Why EMR Companies Don’t Care About Usability

David Do | KevinMD.com | June 26, 2013

I overheard nurses praising the pilot of a new technology with the promise of improving communication, safety, and saving on healthcare spending. The innovation: two-way texting. That’s one of the many indicators that hospitals are stuck the technological stone age.

Imagine how many eyes light up when you offer providers fewer logins, autopopulating forms, and uncluttered menus. There’s an assumption that technology, in the context of healthcare, has to be bad (sometimes attributable to security and privacy). Physicians in the hospital often complain about “technology” as a whole. Outside the hospital, people are constantly evaluating the metric of EMR adoption. In reality, there’s good and bad technology, and there are good and bad EMRs.

What we in healthcare need to realize is that internet companies over the past ten years have developed processes for developing adaptive, secure, and user-friendly technologies. We love our online banking, shopping, and emailing. Meanwhile in healthcare, everyone seems resigned to using poor, outdated technologies by established vendors that have lost the incentive to innovate.