EHR handcuffs: Let Doctors be Doctors.

EHR has been a topic of interest for me for a long time, and was one of the topics I chose to research in depth during my MBA. Five years ago we were half a decade away from the 2015 American EHR, EMR, HealthIT, let doctors be doctorsRecovery and Reinvestment Act deadline that would penalize providers for not having adopted an EHR.

Five years ago, there was potential to develop a transformational EHR that would truly connect physicians, patients and healthcare stakeholders. Five years later and it is safe to say the initial roll out failed. Physicians overwhelmingly are still stuck with awful EHR platforms that do anything but allow physicians to practice real medicine, by creating electronic silos and adding little to no value.

On a sales call in Maryland in 2010, I visited one of my customers who was 72 years old with no intention of retiring any time soon. When I asked him why he continues to practice medicine he stated, “I’m not in medicine for the money. I do it because I love to see my patients. My patients need me. Medicine is always changing and I’m always learning something new.” Therein lies a major disconnect between EHR implementation/mandates and the real world.  When EHRs serve the purpose of acting as “glorified billing platforms” and require 20 clicks to get a simple medicine, the real goal of EHR and so called meaningful use dissolves into meaningless use. (You see what I did there?)

“I’m not in medicine for the money. I do it because I love to see my patients. My patients need me. Medicine is always changing and I’m always learning something new.”

I believe technology used in the right way will change health care for the better.  There is proof of this concept staring us in the face: social media connecting patients and physicians all over the world, wearables that engage patients to improve their own health, the list goes on.  So why, when it comes to technology that documents the human part of health care, is it so hard to get that part right?  Why are EHRs the most inhuman part of health care today? Why is it that health care is stuck in the 90’s: faxing millions of papers per day and requiring antiquated EHRs?  It makes no sense!

Thankfully, there’s a real movement at foot to make this change.  This brings me to one of the most disruptively creative forces in health care today- ZDoggMD.  ZdoggMD (otherwise known as Zubin Damania, M.D.) is leading this change by using satire to highlight what pains healthcare providers most. Through humor, he shows us how truly broken our healthcare system has become and has built a following of people ready to help change it.  The latest video “EHR State of Mind” had me laughing hysterically because everything in it is (unfortunately) SO TRUE.  ZDogg is helping to head up a movement in partnership with AthenaHealth called, “Let Doctors be Doctors,” which calls for a new EHR that connects stakeholders and actually allows doctors to, well, be doctors.

The lyrics, set to the tune of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind,” are smart and funny.  It’s sure to hit home with anyone working in health care these days. To learn more and to voice your experience with EHR head over to Let Doctors be Doctors and follow the hashtag #letdoctorsbedoctors.  Without improvements to EHR it’s not just doctors that suffer.  It’s the whole healthcare team that cares for patients and patients, as well.

“Tech should bind us, not blind us to the reason why we care, patient’s face reminds us.”

“Innovation all around but it ain’t in healthcare. Internet and apps for you, but we get ancient software.”


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