Reasons Health Care IT Can’t Spend $20 Billion

Posted on January 31, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 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.

I think it’s reasonable to consider some of the reasons why health care IT won’t be able or willing to have $20 billion of government money invested in health care IT.

Not Enough Healthcare IT Professionals – It’s been widely suggested that the number of health care IT professionals might not be sufficient to support this type of invesment in health care IT.  I hope my fellow IT professionals from every field can easily make the transition to health care IT.  Certainly many will without a problem.  However, the question remains if enough will be able to do so.

Other Reasons Not to Adopt EMR – I’m certain that a study on why doctors haven’t implemented an EMR yet would not show money as the main factor preventing adoption of EMR.  There are many other reasons a doctor chooses not to implement EMR and money isn’t going to resolve those concerns.

CCHIT Requirement – Of course, this assumes that the government chooses to make CCHIT a requirement for receiving funds.  Doing so will limit the choices a doctor has in selecting an EMR.  I think it’s very likely that many doctors will forgoe government funding in order to use a non CCHIT EMR.  This could be especially true for specialists who would rather select a non CCHIT certified EMR that focuses on their specialties needs.

Paperwork Required – The government won’t just be going around handing people checks.  We’ll have to wait and see how much paperwork and reporting will be required to obtain these government funds, but many doctors will shun the paperwork and beuracracy associated with receiving the government funds.

EMR Vendor Selection Process – With over 400 EMR companies to choose from, it will take doctors some time to decide which EMR they like best.  Even if you narrow the list of EMR companies to CCHIT certified companies, you’re still looking at a lengthy evaluation process.  Most doctors want to practice medicine not learn about software.  So, evaluating EMR software often gets pushed down on their list of things to do.

We’ve all seen or heard it said that it’s harder to spend $20 billion than you would think.  This couldn’t be more true when it comes to investment in health care IT and electronic medical records.  Let me know in the comments if there were any other reasons I might have missed on why the spending in health care IT might not occur.