What Happens with Healthcare IT adoption after the EHR Meaningful Use Death March?
For the first time in history the government has forced an entire industry to adopt technology. This was not a recommendation mind you. It was in essence a requirement to go paperless or else, with the intent to lower healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes and safety.
By all accounts the use of electronic health records by medical providers has dramatically increased the last 3 years as a result of the Hitech?Act. At least $20 billion in taxpayer dollars has funded this program. Many believe at least that much has also been invested from private investment sources to make this happen.
Regardless of the merits or implementation of this program, it has significantly impacted the healthcare industry in several ways.
First, it has made it ?catch up? as a user of technology to enable the core business processes of healthcare delivery. Healthcare has traditionally been behind other sectors but this massive push of technology adoption has allowed it to catch up in one felt swoop.
Secondly, and with some concerns, a dearth of fly by night EHR vendors flooded the market with solutions that either haven?t or marginally met the Meaningful Use requirements. And unfortunately, the ?race? to develop and sell these applications by most vendors left the solid user experience design considerations in the dust. Both of these will result in rework or re-implementations for the providers, over time if not soon.
But let?s assume the dust will settle on this in the next 12-24 months and the provider community is generally happy with choking down these applications and are benefiting from them. The really interesting question for me is how is the industry going to react to using technology going forward?
My theory is that come 2017, the MU program will be well on its way to winding down, at which point it will be interesting to see what will happen with healthcare technology adoption and innovation. While public funding will dry up, by all accounts, a massive wave of private venture capital funding is on its way.
The central question is will the industry be fatigued and resistant to change as in the past or will it embrace further advances for the future?
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