Healthcare execs: We don't want to build software

Easing clinician processes often is a high priority when purchasing new IT tools, but it's not always one that comes to fruition, according to several healthcare technology executives who participated in a panel discussion Monday at the fourth annual Health Datapalooza in Washington, D.C., a conference originally launched as part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Health Data Initiative.

Joe Kimura (right), chief medical information officer for Boston-based Atrius Health, said that all too often he and his colleagues create custom applications as add-ons to purchased software to get the results they want.

"We're not a software company," Kimura said. "We don't want to build software, but we're being forced to as technology we purchase … does not meet our needs."

Mark Wagar (left), president of Heritage Medical Systems--an affiliate of the Northridge, Calif.-based Heritage Provider Network--echoed Kimura's sentiments, adding that his team has done more building than buying of late to avoid having to fill in gaps for limited technology down the road. Wagar said that while he'd prefer to not have to spend financial and personal capital developing stopgaps, many times he doesn't have a choice in the matter.

Jessica Dudley (right), chief medical officer for the Brigham and Women's Physicians Organization in Boston, said that vendors would be wise to target more of their efforts toward engaging care specialists.

"Solutions need to go beyond primary care," she said.

Dudley added that new tools need to be more workflow integrated. "Tools need to be developed for the care coordination space," Dudley said. "Our clinicians want technology that's easy to use."

William Chin (left), executive medical director for HealthCare Partners Medical Group--a managed care provider based in Torrance, Calif.--agreed.

"When it comes to technology, I shouldn't have to sell it," Chin said. "End users should be able to adopt to such devices seamlessly."

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