Resistance to Change Will Fuel EHR Adoption

Posted on March 27, 2012 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.

Resistance to change is the number one reason doctors aren’t adopting EHR software. Sure, doctors will often give a lot of other reasons why they’re not adopting EHR software, but in most cases those are just shields for the real reason they don’t ant to adopt EHR software: Change.

Doctors are certainly not unique in this arena. None of us like to change. I’m a creature of habit as much as the rest of us. In fact, I just tweeted yesterday that I need to change my method for writing posts. I know it’s the right thing to do and would make me more productive and probably increase the quality of my posts, but I’m resistant to changing the approach that I’m comfortable doing. Doctors are no different and let’s be clear that documenting in an EHR is different than a paper chart. An EHR implementation requires change.

While resistance to change is the current barrier to EHR adoption, I would also assert that resistance to change is going to be the reason why EHR adoption will become the norm.

I’m sure this will make some of you feel a little uneasy. What we have to realize is that most new doctors coming into the medical profession love technology and can’t imagine having to go find a paper chart. They can type faster than they can write and so they idea of writing in a paper chart would be a big change for them. These doctors are use to only reading typed material. They don’t care to learn how to read physician hieroglyphics. These new doctors don’t see carrying around a device as a burden, but as a normal part of life. Taking that device away is a change for them. They won’t want to change their digital ways in order to live in a paper chart world.

In a story I’ve often related, I saw this first hand when my medical student friend told me he hated his current rotation because they used paper charts. He then went on to say, “I hate paper charts because I can type faster than I can write. And…” The glazed over eyes was when I could see that for him he couldn’t see any justification for using a paper chart. He wasn’t quite sure how to articulate why he didn’t like paper charts, but he just inherently knew that he didn’t.

Time is the great healer. With enough time, the resistance to change will be against those who want a doctor to use a paper chart.