Resolutions On EHR Usability, ROI: A Welcome Relief, Or Just Lip Service?

Marla Durben Hirsch | FierceEMR | January 9, 2014

I read with great interest this week's proposals to improve electronic health records in the new year. First we have Jacob Reider, Acting National Coordinator for Health IT, who published a blog post on Jan. 6 acknowledging that EHR usability continues to be an unresolved issue that remains a priority for ONC. He also notes that the agency is working to understand the issues and determine what the government's role should be regarding EHR usability.

Then we have the Institute of Medicine on the same day issuing a proposed standard model for hospitals and others to evaluate the financial benefits and costs of purchasing an EHR and its potential return on investment (ROI). The proposed model helps provide inter-organizational comparisons, identify "best-in-class" implementation approaches and prioritize process redesign endeavors.

These are welcome developments. It's about time that there's an emphasis on EHR usability and a real tool to help providers determine their ROI when purchasing an EHR. Plus, these initiatives are coming from the government and the Institute of Medicine, no less, so they're backed with notable credibility.