Impact of Informatics as a Patient

Lorren PettitSomething weird happened to me shortly after I turned 49 just a few weeks ago; I learned what it meant to have a significant health issue. And my diagnosis came within weeks of my wife experiencing her own significant health issue. The news was surprising to say the least as both my wife and I lead active lives. Heck, up until a few weeks ago, I cycled 10 miles 5 to 6 times a week and played in a men's recreational hockey league. Yet, here I sit in another physician office... waiting.

As one who has spent his entire career in the administrative and academic side of the healthcare industry, I’ve gained a whole new perspective on the delivery of care as a patient/caregiver. And I've been around the block enough times to know I’m not the first one in my situation to express the same sentiment. But it’s true. While we do a lot of things right in healthcare, there are so many things we could improve.

Being a healthcare IT researcher, I’ve been very aware of how the healthcare workers I encountered used technology. For me, the jury is still out on how well healthcare workers use the technologies in their practice. Some workers appeared to be very comfortable in using the technologies. They explained what they were doing when entering data into the computer, and were able maintain eye contact at appropriate times. These workers balanced the high-tech with the high-touch and as a result I found myself considering them the most competent providers in my care. Other workers appeared to fumble with the computer screen and were not reluctant to share with me their frustrations with the EHR.

Believe me I understand the frustrations some care workers have with the EHR. I’ve conducted enough research on the EHR to know we have not yet reached the “HIT Promised Land,” but please don’t bring your EHR frustrations on stage with you when treating me. I have enough concerns of my own and it’s hard to empathize with your “trivial” technology issues when compared to the obstacles I have yet to overcome.   

About the Contributor
Lorren Pettit is Vice President of Market Research for HIMSS Analytics. He works with an expert team offering clients strategic guidance toward achieving sustainable growth and market leadership positioning.