CIO: Docs will embrace EMR only if it makes them more efficient

Stop us if you've seen this movie before: A CIO believes physicians will embrace EMRs as long as the technology doesn't slow them down and cost them money.

That's the assessment of Al Campanella, CIO of VirtuaHealth, Marlton, N.J., who sat down for an in-depth interview with Healthcare Informatics. The magazine published part one of a two-parter this month. "[Physicians] don't want use EMRs to make more money, they just don't want to use an EMR to make less money. They feel as though there's a certain trade off that's made between having data electronically available and having clinical decision support available as you're documenting, versus being able to see the requisite number of patients that your practice needs to keep up with patient demand," Campanella offers.

"If [physicians] found that computers made their life personally more efficient, then I think they would be buying them very easily, very readily," he says. He believes that current EMR systems can make physicians "marginally faster" if doctors use the technology properly. But not every system is as customizable as some users would prefer.

Campanella has seen some attitude adjustments since passage of the federal stimulus back in February, particularly with regards to health information exchange. "I think, in the post HITECH world, there's definitely a greater awareness that technology can be one of the enablers of true healthcare reform, and secondly, that there's no question there's a great need for data to be shared among disparate providers to truly provide patients with the high level of care they deserve," he says. "The true end point is really sharing data across a continuum for more efficient quality care. The EMR itself is simply a means toward that."

For more:
- read the Campanella interview in Healthcare Informatics