EXECUTIVE CORNER: Stage 2 Increases Pressure on EMR Technology Use
Howard Diamond, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman
The recent announcement on Meaningful Use Stage 2 from CMS called for increased interoperability of health information, greater EHR functionality and increased rates of usage. The proverbial carrot and stick timeframes were also modified. With the rules coming in 682 pages, it deserves intense attention over the coming months. From my perspective, it is an important tree in the land of health technology – but it is not the forest.
At Aventura we believe in technology; but we know true adoption that supports caregiver workflow has to be very accessible. Why?
Caregivers deliver care by moving from place to place. They need information to do their work. So, it is very common to hear that clinicians log on to the EMR 80 times a day to access and enter essential medical information. Because those logons can take up to 2 minutes—every time—clinicians are either frustrated or developing workarounds, like catching up on data entry at the end of their shift.
If you’re not familiar with this challenge, we encourage you to start and then stop your computer and Outlook ten times in a row to see if you think this is a good use of your time. Then remember that some caregivers experience something like this 80 times a day, every day.
Thus, the very technology needed to improve healthcare and achieve meaningful use is slowing its progress because it doesn’t match the workflow of the average clinician. A workflow steeped not in tradition, but in a workflow dictated by patient care. One hospital executive told me recently that if he could save 30 minutes per physician shift, across 300 physicians, he could save 37,500 physician hours a year. That’s 37,500 hours more that can be dedicated to patient care.
It is good that CMS has finalized its Stage 2 Meaningful Use rules. The rules are important, but we certainly hope this tree doesn’t take too much attention off the forest.