The Trump administration this month announced its own effort to update the Electronic Health Record systems, which disrupt the doctor-patient relationship. The government could do even more good by deregulating EHRs, establishing a free market for user-friendly products. Perhaps Amazon, through its partnership with JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway , could eventually do for medicine what it’s done for retail.
EHRs were forced on the health-care community by the 2009 stimulus. Congress has allocated $37 billion so far to help providers upgrade from mostly paper files. Nearly a decade later, the promised efficiencies and savings haven’t materialized.
Instead, EHRs divert doctors’ attention from patients. Physicians often rely on visual cues when taking a patient history, but now what’s visible much of the time is a computer screen. The outdated EHR technology is difficult and time-consuming, contributing to doctors’ stress and burnout. The unintuitive interfaces consist of multiple drop-down menus and forms as well as countless boxes to check and pages to navigate. The screen often freezes. It takes seven clicks to order basic antibiotics, 14 clicks to order stronger ones. It’s death by a thousand clicks, and it’s killing the medical profession.
Read the rest of the op-ed at the WSJ.