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Prepare for the electronic health record

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How will the electronic health record (EHR) initiative affect your organization? How will it affect your job? Share your comments about the development of the electronic health record, as discussed in the Sept. 2 Healthcare IT e-newsletter.

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It's about time!

by sorr In reply to Prepare for the electroni ...

Anyone who has spent time shopping for and EMR knows that, for the most part, available programs have not been designed with the end user (the physician or other health care provider) in mind. It has been my experience that, unfortunately, many EMR packages are simply conglomerations of dissimilar programs that have been coerced into speaking with each other - often with disasterly consequences.

Although many EMR programs make sense from an engineering standpoint, few or none have actually achieved that ideal balance of ease of data entry coupled with flexibility in design. Too many times, physicians are forced to alter their clinical practice to suit the needs of the program, simply because programmers have not accurately analyzed practitioners' practice habits.

As a physician with ample IT knowledge, it has my desire to see the establishment of EMR standards for some time now. Therefore, I fully support the adoption of cross-industry and healthcare-industry-wide standards in order to facilitate the safe and efficient communication of healthcare information.

Yet, as the custodian of my patients' well-being, I cannot be more vocal about my opinion that physicians must be involved in the development of those standards. Ultimately, I have to defend my practice actions to my peers, the legal community, the legislative and regulatory community, my family, and, most importantly, my patients. If forced to follow guidelines that are not consistent with good practice standards, I will become frustrated and be less likely to continue to practice medicine. I believe that most of my peers would echo this sentiment.

Therefore, I believe that the time is ripe for the establishment of EMR standards. But please don't loose site of those who are on the front line and to whom those standards will most deeply impact - Physicians.

Sean C. Orr, M.D.
Chief Information Officer
Alabama Neurological Institute
(205) 874-8787 Office

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