What Does the Future Look Like for Physicians?

AlexTate200By Alex Tate, Health IT Consultant, CureMD
Twitter: @CureMD
Twitter: @alextate07

Information Technology has truly revolutionized the way healthcare is delivered to patients nationwide. Physicians, hospitals, healthcare centers and other associated services are all using some sort of IT infrastructure in order to provide better care, cut costs and improve patient experience.

Despite several hindrances, IT promises a bright future for the industry. The ability of various systems adopted by healthcare professionals to meaningfully interact with each other seamlessly remains an area of concern. It is a huge problem in a country where nearly 75% of physicians are using information technology in their practice. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent on developing better, newer and simpler systems but the end users, physicians, are finding it increasingly difficult to contain the flow of information and the unlimited data they are generating.

It all comes down to how physicians nationwide are adopting these technologies. For the moment, it looks like they are being forced into adopting these systems through government regulations and by providing lucrative incentives. Once the technology is implemented, many physicians regularly complain about their systems not being efficient and the complexity of their usage. Although many EHR vendors provide after sales support and continuous trainings about their products, most physicians struggle to cope up with technology and are not very tech-savvy.

However, if the healthcare IT revolution is going to take place it has to be through physicians. The sooner they embrace the technology and start using it as it was intended, the sooner problem areas will be addressed. At the moment, they are struggling to cut down costs and some are even seeing a decline in their Meaningful Use incentive rate after first year’s usage.

EHR replacement will be the new way forward if the physicians’ want to get the most out of their systems. They need to replace their costly, inefficient and useless systems with more economical, performance-driven and highly efficient EHR which will not only help them improve patient satisfaction, but also enable them to achieve better quality and efficiency.

With the implementation of Meaningful Use Stage 2, physicians are being required to focus more on quality treatment of patients and reporting certain on set standards and benchmarks. This is certainly going to create more awareness amongst the physicians to focus on quality and qualify for incentive payments from the government.

The time to adopt Healthcare IT is now, for anyone who hasn’t already embraced it yet. There is still some leverage from the government in order to adapt to newer technologies which will not only enable the physicians to qualify for Meaningful Use Stage 2, but also able to adopt ICD-10, which in itself is a huge task.

Physicians may have more substance when it comes to the EHR systems. In the future EHR systems need to be made as simple as writing a prescription by hand. Only then 100% physicians across US will be on the same bandwagon. That era might still be a few years away, but it is certainly not impossible.