Many reports have highlighted how a clinic can avail several benefits by adopting personal health record (PHR) systems. The electronic health records (EHRs) will provide a secure and private environment to patients to access, update and share their health information. At the same time, the systems will further make it easier for physicians to instantly access information about a patient’s health and medical history. Thus, they can provide more manage a patient’s record more efficiently, while reducing the chances of medical orders. However, there are several barriers that affect the ubiquitous adoption of health IT in a negative way.
7 Barriers that Affect the Ubiquitous Adoption of Health IT Systems
1) Required Training: A physician can avail many benefits by adopting health IT systems. But he needs to put some amount of time and effort to become familiar with the system, and implement it properly. At the same time, the physician must train his colleagues and staff about the features and capabilities of the system. But many physicians lack time to become familiar with an EHR system and avail all its features.
2) Initial Investment: Each clinic has to invest some amount of funds to create and support its own IT structure. However, it also has option to avail the health IT services from external vendors. The initial cost will include the expensed related to purchase, coordination, monitoring, upgrading and governance. The small and medium sized clinics often do not have adequate IT budgets. So the cost of IT health system adoption also impacts its ubiquitous adoption.
3) Level of Compute Skills Needed: Many physicians even find it difficult to use PHR systems in real time. Many system providers also develop complex systems to complement the varying needs of individual clinics. So along with the physician, his colleagues also need to possess the computer and typing skills required to listen to a patient’s complains, assess its medical relevancy, and type the details at a time. Also, the staff must be familiar with the EHR application interface to simultaneously perform several activities.
4) Cluttered and Restricted Workspaces: A clinic also requires adequate space and infrastructure to accommodate the computers. As the staff has to type the information while listening to the patient, it becomes essential to place the computer in private rooms. Further, the clinic has to decide the most appropriate location to place the server and other system. On the whole, the cluttered workspace and insufficient physical space can also affect the health IT adoption rate.
5) Complexity of the System: Each physician wants to pick an EHR system that complements its needs over a longer period of time. That is why; often physicians opt for complex systems that provide multiple screens and navigation options. The complex features, however, require physicians to learn the system completely to take notes while listening to a patient’s complains. But a number of surveys have highlighted that the physicians find it a daunting challenge to operate the HER system without disrupting the clinical encounter. Many physicians even stop using the system to optimize the clinical encounter.
6) Technical Support: Each clinic requires technical support to create and maintain an IT infrastructure. So it expects the vendor to provide constant support the initial days, and afterward. The support staff also needs to be helpful and knowledgeable enough to provide the required support without causing any delay. However, many physicians feel that the support staffs deployed by the vendors are not available 24 hours a day. The lack of technical support during holidays and off-hours also affects the health IT adoption rate.
7) Problem with Health IT Vendors: The lack of adequate training and technical support for external vendors also contribute towards ubiquitous adoption of health IT. Many physicians hesitate to adopt EHR systems due to the quality of EHR system vendors. As the products are relatively new in the marketplace, physicians often feel that they will incur losses by choosing systems provided by unreliable companies. The unreliable vendors will not further provide the service and support required to avail the benefits of EHR system in the longer run. So the vendors must take several initiatives to win the trust of clients, and encourage them to invest in health IT solutions.
The health IT system providers must address these issues to encourage more and more clinics to adopt health IT systems. At the same time, they must build web-based PHR systems to overcome the factors that divide health IT adoption.
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