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EHR: Clumsy Automation Par Excellence

New study finds that physicians spend twice as much time interacting with EHR systems as interacting directly with patients.

This is a classical example of clumsy automation. That is, automation that disrupts the normal flow of work, rather than facilitating it. It is unfortunate that healthcare is far behind other industries when it comes to understanding how to use IT to enhance the quality of every day work. While the healthcare industry promotes the potential wonders of "big data," the needs of everyday clinical physicians have been largely overlooked.

EHR systems have been designed around the problem of 'data management' and the problems of 'healthcare management' have been largely unrecognized or unappreciated by the designers of EHR systems.

In solving the 'data' problem, the healthcare IT industry has actually made the 'meaning' problem more difficult for clinical physicians.

This should be a great opportunity for Cognitive Systems Engineering innovations, IF anyone in the healthcare industry is willing to listen.

2 thoughts on “EHR: Clumsy Automation Par Excellence

  1. Shirley R. Bullock

    Thanks for sharing important information. And I wanna mentioned that healthcare automation tools have made the managerial task very easy & every authoritative person should have the knowledge of automation technology. Cause, now the revolution in healthcare service has been achieved. Technological automation makes medical service more efficient. The cloud-based computing system is using frequently. So to cope with the present era every healthcare service provider must have an integrated hospital management system likeathenaClinicals, Halogen TalentSpace for Healthcare, Veristream, Bdtask HMS etc. this automation system helps ensure customer satisfaction & maximize profits.
    Of course, Bill Gates expressed his vital thought:
    "The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency".

    1. John Flach

      Shirley, Yes it is important that people learn how to use the information technologies that are integral to work in many domains. However, while EHR systems may be a boon for managing healthcare finances and billing, there are many concerns about whether they have actually improved the quality of patient care. I am confident that information technology will eventually lead to improved healthcare, but I think we are a very long way from realizing this. Current EHR systems are designed to manage data input/output, but the current systems do little to support the cognitive work associated with evidence-based healthcare.


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