The following is a guest blog post by Joel Kanick from interfaceMD.
Five years ago, you wouldn’t have been able to convince me that technology would let us take a picture of a check with our cell phone and immediately deposit that check into our bank account. But that and more is today’s reality.
From no envelope deposit ATMs and in-car navigational directions, to online transfers and picture messaging, technology changes have simplified processes for both consumers and businesses. Moreover, while time saving, many technology upgrades have reduced the chance for human error.
As most industries harness technology, implement ways to streamline a task at hand, enhance the experience for the consumer, and cut internal waste and cost, the EMR industry lags with such innovation as it still tries to put a square peg into a round hole.
Imagine, you ask a teller to transfer money from one account to another and she instructs you to fill out a transfer request, one for the account the money is going into and one for the account the money is coming out of. She then explains that she will fax it over to the transfer department and in several hours you should have access to your funds, barring any clichés. As a consumer, you wouldn’t accept this system. What if the fax jams, what if the fax gets mixed in and picked up by the wrong person, what if the fax is hard to read and the wrong amount is transferred, what if the fax number dialed is wrong and the fax never gets there?
Why is the healthcare industry, as a whole, still faxing when reliable, secure and quicker technology exists?
A cable company gives its consumers the ability to turn on lights, unlock doors and adjust heating systems in their homes with a touch of a button from their cell phone or laptop by simply logging into an account. Do all EMR systems allow patients and doctors access to past medical history? While the unfortunate answer is no, I will state for the record as an IT expert, it is not difficult to create a channel of communication between collaborating doctors, a doctor and patient or a doctors’ office and its lab partners.
If we can post a status with our phone and immediately 200 of our closest friends know we are enjoying the weather in Punta Cana, why can’t an EMR system permit the doctor to collaborate about the patient as well as permit a patient to fill out necessary forms electronically prior to the appointment or electronically in the waiting room? It could and should.
Both the EMR vendors’ and EMR users’ technology must be as current as other systems used daily, with the same intuitive ease of use.
The auto industry has technology that alerts its users, via in-car audio or email, prevent maintenance needs or pertinent real-time issues–enabling drivers to react sooner or avoid harm’s way. Similarly, utilizing the same technology would give our doctors’ the means, with an EMR system, to send secure email or text alerts regarding preventative appointments, necessary tests or prescription refill needs warding off health issues and unnecessary costs. EMR vendors have technology available to employ systems that can monitor the offices’ servers to prevent crashes and valuable down-time. Does yours?
Coupling technology at hand with genuine care is the only route to substantial meaningful use achievement.
Joel Kanick, President and CEO of Kanick And Company is the architect and chief developer of interfaceMD. For more than two decades, Mr. Kanick’s professional career in the computing services industry has included: project management, network administration, application development, business and Healthcare IT consulting. This unique combination of technical expertise, project management skills and business sense positions him as an asset to his clients’ business directives and technology goals. Mr. Kanick became a Certified HIPAA Professional (CHP) in 2002.
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