EHR: What Happened to Quality?

I am pretty sure the IT guy at my last job purposefully picked the EHR program we used for his own personal job security.  The more problems, the more we needed him, right?  I mean, that thing was so strung together it was unbelievable.  No wonder many medical practices are resistant to make the transition to EHR even though the switch to computerized records is about 20 years overdue.  This is not the only time I have been in complete awe of the shortcomings and just plain lack of quality of various EHR programs.

Yesterday I met with a very nice woman from my hospital’s IT department.  I had to become familiar with a computer program we use to look up patient’s health records.  Hearing her say things like “OK, there are 5 tabs on this page; the middle 3 don’t work so only use the first and last” and “if you leave your computer, make sure to move your mouse out of this box because if you leave it in the box too long your computer will freeze” left me amazed.  I felt like I was in an episode of Seinfeld or something.  Seriously?  You rolled out this program over a major national hospital system without working out these bugs?

I think it is time to demand higher quality from our employers and ourselves as healthcare providers in relation to our technology in the workplace.  We waste too much time dealing with computer glitches.  Don’t employers know that computer problems lead to decreased productivity and unhappy employees?  Sure, quality EHR systems are very expensive but a few of them do exist.  It is time for healthcare employers to stop putting B-list EHR systems in place just to meet Medicare EHR guidelines and start showing some pride in the quality of the systems they put in place.

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