There have been a lot of articles on the internet and in other medical publications discussing the benefits of adopting for technological advances in health care.  Of course, there are also the incentives provided by the federal government for adoption of EMR systems, use of electronic prescriptions, etc.  And yet, according to a recent article on Medscape.com, we are not seeing the use of these technologies being widely adopted.  In fact, only 1.7% of hospitals have an electronic system operating in all their units.

Reasons for the slow adoption are many, including costs of implementation, lack of knowledge, and lack of infrastructure for information sharing in many areas of the country.  These infrastructures will be time-consuming and costly to establish, and doctors will need to be trained on how to use the new technologies.  Recently a grant was established to help fund a network of support centers designed to help smaller practices select and implement electronic systems.

Many of the incentives are slated to phase out in 2014, so 2011-2013 will be the best years to cash in on them.  Which means that many doctors offices and hospitals are going to need to get busy learning about and selecting a system that works for them.  Hopefully these support centers will aid in that endeavour.  But doctors must first agree in the importance of implementing technologies – and I would venture to say there are probably many, especially smaller practices in rural areas, that just don’t see it as that important.  What do you think?

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