Slavitt: EHRs still don’t give docs the info they need

Andy Slavitt
Slavitt fired shots at the health IT industry for failing to integrate usable EHRs, and for devoting too much energy to an annual conference.

Programs like TurboTax have simplified complicated tax regulations, but electronic medical records haven't had the same impact in the healthcare industry.

So says former CMS acting administrator Andy Slavitt in an interview with HIStalk that touched on the role of technology in healthcare and the barriers that still exist.

Slavitt said technology has simplified that onerous annual task of filing tax returns to the point where consumers are more focused on optimizing their return. But technology hasn’t made the same imprint on the healthcare industry. EHRs still aren't providing clinicians with the information they need and doctors frequently complain that they are spending more time in front of a computer than with patients.

Technology isn't "as connected as it should be, it’s not giving people the information they need," Slavitt told HIStalk. “It’s not satisfying the clinicians in general. It’s not increasing their productivity. It’s probably not improving care.”

Newly confirmed Department of Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Price has expressed similar views, saying that the government has a role in improving interoperability but that EMRs can be a barrier to the doctor-patient relationship. He has also criticized Meaningful Use requirements.

RELATED: 10 things to know about new HHS secretary Tom Price

In a recent interview with FierceHealthcare, Slavitt said technology leaders are looking for hidden opportunities likely to emerge during substantial policy changes. He added that vendors are “very fearful” that hospitals will be left with less capital to invest in technology following a repeal of the ACA.

RELATED: Andy Slavitt’s ACA roadtrip: What he’s heard from healthcare, tech executives

Slavitt also fired shots at the health IT industry’s largest annual conference, which kicks off next week in Orlando, calling on the health IT industry to put more effort into developing usable technology.

“I get a little bit sickened every time I go to HIMSS, in some part, because we’ve got this massive industry that puts on a great party and has massive shows, and yet they have a customer base that is basically unsatisfied with the product,” he told HIStalk.