I am working on a book that explores lessons learned by early adopters of EMR software (also known as EHR software in the US). In the course of my research, I ran across an a provocative blog post by Dr. Michael Koriwchak, an EMR consultant. In this blog Dr. Koriwchak makes the argument that there is a culture clash between Health IT professionals and physicians that is impeding EMR use and adoption. Dr. Koriwchak asserts that HIT professionals don’t appreciate that healthcare is fundamentally different from most other industries and that applying the same perspectives with regard to automating work flows ignores the importance of the doctor-patient relationship.
Physicians, according to Dr. Koriwchak, look at workflows and data as a means to an end. They exist solely “to support and execute the decisions patients and doctors make together”. He further contends that “the art and science of medicine defy, to some degree, traditional software structure and data capture techniques.”. I believe that this observation regarding the challenge of applying traditional software techniques to the design of EMR software explains some of the usability criticisms that I have been hearing and blogging about over the past few months.
Dr. Koriwchak doesn’t let physicians off the hook, however, in his blog post. He suggests that they are equally culpable in the culture clash about which he writes. He suggests that physicians “act as if the doctor-patient relationship is so sacred as to be perfect and infallible, privileged from the need to evolve and improve.”
Do you think that there is culture clash between HIT professionals and the medical community?