The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Technology at the Office, Hospital, and Home

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This week: measuring the impact of technology on physicians' personal and professional lives, EMRs and the usability factor,Health IT consultants for office-based physicians, and cloud computing in healthcare.

The New York Times ran an interesting article this week addressing the effects — both positive and negative -- of technology on the way that we live. Technology has definitely served to blur the line between home and work life for most of us, but I wonder if this is as true for healthcare professionals? Is being on call, for example, fundamentally any different now than it was 20 years ago? In a profession where work has traditionally bled over into personal time, does technology pose much of an intrusion?

Margalit Gur-Arie over at the Health Care Blog reviews the latest buzzword — usability -- and what it means to physicians who are considering their options in the EMR jungle. What’s the bottom line? Usability standards and ratings don’t negate the heavy lifting required in terms of researching systems or understanding your office’s business requirements. For what it’s worth, I agree.

If just thinking of what’s involved in choosing and implementing an EMR makes you break out into a sweat, you’re not alone. According to a recent Klas report, consulting firms that were previously engaged by hospital systems such as IBM, CSC, and ACS are turning their attention to physician’s offices. Go here to learn more about some of the firms that are throwing their hat into this ring.

I know that at least some of these firms are touting cloud computing when it comes to EMR implementation, and I’m curious as to how many individual offices are actually going for that kind of solution. It’s being embraced by the NHS, but the UK’s healthcare system and the expectations surrounding it are much different than what we have in the US. If you’ve had experience with keeping records in a cloud environment already, please do leave a comment. Especially for a physician’s office, I see several potential problems with not storing records on a server that you own and physically have access to.

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