AMA Immediate Past President Challenges Healthcare IT Leaders to Fix EHRs

Mark Hagland | Healthcare Informatics | August 11, 2016

Immediate past AMA president Steven J. Stack, M.D. urged healthcare IT leaders to press EHR vendors to improve their products

Speaking both as a practicing emergency physician and as the immediate past president of the American Medical Association (AMA), Steven J. Stack, M.D., challenged the healthcare IT leaders in his audience on Thursday to do everything possible to encourage improvements in electronic health record (EHR) technology for the sake of frustrated physicians, when he delivered the opening keynote address at the Health IT Summit in Nashville, sponsored by the Institute for Health Technology Transformation (iHT2—a sister organization to Healthcare Informatics under the Vendome Group, LLC corporate umbrella) at the Sheraton Downtown Nashville, in Nashville, Tenn.

Steven J. Stack, M.D.Speaking both of EHR technology itself, and of the meaningful use program under the HITECH (Health Information Technology for Clinical and Economic Health) Act, Dr. Stack told the assembled audience that physicians are not anti-technology; but that the immaturity of the EHR solutions available on today’s healthcare IT market, combined with the forced-march mandates embedded in the meaningful use program, have put practicing physicians in the U.S. collectively into an tenable situation when it comes to having to accept impediments to their clinical practice and workflow.

“Let’s concede that without the HITECH Act, we never would have been where we are now in terms of the adoption of EHRs,” Stack said. “Before 2008, about 80 percent of clinicians in hospitals didn’t use EHRs in any robust way. Now, only eight years later, about that percentage of doctors do.” But, he said, the federal government seems inevitably to apply very challenging “carrot and stick” mandates to physicians in practice, and the meaningful use program under HITECH has been a good example of an instance in which such a mandate has proven deeply frustrating to doctors...