Time For Hospitals To Join The Information Age

from the it's-about-time dept

While there are some hospitals who have successfully moved into the digital age, plenty haven’t budged from their old paper-based filing system. It’s not so much that hospitals dislike technology. They buy all sorts of advanced medical technology all the time. But, when it comes to administrative technology and things like computerized prescription systems – which might save lives by preventing mistakes – hospitals don’t seem to care. The complaints range from doctors who are afraid the new system will slow them down, to hospitals who point out that the only benefit to these systems is to the patients (you know, the folks who don’t want to die) and not the hospital itself. Yes, the health of a patient is secondary to profitability these days. Of course, considering the high price of malpractice lawsuits, you would think such systems might pay for themselves. It’s certainly a political hot potato, though. Politicians are now looking for ways to force hospitals to join the twenty-first century and update their computer systems to prevent errors.

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Comments on “Time For Hospitals To Join The Information Age”

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dorpus says:

More complicated than that

– Who is going to pay the bill for hospital IT systems, when many of them are losing money like crazy?

– What if the new computerized system has software bugs, makes fatal mistakes, and kills patients?

– What if the new computerized system allows information to flow freely to health insurers, so patients get upset?

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

People make mistakes, not computers. New doesn’t necessarily mean better. Government Force — never good.

Profit matters. Yes. Unless the government wants to subsidize it.

Hospitals usually have better IT staff than you might realize. If the government and vendors want the hospitals to move to newer systems, then there should be a benefit to both the hospital and the customer/patient. When it benefits both, it will be freely and widely adopted.

And regardless of how good the technology is, there will always be mistakes and there will always be law suits.

dorpus says:

Re: No Subject Given

Health care is an inherently uneconomical field, as health care professionals are taught to save patients regardless of whether they can pay for it, or their health condition. Even the most rabid free-market ideologue would not want to live in a society where hospital ER’s refuse to treat patients whose credit card has maxed out.

Anonymous Coward says:

Newer isn't always better.

The thing that’s missing in the sarcastic slant posted here is the fact that electronic patient records are not more secure than paper records. The basic problem is that the general public who are NOT geeks just don’t care about passwords or walking away from their terminal with patient data openly displayed on the monitor. Personally, I’d prefer the paper record hands down – it’s a lot less likely to get ‘lost’, copied, etc.

Anonymous Grizzled Healthcare Veteran says:

Re: Newer isn't always better.

Don’t forget: Computers didn’t reduce paperwork. It isn’t the monitor left displaying patient information we have to worry about. It’s the shared printer sitting where all have access, but little time to retrieve prints, sitting there with multiple patient checkouts in the tray, because someone thought it was too expensive for each provider to have their own printer in an office with no public access. Its too easy to minimize a window and have a clear screen compared to walking an extra 30 feet to keep printouts cleared. And you won’t convince me it couldn’t be anticipated: you could see the same sort of thing happening with those big expensive photocopiers a few years back.

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