Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Clarifying a recent Information Week article

This week's Information Week had a few interesting articles on EHRs and PHRs. The lead article ("Why Progress Toward Electronic Health Records is Worse Than You Think") hits on some of the more well-known cautionary notes, like the demise of the Santa Barbara Care Data Exchange, and the widely-reported issues faced by Kaiser Permanente in it's Epic installation. The article also describes what may be a deeper and more insidious challenge to significant progress, namely, the lack of urgency among the vast majority of physicians to get moving on EHRs and HIE.

The articles also quote me and describe the work of the MAeHC, and while I'm fine with most of the reporting on us, I want to clarify some false impressions that the articles could create about us and our work.

First, I'm not nearly as arrogant as I sound in the article (not nearly!). When asked if I felt that there was a lot of pressure on us to deliver, I responded that we certainly feel that there is a spotlight on us. That got turned into a quote that has me suggesting that THE national spotlight is on us, as if there aren't other important activities going on around the country. There are over 150 HIE efforts around the country according to the last eHealth Initiative Annual Survey, and concrete, replicable successes among any of them will be important guideposts for the rest of us and for the national effort at large.

A second clarification I need to make regards a sidebar article on PHRs ("Doctors Debate Giving Patients' Online Access To Health Data"). The article suggests that an MAeHC-funded practice won't give patients access to records because "patients aren't ready and doctors aren't ready." This does not accurately reflect either MAeHC's PHR plans or our views on the "readiness" of physicians or patients for this technology.

MAeHC expects to launch patient portals in all three of our communities, including the one referred to in the article. These portals will have the benefit of being "untethered" from any specific provider, so that patients will be able to access summarized clinical data from all of their community providers, not just any one provider. Not only do we believe that physicians and patients are ready for such technology, we believe that such patient-centered applications should be one of the principal goals of community EHR/HIE programs.

We're honored to have Information Week devote space to describing our project, and I think that their reporting on the lack of urgency for EHRs and PHRs among physicians and patients is spot on. I look forward to following their future coverage of these important issues.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Read more about Kaiser and their problems with EHR here...