Reasons Why EMR Efforts Are Proceeding So Slowly

Posted on May 18, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

David Swink wrote an interesting comment on my previous post in which he lists a number of reasons why he thinks the EMR effort is proceeding so slowly. Since many of you don’t read all the comments on this site (I’ll forgive you this time), I thought I’d highlight his comments here to see what people think of his comments and what more they might add to the list.

Thought on why the EMR effort is proceeding so slowly:

1) EMR is much more complex than a simple inventory control system. The “human resources” apps probably come closest to the mark, but there are hundreds of separate HR apps out there, but they don’t have to talk to other HR apps.

2) Government is not good at organizing complex efforts. The government-sponsored HDTV effort took some 30 years to implement, and the results were largely irrelevant in that we’d moved beyond the concept of “broadcast”.

3) The medical community has no “IEEE” standards group to represent their interests and get various vendors to pull together towards a well-defined goal. The AMA could maybe assume this role, except that it is mostly a political organization, with only 17 percent participation by physicians.

4) Large medical groups are not likely to encourage mutual cooperation in EMR development. To them, small physician groups are competition. (Likewise, Sarbanes-Oxley works to the benefit of large corporations who can afford the accounting red tape, to the detriment of Mom-n-Pop organization, where red tape is a meaningful expense.)

I think David missed a number of other important reasons. Like the 300+ EMR and EHR vendors for a start. What else do you think is slowing the EMR effort? And more importantly, what can be done to overcome these challenges?