5 reasons tech adoption is sluggish in healthcare

There are many different technologies out there, but few of them seem to take hold in the healthcare industry, Robert Pearl, M.D., writes at Forbes.

In his commentary, Pearl writes that there are five factors that impact technology adoption in healthcare.

  1. Tech without goals. Innovation should start with the goals of the end-user, Pearl writes, but often organizations create the technology first and figure out how to use it later. He uses the example of wearables to illustrate his point. The devices are ubiquitous these days, but often don't provide the data and tools needed to make a direct impact on healthcare, Pearl says.
  2. Costs. Professionals in the industry support tech that benefits them and their patients, but want someone else to front the costs, Pearl says. In addition, there are financial problems in the fee-for-service payment model, he says. Doctors will not quickly adopt technology even if it lowers costs because the payment model rewards are based on volume and costs of services, not quality of outcomes.
  3. Computers as a barrier. Pearl says as patients assert their rights to access their health records, there is now a barrier between patients and physicians. However, he says computers don't have to create distance. Doctors can use the technology to show patients what their data looks like on the screen, he says. Entrepreneurs need to create a user-friendly, data entry mechanism as well as an easy way for patients to access the information.
  4. Slowing down instead of speeding up. While the added information in electronic health records helps stop medical errors and leads to easier access to test results, it also takes more time than paper records when the systems prevents physicians from skipping steps. He suggests development of software that would reduce data entry time and include smartlists and alert apps.
  5. Notion of impersonal tech. The "perceived rift between 'high tech' and 'high touch' is becoming a relic of the past," Pearl writes. He says patients do want their health information through digital means because that is becoming a major part of how they manage their lives. Patients become frustrated with a system that doesn't accommodate those needs, he adds.

To learn more:
- read Pearl's commentary

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