) indictment of the HIT industry:

The health care information technology (IT) industry is a close analog of the auto industry circa the 1970s. A few large players who build big, expensive systems on outdated technology platforms dominate the industry.

And what will happen if billions of taxpayer dollars are spent promoting the software produced by these few large payers? Well, it will exacerbate many of the problems that beset our health care system: 

Currently available EHRs from the major, CCHIT certified vendors will not save us money. Any assumptions about improvements in quality or patient safety will be offset by an across the board loss of clinical efficiency, a loss of productivity and a counterintuitive increase in the number of personnel, and increased clinical and administrative errors due to system and user interface complexity.

Peters is absolutely right. HIT is ridiculously stuck in the past. He goes on to suggest a variety of sensible steps that would improve this situation, including getting on board with the open source movement.

Go read the rest of his post. It’s worth the time if you want a mordant reality check concerning the state of the HIT art.

Comments 1

  1. The Elephant's Child wrote:

    Sandy Swarcz at Junkfood Science notes that
    hospitals that are adopting a lot of HIT are finding massive problems with identity theft.

    A problem to which they are unable to find a solution.

    Posted 07 Jan 2009 at 3:35 am

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