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5 Frustrations Physicians Have with Digital Health Technology

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Todd Hixon over at Forbes writes about the frustrations many physicians have with digital healthcare, and it’s not necessarily because they’re resistant to new technology.

“A large-scale survey of U.S. doctors conducted by Decision Resources Group tells us that doctors are using digital tools and willing to receive data feeds from their customers, but they are quite frustrated by poor usability of digital healthcare tools and difficulty getting measurable results,” Hixon writes.

Physicians see the potential in new technology and they see how it could make their jobs easier, but, Hixon continues, they keep asking the same question about the current state of digital healthcare: Where’s the value?

Much of their dissatisfaction revolves around EHRs and patient portals. According to Hixon, they specifically register five primary complaints about this technology.

Quoting the author, these complaints are:

1. EHRs are typically hard to use. Many doctors… complain of spending several extra hours each day entering data to EHRs.

2. EHRs are often local, island systems that do not provide access to other clinical resources, so doctors need to use multiple systems.

3. Patient portals are often a dismal experience. HIPAA has motivated administrators to mandate defensive designs that are often so inconvenient for patients that they are seldom used…

4. Doctors feel they have tons of data available to them, but few tools to use it to make intelligent and timely decisions.

5. How to use digital health technology to help people who do not care for themselves but do not yet show symptoms of chronic disease is a huge unsolved problem.

Hixon concludes by writing, “Digital technology offers a river of new data with potential clinical value, but much of it is not usable. Doctors say that 85 percent of their patients simply do not comply with medical advice. Patients are increasingly cranky: they know more, demand more transparency, and are less satisfied. Expectations of doctors’ ability to deliver value are rising. Rising doctor frustration makes sense to me.”

As physicians who are looking for jobs, do the above frustrations reflect your experience with digital health technology? On a job interview, which questions would you ask about their patient portal to help you determine the value you would glean from it?

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