Getting value from health IT

Writing on a tablet PC forum, Mickey comments on a New York Times article about the digitization of doctors’ offices. He draws attention to this photo.

In the photo, the doctor is holding in one hand an open convertible Tablet PC and is writing on the screen with his other hand.  It would have made the case for Tablet PCs better to show the doctor with a slate on his lap, interviewing a patient, or passing the slate to the patient to show something.

The conclusion of the article was that health IT pays off for payers but maybe not for physicians.

June 19, 2007

4 thoughts on “Getting value from health IT”

  1. Seems to me the net effect is to eliminate secretaries to transcribe things. If the Doc has the terminal right there then he can type it all up himself.

    That said, it is nice to get the little end-of-visit summary sheet with what you’re supposed to do next all printed out in black and white. Then when you call in because it didn’t work they call-nurse can see it all.

  2. The article was solid, but you’re right about the photo. The bigger issue, I think, is that we need to figure out who should foot the bill for all the great electronic medical record software systems out there. Although I understand physician frustration that the healthcare payer tends to reap most of the rewards from EMRs, let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that physicians don’t reap any benefits from these systems.

    In an ideal world, the cost would be split between the government, the insurer and the physician, but docs do benefit from healthcare IT. Saved money, saved time, etc.

  3. I agree completely with your comments on the picture. Maybe they should have shown a picture of the doctor with the tablet out in the hallway. A lot of doctors I know will finish the charting in the hallway to prevent the, “Oh yeah, and my knee hurts and my allergies and my…”

    The problem with EMR implementation is that if it is done right everyone can benefit. However, the doctors definitely have the most risk when implementing. Thank goodness for a bunch of EMR vendors changing the payment method from a huge up front fee to monthly and even per visit fees.

    Still a long ways to go before we’re in EMR nirvana.

  4. IT in the form of a tablet might pay off for some patients, as well. The idea of a tablet that would allow a doctor to type without his or her back to the patient seems like a great idea to me. I recently tried a new primary care doctor who, while very nice and proficient, spent the entire time typing my info into the computer with her back toward me. While she acknowledged what I was saying, her “um hum” didn’t have quite the same effect as if she looked me in the eye and said it.

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