We all know about the conflict that is being played up about individuals and practices having to “adopt” or “learn new technology” for implementation of an EHR. Perhaps as an industry we are looking at the issue from the wrong direction. While Doctors and practices research the various options for EMRs, PHRs, digital data transmission and maintenance solutions; it is easy to get overwhelmed by the myriad of negative opinion. The focus should be on what different technologies should be added to the current workflow; not on how technologies will change the current workflow. In this light, transitions into cost saving technologies stand a better chance to be fluid and functional.
With so many cross over technologies in the realm of speech recognition, digital faxing and even digital pens; the technology mix becomes the object of a transition into more efficient and user-centric workflows. Where some are more comfortable with pure dictation, others like to make frequent annotations in addition to their dictation. Perhaps the word hasn’t quite gotten out yet about how seamlessly these technologies are ready to be utilized in a workflow. The future of transcription services just may be one of data downloading from these peripherals and into EHR services. This is evident with the entry of new services such as webmedx that combine speech recognition services like Dragon to their EHR management and transcription service offerings. So it seems, utilizing the power of digital voice and handwriting technology even cuts the costs for transcription providers.
So what do I mean by a mix of technology? Well, each practice is as different as each doctor within the organization. Everyone has his or her own style of administering care. Therefore, each doctor’s options should be as varied as the individual; so as to play upon their strengths and work habits. It is these focused issues that make peripherals so important to connecting an EHR, as a parallel object, to daily workflow and operations. In this sense, the tactile or vocal interface technology is the contact to a “background” EHR operation layer. The future of the industry is doctors working side by side with their records systems and not into them. Of course, none of this technology will matter if it doesn’t cut into the overhead of daily operations.