Tom Closson, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) President and CEO, created a bit of stir at the eHealth 2011 conference in Toronto when he suggested that doctors should face real consequences for not adopting electronic medical record systems such as not getting paid. This same sentiment was expressed in a recent article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Tim Wilson, a fellow Canadian eHealth blogger, explored Tom’s comments in a recent blog post. I commented on this blog post with the following observation:
I agree that mandating EMR use is not the answer, at least not until we get more physicians using EMRs. While it might sound like the easiest path to take, forcing physicians to use an EMR casts them as technology resistors who simply aren’t smart enough to realize the benefits that EMR’s have to offer. Given their education and their use of some quite advanced technologies in other aspects of the practice of medicine, one has to wonder they aren’t pounding down the vendors’ doors to buy an EMR.
I suggested that it was perhaps a bit hypocritical of those who still use pen and paper for many daily work activities to admonish physicians for doing the same.
If we are unprepared to ditch pen and paper, what right do we have to ask physicians to do the same? Clearly there are usability issues still remaining with many EMR products and forcing physicians to use products that don’t fit how they work is not the answer. While I am not naive enough to suggest that usability is the only issue standing in the way of massive EMR adoption, I do believe it is a contributing factor.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Head over to Tim’s blog and join the debate.