Technology should help, not hinder, healthcare providers

While technology in healthcare is supposed to make the work and lives of both physicians and patients easier, that is not always the case, according to Michael L. Millenson, president of Health Quality Advisors LLC.

For instance, Millenson writes at Forbes, sometimes new tools in the healthcare space can make conditions more stressful for employees and disrupt the wrong thing, like checks and balances.

Electronic health records, he notes, have caused such problems for some providers.

Switching from a homegrown electronic health record system to a commercial one in a hospital's emergency department greatly increased the frequency of task-switching by physicians, which can have a negative impact on patient safety, according to a study published last month in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

In addition, security of such tools is causing healthcare providers and chief information officers to have to spend much of their time and energy on cybersecurity.

However, Americans want their providers to be more digitally connected. And that demand for consumer-like convinces from patients is only going to grow, Tampa General Hospital Chief Information Officer Scott Arnold previously told FierceHealthIT.

But as use of technology expands to every facet of healthcare, it will be important for those tools to help and not impede the work of employees in the industry.

"The key to business success ... will be to disrupt medicine without disrupting the lives of those who practice it," Millenson writes.

To learn more:
- here's the Forbes post