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Doctors Deserve Much Better IT Systems Than They’re Getting – Today’s Hospitalist

Posted Jul 12 2010 8:12am

I might guess that many reading here may not know what CPOE (computerized-physician order entry) is and in the world of Health IT, it’s the new frontier with providing safety via software with patient orders and medications.  The article goes through some of the known pitfalls of medical software, what doctors don’t like and what could stand some improvement, again most of this is not anything new, but once again a reminder as to where we are with medical records at the hospital level and why so many doctors are either image frustrated or not happy with the systems they use. 

What makes the process even more of a bumpy ride are the constant changes with technologies as well, for instance mobile communications that are imperative today with medical records systems, and need to be programmed to fit into the entire scheme.  In the very early days of electronic records, it was basically just a place to put your information, but by today’s standards there’s been a lot added with decision making alerts and processes.  Of course to get any new software applications going we need doctors to be game and help test to find areas where improvement is needed and with busy doctor’s today, even that portion of the puzzle is getting to be a challenge to find doctors who have the time (and patience sometimes) to participate.  

The end result of all of this is that EHR systems seem to be in a constant state of turmoil with new features and reports being upgraded and added constantly to bring everything closer to one unified portal.  This is a huge challenge, not to mention the ambulatory systems communicating with the hospitals too, so there’s a lot rumbling all the time with change. 

I can see both sides of this as understanding the frustration of the doctors and at the same time with the programmers trying to keep up with what has evolved out there to maintain and create a system that is easy enough to use and works for all.  BD 

While it’s been an elusive goal for 40 years, health information technology (HIT) may finally be reaching critical mass, given a push by government funding and high-level support. While only 11% of hospitals have electronic medical records—and even fewer have computerized-physician order entry (CPOE)—the factors driving the development and adoption of information technology at last appear to be on a roll.

That’s great news, right? Not necessarily, according to Kendall Rogers, MD, chief of hospital medicine at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque. In a session he co-presented on information technology at the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) annual meeting this spring, Dr. Rogers delivered a scathing indictment of the problems plaguing many IT systems, and of the stonewalling that vendors typically bring to fixing those problems.

But he and his co-presenter, Ross Koppel, PhD, presented a long list of what’s standing in the way of doctors reaching those goals. For one, "current software is barely useable," said Dr. Rogers, something hospitalists who work with EMRs or CPOE are painfully aware of.

Even more damaging, he continued, are non-disclosure clauses that prevent users from sharing system reports or screens.
"Not only are you responsible for any screw-ups in the software," Dr. Koppel told audience members, "but you can’t even tell your colleagues about them."

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