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The 7 Myths of HCIT

April 28, 2009
by Joe Bormel
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In a recent (April 26, 2009) Washington Post article, Tevi Troy offers these “

5 Myths on Health Care's Electronic Fix-It

1. Electronic health records will cure our health system.

2. Federal carrots and sticks are the only way to get doctors and hospitals to adopt EHRs.

3. Cost is the only reason the United States has such low adoption rates.

4. Subsidizing EHRs will stimulate the economy or EHR adoption in the short term.

5. We know how much we're investing in this effort to promote health IT.

It seems to me that from our HCIT perspective, there are some far more basic myths:

7 Mythsa) Community MPI is easy, straightforward and already done.
b) Assessment of patients’ needs have been adequately standardized and agreed upon.
c) Electronic results (lab, notes, radiology reports) distribution to physicians and patients occurs reliably today.
d) CPOE and eRx are relatively straightforward, involving only the prescriber.
e) Forgetting about EHRs, supporting functions like enterprise-wide, multi-resource scheduling is deployed and in common use, just waiting for EMRs to step in and use them to “coordinate care.”
f) Comprehensive and effective documentation methods, both electronic and manual, are proven, readily available, time-efficient and inexpensive.
g) Billing is a no-brainer; coding comes from heaven and denials rarely occur.

As I outlined in my earlier post regarding the

Vowels of Care, there probably is a natural order to how we go about automating aspects of managing healthcare information. Let’s all hope that EHRs really are the next step on the way to curing our health system.

Picture above shows an artful depiction of the future, hiding the realities that lie beneath. The fascade is a myth. Taken April 27, 2009 outside of Vendome World Headquarters in NYC.



Compelling stuff, Joe. It sometimes amazes me how unwilling people can be to learn from our history. Maybe for some, it's less painful to just bury mistakes than it is to break them down and find out what really went wrong.

By the way, Mark Twain was one of my favorite writers as a kid, and his work still holds up for me.

Joe, great picture. Now who else would have noticed that analogy?! And that's from someone who (obviously) knows her myths.

Thanks Daphne and Tim.

Tim, there's an extremely profound lesson or two about human nature and organizational design embedded in your high level comment. One is "what we learn from history is that we dont learn from history."  

Mark Twain is quoted as putting this in a wonderfully humorous light: "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme!"

The second lesson is that organizational design is critical: we need the strategic function contained in people capable of both discovering the past, as well as inventing the future. Either one alone is usually 'the noise before defeat' as you so aptly described.

Joe: Great stuff! Another myth: "Healthcare is a very large vertical market and it can't be that hard to break into". WHAT? Now go visit the HCIT graveyard littered with companies that had NO CLUE about healthcare IT and learned a very expensive lesson thinking it would be easy! Some of these companies have actually re-entered the market (again) only to find out it was not going to work in Round 2! WOW! Go figure! Great post Joe!

Agreed. BTW - Your blog artwork is the MOST!