Glaser: Remember that an EHR is a tool, and not always the right one

Sometimes a subtle reminder is needed to keep health IT projects on course. Other times, a sharp blow to the head is in order. This may be one of those times. In his latest column for Hospitals & Health Networks, John Glaser, vice president and CIO of Partners HealthCare System in Boston, is far from subtle in advising the many newcomers to the EHR party.

"We know that EHRs are a necessary foundation for the transformation of healthcare. However, we must never forget that EHRs are a tool and have no inherent magical properties that can transform care," Glaser writes. He then points out that tools must be used in the right way or they could lead to disaster. "Improving care will require the deployment of the appropriate tools and require clinical and administrative leadership, careful process redesign, terrific support and ongoing evaluation of impact," Glaser adds.

An EHR may not even be the right tool when it comes to care outcomes. Glaser says health IT needs to turn away from its current "fixation on adoption metrics" and focus on EHR effectiveness for adoption to succeed.

For more words of wisdom and caution on EHR implementation:
- read Glaser's HHN piece