According to Ben Franklin, John Adams, or someone else (I could not find a reliable source), “Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.” This bodes well for clinical care software because the number of complaints about current EHR systems grows louder each day. We know the problems: poor usability, lack of workflow support, reporting difficulties, decreased productivity, to name a few. How can these problems be turned into opportunities?
Obviously, solving these problems by designing better software offers an opportunity for software sales; however, I think there is more to it than that. Current EHR products grew out of a particular mindset and way of thinking about software and sales, and that mindset, I believe, has a lot to do with the problems EHR users voice.
When computers were new, they were sold primarily to businesses. The advent of the PC turned computers into consumer products. However, software and computer sales to businesses continued as they always had, which I think contributes to the issues small independent practices have with selection and implementation. Here is an example of what I mean. I have been buying software since I bought my first computer. This was always a straightforward process: find the software, pay for it, done. I remember my bewilderment while at UAB when I wanted to buy statistical software that had data mining algorithms. Since I was at the university, I was told I had to buy it through the university sales channel. I wanted a single copy. I could never find a salesman who would give me a price or tell me how to buy a single copy. I called the local, regional, and finally the national sales office. After a few weeks, I gave up. I never got the software, or even a price. What I did get were repeated promises that a sales rep would call.