Partners HealthCare has been way ahead on getting computers to bedsides and into the hands of doctors. Partners CIO John Glaser, the man in charge of putting that system in place, spoke to BHN last week.
The technology can be used to do a lot of good, he said. HIT can eliminate duplication, catch medical errors and an improve access to data. But, he suggests health reformers might want to be more realistic about how long it will take to wire the system and how much money it will save.
Glaser also notes that HIT designers need to ensure that systems actually make it easier for busy doctors and nurses to run their practices and deliver quality care. In some cases, providers complained that systems added to their work. “That becomes a complicated and potentially problematic scenario,” Glaser said.
Here are a few other comments. For more, click below for audio.
EXPECTATIONS: “If you don’t get the expectations right, you will assume certain things will happen and you will try to accomplish them and you may not be able to. ”
COST SAVINGS: “It is unlikely that health care information technology will singlehandedly reverse the cost problem and it won’t solve the access problem. So we ought to be thoughtful about how potent a tool it really is.”
For more on Glaser’s ideas, see his piece in the January issue of the Journal of Health Care Management entitled: “Implementing electronic health records: 10 factors for success.” (BHN can only get to you to abstract.)
Strategies for maximizing the value of an EHR implementation include: Establishing clear strategies, objectives, and plans for EHR implementation. Including managers and clinicians in discussions on ways to tie the EHR in with the organization’s strategy and areas requiring improvement. Continually measuring performance of EHR-enabled processes. Investing in critical infrastructure. Maintaining efficient and effective IT governance.
March 11 update: Groopman also raises questions about cost savings in the Wall Street Journal.