Posted by: AtlasMD

November 19, 2013

David Do On Why EMR Companies Don’t Care About Usability

In his op-ed blog post, David Do, MD exposes the cold hard truth of EMR failure—their inherent un-usability.
He says, “I overheard nurses praising the pilot of a new technology with the promise of improving communication, safety, and saving on healthcare spending. The innovation: two-way texting. That’s one of the many indicators that hospitals are stuck the technological stone-age.”

Great point. It’s almost embarrassing that these common technologies are BIG NEWS in the healthcare world. You’d think an industry that’s in and of itself a cutting-edge phenomenon (saving lives by doing things that require tremendous education and skillful implementation) would use equally sophisticated tools outside of the operating room. But that’s not the common case. Dr. Do calls out the assumption that new technology will magically make EMR in healthcare automatically better. “In reality,” Do writes, “there’s good and bad technology, and there are good and bad EMRs.”

Sounds about right.


He goes on to say, “What we in healthcare need to realize is that Internet companies over the past ten years have developed processes for developing adaptive, secure, and user-friendly technologies. We love our online banking, shopping, and emailing. Meanwhile in healthcare, everyone seems resigned to using poor, outdated technologies by established vendors that have lost the incentive to innovate.”

Meaningful Use rings a bell here. Talk about a sludge for innovation. Let’s incentivize doctors to use mediocre products! Sure, it might make sense in a board meeting. But for anyone who’s struggled with an EMR, we know that the reality lies somewhere far from the ideal. As David reminds us, software companies have been advancing user interface design over the last 10 years. And this advancement is driven by consumer demand.