My primary care physician, the last time I was in for a checkup, had not adopted ePrescribing or started using an electronic health record (EHR). My understanding is that the medical group to which he belongs had not rolled out these capabilities to him yet but was planning to do so. Hopefully, this summer when I see him again he will be plugged into the electronic health record that the group is adopting.
Although he may not be happy about having to adapt to this new way of working, I will be happy because it provides another layer of safety for me as a patient. For instance, the risks of miscommunication between my doctor and my pharmacy will be greatly reduced. From my experience as a quality and productivity expert, I know that there will be many benefits for his practice group. As the American Medical Association has shown in a white paper my physician may not be spending much less time handling prescriptions, but his office staff surely will. Overall, there will be a significant gain in productivity and safety for the office.
After examining this example of the adoption of technology at my physician’s office group I recognize several challenges that the group faces, many of which are common to any enterprise adopting new technology faces, including not just healthcare providers but also small businesses and nonprofit organizations:
Will the new technology increase productivity?
Will there be a positive return on investment?
Will the new technology improve patient safety?
If the technology is adopted, how should it be rolled out or implemented?