So, we’re coming up on 2013, dragging many of the issues that dogged 2012 right along with us. My theory is that many of the following are likely to linger through next year as well, though maybe I’m being too cynical.
Here’s my list of ongoing EMR issues that don’t seem to be going away:
* Usability problems: While there are scattered efforts to improve the entire EMR usability model, none rules the industry. So as things stand, clinicians generally dislike (or, let’s admit it, in many cases loathe ) enterprise EMRs hospitals have mortgaged their future to buy.
* Interoperability: With proprietary Epic software ruling a growing percentage of U.S. hospitals, getting true interoperability that fuels HIE growth seems a mere dream at the moment. And even if Epic and it’s “ours is best” philosophy didn’t rule the waves of late, connecting other hospital EMR vendors is at a primitive stage at best.
* Poor compatibility with popular mobile devices: Far too few vendors offer a mobile-native client for their EMR, instead forcing clinicians to cope with the limitations of Citrix compatibility. This state of affairs is terrible for the growth of mHealth, which I think we can agree is a Bad Thing.
* Extremely high cost for enterprise EMR systems: When you’re talking about enterprise software, you’re generally talking about a large price tag. But am I the only one who thinks that vendors are padding the heck out of their prices because Meaningful Use has hospitals under the gun?
* Lack of documented ROI and clinical improvement generated by EMRs: Other than collecting an incentive check, most hospitals don’t seem to know how their EMR will generate money, much less savings or return on investment. And as for a body of well-documented research demonstrating that EMRs can generate better clinical results, we just aren’t there yet.
What other problems do we face this year that are going to remain tough to fix next year? Are any of these problems on the verge of being solved?