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All Things HIT

Nov 25 2011   12:05PM GMT

Studies are revealing nothing new, time to focus on adoption!



Posted by: AllinHIT
E-prescribing, EHR, EHR adoption, eRx, JAMIA

For the past five years, I have written about, spoke on and advocated for the implementation of electronic prescribing software and electronic health records (EHRs). Labor costs concerning pharmacy phone calls and refill requests, the many downsides to fax, and overall increased efficiencies afforded by implementation are all great ROI variables making eRx worthwhile to implement. Heck, I always held that poorly written prescriptions causing deaths due to adverse events were alone enough of a reason to adopt! 

But despite my advocancy for eRx, I have also been realistic about the challenges—workflow, managing both paper and electronic refills temporarily, eRx to mail-order pharmacies, dosage manufacturer changes, etc.  However, I understand that these issues are resolved with workflow changes, and are also vendor and software specific.  Hence, its really about making the right decision (for example, using an application that sends data electronically to a desired PBM), implementing workflow changes, making sure software parameters are set correctly and receiving the proper training.  

All of these facts were recently brought to light in yet another eRx study, published online in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.  The study, commissioned by HHS, revealed nothing new to what has been known for years, and I thought about how we as an industry need to stop the “studying” of ACOs, eRx, EHRs, etc., and go with my bottom line theory and just get it done!

For the past year, I’ve read many headlines confirming the effectiveness of health IT, EHRs, and eRx.  Headlines like “PCMH proves to improve those with chronic diseases”, “Coordinated care increases patient compliance”, and “EHR’s increase office efficiencies”.  These headlines, created by investing millions in research, are getting old. It’s time to “move the cheese” to adoption! 

The dollars dedicated to more studies simply to prove what is inevitable is on the verge of overkill.  It’s time to dedicate dollars to physician and patient education.  Billboard awareness campaigns, physician community education programs (on PHRs, EHRs, MU and HIE), online campaigns, and other community outreach efforts are all examples of activities where resources should be allocated instead.  Let’s get out of this “study after study” phase and really begin focusing our efforts on moving the pendulum towards adoption!

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