State of the Industry survey results
Dr. Schmuland, however, sees the current focus on the adoption of EMRs and health information exchanges as only one step toward true health reform.
"We have to keep in mind that technology is a powerful tool, but should never be the end-goal," he says. "Rather, we need to focus on innovative solutions designed to meet goals such as improving population health, quality of care and reducing chronic disease, while rewarding physicians and hospitals for improving health and outcomes. If we limit our focus to one type of technology solution, we may end up doing little more than automating the current set up rather than [creating] a healthier and more productive nation."
"Rather than asking the question, 'How can we stimulate adoption of EMRs and health information exchanges?' payers, providers and government leaders should be asking what are the technology tools we need to actually improve health and outcomes at a lower cost per capita," he says.
While they certainly have a place in the industry, EMR systems cannot solve the healthcare crisis alone, Dr. Schmuland says.
"There is clearly value in EMRs in relation to reducing duplicate tests and medical errors, as well as measuring and analyzing clinical effectiveness," he says. "But they can only do so much given the current state of our healthcare system."
It's estimated that only 2% to 4% of hospitals have true digital systems with another 15% operating with some digital environments. Physician practices are still largely paper-based.