Information technology has had a huge and increasing influence in the healthcare field. Most hospitals and clinics have installed or are planning some form of electronic medical records (EMR) systems that promise major efficiencies in operations and improved patient care. Government initiatives have increased the volume and accelerate the pace of technology in medical facilities. But in the healthcare field as in other areas, progress isn’t dependent on technology alone. Issues of politics, funding and end-user acceptance may have an even more profound influence.
In the day-to-day life of individual practitioners, the linchpin of a healthcare system, technology is a double-edged sword. If systems save time for the clinician, they will offer great benefit. But if they require additional data entry and upend the day-to-day practice, these systems add stress to facilities already struggling to provide adequate patient care.
Making the marriage of technology and medicine succeed is not so much about new technology. It’s about appropriate application of existing technology after a thorough understanding of needs and an analysis of current processes. This is no mean task under the pressure of a health system that is already overwhelmed by increased patient loads and constrained by insurance and government regulations.
Bryan Bergeron provides healthcare informatics consulting in a variety of areas including medical-device analysis and hospital-information systems. He has also published extensively on this topic.
Bryan Bergeron, MD
President, Archetype Technologies, Inc.
258 Harvard Street Ste 315
Brookline, MA 02446