Why Doctors Still Use Pen and Paper | The Atlantic

David Blumenthal, former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology:

The reason why the medical profession has been so slow to adopt technology at the point of contact with patients is that there is an asymmetry of benefits.

I disagree with Blumenthal's assessment that this is a marketplace problem. It's a usability problem.

Usability of current EMRs is so terrible that physicians do not see a benefit over pen and paper. Think about it in terms of email—would you use email if it required you to write out the message by hand, scan it into a computer, and then took 4 days to deliver it? Absolutely not. Email provides tremendous advantages in terms of convenience and speed over traditional mail. Doctors are not seeing advantages with EMRS in their day-to-day work over paper records.

With better usability, physicians would be able to do their jobs more easily and efficiently, with the hope of spending more time with patients and less time doing paperwork. Adoption will go through the roof with EMRs that are truly useful for doctors.

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