Have you noticed in the past few years the new technology in doctors offices? Electronic medical records are sweeping the medical industry. Although this may have seemed like a brilliant plan, it still lacks efficiency.
In the article, “How Electronic Patient Records Can Slow Productivity”, Dina Gerdeman, with the help of Robert S. Huckman’s research, explains how technology in certain types of environments (typically larger practices) can hinder production. Researchers like Mr. Huckman are trying to highlight the key aspects of using electronic health records of (EHRs). Even though there are a considerable amount of benefits of using EHR, there are instances where there are losses in productivity, but those losses can be avoided. The key take away from the implementations of EHR’s is that they have altered the communication between staff members, as well as patients.
One of the best points to take away from this article is “.. when we ask how that technology can improve productivity, we have to consider that the true capability of the system depends on the context in which it is adopted.” This point reminds me most of outsourcing, a fad that has started to die out. Most companies originally believed outsourcing or production, IT and other such components would reduce spending. What some companies soon discovered is that there are certain key parts of their business that cannot afford to be outsourced. This concept now seems to stand true in the medical field.
With EHRs becoming so prominent, it is easy to highlight key strengths and weaknesses. The introduction of the EHRs to the medical field has extensively added to the dehumanization and production in these practices. Staff have become more focused on mastering the technology instead of focusing on the patient. Staff members could easily get frustrated, which now decreases productivity and prevents excellent customer service. Face-to- face meetings have become less critical since information is available at a physician’s fingertips. For larger practices this may be sufficient, but for smaller practices this communication could be vital and is now undermined. However, adopting a new technology that could categorize and allow for the easy access of information could be beneficial process is streamlined correctly to what already exists. EHRs allow for time and cost saving opportunities, quick retrieval of data, less errors and patient portals that allows patients to view reports, lab results and even schedule appointments.
In a world where technology has taken over, relying on a system like EHR will not be detrimental to practices, however, these practices must keep in mind that patients desire an emotional connection. The lack of a physician-to-patient relationship could hinder productivity. It is important to remember, productivity includes both quality and quantity, and without both, losses in productivity are bound to occur.