I love all the discussion that happens around EHR adoption. The funny thing about it all is that we honestly don’t really know. We don’t have any really solid number, because there’s no good way to measure EHR adoption. Plus, I think that we’d see drastically different EHR adoption trends based on location, practice size and specialty.
However, I think one thing is clear: EHR adoption has gone quite slow.
I read someone today talking about slow EHR adoption even in the midst of billions of dollars of incentives from the government. I think this is true. Even with all that money out there, doctors are still not adopting EHR software in droves.
Part of me says that this is a good thing. I think the worst thing that can happen to EHR is for a doctor who doesn’t want an EHR to adopt one. If they’re not on board with the idea of an EHR, then they just make work miserable for themselves and everyone around them. I see buy-in for an EHR implementation as the key determining factor for success of an EHR implementation. So, I don’t think we can force the issue.
As I consider this point, I was trying to think what movement or trend could make doctors want to implement an EHR in their clinic. One that popped into my head was insurance companies requiring use of an EHR. I know very few cash only doctors out there, so if they had to use an EHR to get their insurance payments, we’d see a drastic change in physicians perspective on EHR. Sure, some would still not like it, but they’d do it. I just don’t really see the path to where insurance companies will do this.
Another method will be if doctors start losing patients because they don’t have an EHR. We’re still a ways from this I think. I don’t think it’s clear in the consumer mind the benefits to them as a patient for the doctor to use an EHR. They’re going to get their prescription (or other healthcare service) either way. Should there be a new field on insurance companies list of providers that says “EHR User”?
What other trends could happen that would make EHR adoption basically a requirement to stay in business as a doctor? Thoughts on what could turn the tide. It seems the HITECH carrot and stick still isn’t totally moving the needle.