Amazon.com to Build New EHR

April 8, 2009
2 Comments
Future EHRs must blend patient treatment, patient management, and patient economics in the same user interface

Amazon.com announced today that it will develop a new Electronic Health Record based upon the same user interface experience and underlying information technology that it uses to support its global ecommerce business.

Said Amazon braintrust, Jeff Bezos, “Our experience with user interfaces and high performance computing are ideally suited to help healthcare. We nudge people’s decision making and behavior with the gentle push of data. When you buy a book on Amazon.com, your user interface is different than my user interface when buying the exact same book. Amazon generates the user interface based on the analytics of the broader context of the customer’s profile, purchasing history, geographic location, and other similar customers’ profiles. The parallels in healthcare are numerous and obvious, such as, “Other physicians who treated this type of patient also ordered these other medications” and “Read how other similar patients rated this treatment protocol” and “These are the other physicians in your social network who treated patients like this most often” and “This MRI is in stock and can be delivered immediately” and “This medication is available at your patient’s preferred pharmacy. Here are some other options and costs” and “Add this patient to my Diabetic Registry” and “Add this patient to my Watch List.”

In addition to our unique Amazon user interface, we also have a very flexible, open, services oriented software architecture that allows us to work easily with our partners and adapt quickly to changes in the market-- and our systems perform—they are fast and never go down. We will also bring this technical skill set to healthcare, which is hampered by stodgy, unreliable systems that are integrated with fragile message-based data interfaces. This foray into healthcare is not about Amazon. It's about our one billion customers and 21,000 employees. ”

The Amazon story is a spoof, though I wish it weren't. :-)

Lots of us have been planting the seeds of change around the certification of EHRs; that is, they should be certified on something more than simply interoperability-- namely usability, patient safety, and an EHR's impact on quality of care, efficiency of care, and cost of care. Future EHRs must blend patient treatment, patient management, and patient economics in the same user interface, and that EHR user interface must be dynamically generated to suit the personal context of the patient, the provider, and the healthcare system at the provider’s and patient’s disposal. It doesn’t do any good to suggest an advanced and expensive lab test in an EHR’s decision support system if the patient can’t afford it or the healthcare setting is in a remote clinic of the Navajo Nation with no lab facility. Come on Amazon... we need you! :-)

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Comments

Very thought provoking Dale, I also wish that this where true. In addition to the fact that the new generation "digital natives" will expect this type of interaction regarding their healthcare, this Amazon approach would truly leverage and exploit the great technology that is being developed in America today. Since we are no longer the industrial super power, we need to stand firmly behind the companies (Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, etc.) that can make us an "information technology super power" and encourage them to engage the consumer in their personal health.

Dale, nice post. You're definitely on to something. I'm hoping when you finish your spoof-to-make-a-point series, Google will buy Northwestern, BCBS, and the Cleveland Clinic. What? You didn't post that spoof yet? :-)

What you're describing is clearly compelling and desirable. It makes it clear, when one stops and thinks about, that nothing but disruptive innovation could move us toward the innovations you're describing. The relatively recent push-back of ICD-10, for example, would be necessary to get closer to the specification necessary that Amazon enjoys with product unique IDs (ISBN book numbers, UPC, etc.) The delay in this one prerequisite has a few lessons in it. Lessons necessary to craft a strategy concordant with your vision.

Keep going with the spoofs! They help create clarity on goals, vision, and obstacles. Most of the other bloggers here are, of course, doing the same. Your spoof tool is very crisp! Go Dale!