Healthcare IT Could Scuttle Reform
Think about your last encounter with poorly designed software. Not a pleasant experience, right? Didn't do what you wanted done. Or took too long and/or was unnecessarily complicated and counterintuitive. Maybe you just gave up. That outcome could very well screw up the entire U.S. healthcare reform initiative (assuming such an initiative survives the legislative process)! That's the conclusion of Phillip Longman of the New America Foundation in his recent
Longman asserts that much of the $20 billion in the stimulus bill for computerizing medical records is likely to be spent on bug-laden, inadequate proprietary software sold by the very companies that lobbied for the money. He favors the open-source, clinician-designed integrated healthcare software used by the VA, some large private HMOs, and certain other leading providers (e.g. Mayo Clinic). I found his arguments compelling, and I'll bet you will, too.
This is serious stuff. The choices made now could well spell the difference between modest success and abject failure of our healthcare reform initiative to enhance care and reduce societal costs.
As for the leading healthcare IT suppliers, I suggest they consider altering their business models to focus exclusively on supporting individual providers and delivery networks in adapting a universal healthcare IT platform to their specific needs and practitioner/patient populations.