An article in the New York Times points up some of the shortcomings of the push for meaningful use of electronic medical records (EMR): it’s vulnerable to fraud. The Department of Health and Human Services is shocked, just shocked, that perhaps some physicians and hospitals may have not been entirely accurate in self-reporting how well they’ve converted to an EMR, just to get a few million dollars.
But the part of the article that got my attention was this quote from Lynne Thomas Gordon, the chief executive of the American Health Information Management Association, a trade group in Chicago:
We’ve gone from the horse and buggy to the Model T, and we don’t know the rules of the road. Now we’ve had a big car pileup.
The reason I love this aphorism is not because I am shocked at the poor HHS oversight of the meaningful use process. To that, I say “duh.”
But it encapsulates where I think we are in terms of usability of medical software. Even our best software and hardware – iPhones and Android phones, Google search, Google Maps, and the like – are still barely beyond the Model T phase. Our medical software, far behind these market leaders, doesn’t even make it to the Model T level. Maybe its to the “pileup of Model Ts” phase.