Commentary

The future of meaningful use


 

In his comments above, Dr. Lavery took issue – not only with the message – but also with the messengers. He identified columnists like us as cheerleaders for substandard technology who blame the user instead of the EHR software’s lack of usability. In response, we want to assert our fundamental belief that EHR technology only improves care delivery when it complements the "art" of medicine. We feel though that it is important to understand that these early stages of EHR adoption represent a transition point. Just as any child of the 21st century would laugh at the rudimentary nature of a 20th-century video game system, we will all likely one day reflect on this generation of EHRs with incredulity and condescension. One hopes we will also understand this era as the foundation of a new type of medicine – medicine that attends to the needs of – and values – physicians, patients, and populations through high-quality care and "meaningful" technology.

Dr. Notte is a family physician and clinical informaticist for Abington (Pa.) Memorial Hospital. He is also a partner in EHR Practice Consultants, a firm that aids physicians in adopting electronic health records. An avid programmer, he has published software for handheld devices in partnership with national organizations, and he is always looking for new ways to bring evidence-based medicine to the point of care. Dr. Skolnik is associate director of the family medicine residency program at Abington (Pa.) Memorial Hospital and professor of family and community medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia. He is also editor-in-chief of Redi-Reference Inc., a software company that creates mobile apps.

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