TECHNOLGY: Too much of a good thing?

Walking the floor at the TEPR show this week brought home the wonders
of electronic medical records. The show had a multitude of
presentations on EMR use, but more than 35 years after the first EMRs
were developed we’re still early in the adoption cycle. Most
presentations were about fairly small-scale case studies. But despite
the exit of hundreds of firms from the EMR and practice management
market, and the slow emergence of several dominant players, there are
still plenty of new entrepreneurial companies with booths — and not
all small ones — out on the exhibit floor. Many of these companies
have new EMR technology that, while it may be more advanced, doesn’t
look that dissimilar to those on show a few years back.  What they lack
is a customer base. But as the legacy players in practice management
and small hospital IT systems have shown, in health care getting into
the market is relatively cheap and you don’t need that big a customer
base to anchor a business.

One of the major problems in physician
adoption of technology is the lack of familiarity with a few trusted
brands, and the insistence on doing everything differently than the
practice or hospital down the street. The sheer number of vendors
willing to support that demand for "doing it different", including
those based on software from physicians who claimed that "what was on
the market didn’t meet their needs", means that we’re a long way from
getting to the status of other industries where everyone is comfortable
with using a few widely known applications.  This might be a case where
we have just too much good old American ingenuity.

Having said that, I saw some interesting products and there are some interesting new developments that I’ll comment on later….

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amberBillHarish KapoorStephanieblog health care Recent comment authors
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i do not understand a damn thing….is technological advancemnts a good thing or not?


I am trying to put together a site focused on simplifying IT for especially the small to mid sized medical offcie. You are welcome to go there and post questions and look through the library if you would like.
The site is:
It is still being built but with visitors help in addressing the issues we can all help build it together.


I’m an orthopaedic surgeon in my 10th year of practice. My colleagues and I would be thrilled to increase our productivity and revenues, but we need reliable help comprehending IT. Please understand that our minds are focused on the pathophysiology of the individual in our exam room–I certainly didn’t expect to be swept up in this IT thing! (while about 1000 other major policy declarations were begging for my attention.) I think there are many parallels between the practice of medicine and IT. Patients are frustrated when doctors use technical jargon, they are just handed a prescription, or they feel… Read more »

Harish Kapoor

I also just came back from TEPR 2005 at Salt Lake in UT. It was interesting to see EMR revolution taking place. Doctors teaching Doctors – how they can increase their productivity and and increase their revenues. I spoke to several experts, and concluded that if there is any one who can revive the healthcare in this country is, 1. media & consumers together – 2.not the govt or the physicians and or providers. Second group is controlled by the lobbyst and the special interest. Consumers need to take charge of their health, and flex their muscles with the second… Read more »


Getting back to the “major problems in physician adoption of technology” in the original post: The real obstacle has been the concurrent arrival of crap like HIPAA, predatory shenanigans by the insurance companies, and disintegration of hospital infrastructure that’s diverted our attention. There’s not much energy left to invest in a major transition like EMR.
Government and profiteers all want a piece of the “healthcare” pie–and they all tried to grab it at the same time. Our practice has been using EMR for almost 2 years, but it’s been a challenge.

blog health care

“That’s basically the dot com effect isn’t it?
Somebody has a good idea, and a thousand competitors jump on the old bandwagon offering nearly identical products.”
That’s business as a whole but I completely agree with your post.


Cerner was one of the final three EMRs considered by Kaiser. I included a bit about it in my CTO Newsletter. I remember the CTO called the article “rumor control” because there was a relatively short period of time between when Halvorson dropped the in-house EMR and when he selected the vendor. On the subject of rumors, I knew about Halvorson’s interest in the EMR before anyone the department, including the Director who was responsible for filtering down such information. I read several of Halvorson’s speeches in which he alluded to the importance of an “AMR” (Automated Medical Record –… Read more »


It’s not just the question of whether a necessary public service with theoretically universal standards should be embracing Branding. The technology sector gets away with murder because it claims to be the vanguard of Innovation. Technology workers with no discretionary authority were made exempt employees to protect Innovation. The Internet and new networking technologies have their own arena of law because it’s regarded as a venue for Innovation. Lobbyists swarm Capitol Hill in hopes of scoring fat government handouts for Innovation. Pharma claims all sorts of privilege in the name of Innovation. Technology, like health care, should be treated as… Read more »


Cerner just inked a deal to provide EMR to all of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee (2.8 million commercial and TennCare members), plus allow the Blues to market it to competitors in Tennessee. I read about it in the Business Journal of Kansas City. Here’s the link:
Looks like Cerner wants to break out of the mold of doing onesies and twosies.

John P.
John P.

That’s basically the dot com effect isn’t it?
Somebody has a good idea, and a thousand competitors jump on the old bandwagon offering nearly identical products.
Result: the market is flooded and customers become jaded.
Too bad there aren’t any economists out there offering theories about what happens when markets become confused and depressed.