They are according to a growing number of prominent health care organizations and officials, who say that while “effective use of electronic health records will greatly improve patient safety, quality and efficiency,” the federal approach is based on “unrealistic expectations” and “unachievable timelines.”
In response to these concerns, CMS lightened up meaningful use requirements (link requires registration) for EHRs over the summer, which was greeted as a definite improvement. Nevertheless, HIT is one area where ambition can easily exceed reach. One Arizona hospital CEO put it this way: “We are trying to get our clinical relationships and procedures right before we go totally electronic. Otherwise, you could just automate failure.”
We’re glad to see more Arizona physicians, hospitals and others taking advantage of the incentives and getting on board the HIT train. But it’s easy to become derailed when you’re moving too fast. Flexibility and time to learn from experience and adapt are what is needed now.