Workflow and ease of use

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In order to get to ‘Meaningful Use’, we need to first get Provider’s to use an EHR to even hope to reach the level of obtaining meaningful use.  Financial barriers are another reason why adoption is difficult to attain.

However, I believe that Provider’s do want to do the “right thing”, which is EHR use.  I also believe that most Provider’s understand the utility of EHR’s and what progress it can bring to the healthcare field, but the problem lie’s mostly in human nature, that is ‘change’.  Change takes work, energy, and time.  We all get used to doing things a certain way without much thought.  This makes our lives easier.  It’s like creating our own thought process workflow routines/standards.  Why should we break what is not broken?  Is the incentive to change enough for Provider’s to modify what they have learned through experience works for them?

The question then becomes how do we minimize the change required?  We need to create a system that is adaptable to the practice, not the other way around.  EHR’s need to be as transparent as possible.  Provider’s just want to interact with the information that will allow them to get their work accomplished as fast, easily, efficiently, and effectively as possible.  If this is accomplished, I believe that the financial barriers will be a secondary, albeit very important, concern.

As an example, my spouse can probably be classified as the ‘typical user’.  She uses computer’s only because she has to.  If it makes her life easier, she’ll use it, otherwise forget it.  She views technology as a means to an end.

I, on the other hand, have always liked computers.  I could be classified as a technophile.  I am in charge of updating our home computer’s.  Early on in my marriage, I would update my wife’s computer whenever it worked for me.  Furthermore, sometimes there were also interface changes which I thought were ‘cool’.  However, I soon learned, after many demerits, that my spouse did not feel the same way.  She wanted things done when she was not affected.  She also wanted updates not to interfere with the interface that she was accustomed to.

This example demonstrates my point.  Provider’s, and the public at large, are mostly like  my  spouse.  They just want to use computer’s as tools to get their jobs done as quickly and efficiently as possible.  They don’t want the computer to become another ‘job’ to figure out just to get what they want done.  They just want it to be like an appliance that they use only when they need it.  And the sooner they  get their jobs done, the sooner they can get on with ‘living their lives’.

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