Medical technology has advanced by leaps and bounds throughout the course of human history. Ever since the start of the digital age, with the flow of information allowing for more cohesive and united developmental research, healthcare technology, from mechanical surgeons to mobile medical apps, is gearing to change the medical landscape in the coming decades. However, while technology continues to play an important role in the practice of medicine, performing work that greatly assists in the diagnosis of patients, defects and clerical issues can plague these devices and programs, potentially jeopardizing the lives of patients. The electronic health record (EHR), the most widely-used piece of healthcare technology, is one such example,
The Potential for Fraud
In 2015, the US Government filed a lawsuit against eClinicalWorks, an EHR company after a whistleblower revealed several issues and defects in their electronic health record software. While eCW settled by paying $155 million, they denied any sort of malpractice. Other EHR companies, such as Epic Systems Corp, have also gone under scrutiny for problems in the software that they provide to physicians. Considering the amount of money in subsidies provided for the installation of appropriate EHRs in hospitals, it is unfortunate how this might have incentivized EHR companies to provide less ideal products for the sake of a quick profit.
Issues of Interaction
Aside from the capacity for fraud, electronic health records might also exacerbate physician burnout, with the clerical work required increasing the chance of exhaustion. Data inputting also risks alienating the patient, as the clerical time demanded by the EHR reduces time spent on physician-patient interaction. While medical data is being processed and analyzed, the recipient of such care might not feel cared for.
Inter-EHR operability is also another issue, as data sharing between different EHRs can be difficult owing to their different developers. Such EHR vendors might also be hesitant to let risk their product’s profit margin. In the wake of these varying health record operations, an outlier product might be capable of fighting the deficiency of EHR interoperability. Sync MD is a medical app capable of operating outside the electronic health record’s restrictive and problematic scope of influence. The SyncMD app allows patients to scan their medical records, which they can then give their physicians quickly and efficiently, bypassing any inter-system complications.
While electronic health records are prevalent and useful for the practice of modern medicine, it is not without its faults. Issues of compatibility, patient alienation, and clerical issues from vendor malpractice plague these medical software, and pose a risk to patient health and physician integrity. Medical technology has achieved so much over the years, so imagining an improvement over today’s EHRs is not too far-fetched.