Patient’s Demanding Interoperable EHR

Posted on June 2, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

A few years ago there was this really funny thread over on the EMR Update forum that asked if doctors would one day display a sign that said “Got EMR?” (this was before the term EHR became in vogue) The concept was asking the question about whether patients would ever demand that their doctor us an EMR or they’d go to another doctor for care. The comparison was made to online banking. I remember online banking being on my list of requirements for a bank. Why couldn’t EMR be on your list of requirements for a doctor?

However, I don’t think most patients really know enough about EMR to want their doctor to ask for it. Maybe if EMR companies and independent studies of EMR really showed a stark improvement in patient care by those using an EMR this would change. Until then, don’t expect patients to start requesting doctors that use an EMR.

With that said, patients may start demanding other things which would tangentially require a doctor to use an EMR. For example, a patient may want their doctor to be interoperable. Patients may want to be able to easily schedule an appointment with their doctor online. Patients may want to start getting script refills done online. Of course, we could talk for hours about patients eventually wanting to actually have the patient visits done online, but we won’t start down that path in this post.

Each of the above patient requirements really needs to have an EMR. We’re definitely not at the point now that patients are demanding these types of features. I wonder if we’ll ever reach this point or if there are just so many patients and so few doctors that even if the patients start asking for these features doctors can continue to do business as usual.