Why Doctors Still Use Pen and Paper

Earlier this month in the Atlantic magazine, an interview with David Blumenthal was published where he discussed the challenges in getting the American healthcare system modernized.  The article sparked some debate amongst the medical community and provoked some interesting questions for all of us in the information management arena.

Think about your work environment and attempts to modernize processes there.  Sometimes these upgrades go well and the benefits are so obvious that everyone jumps on board and embraces the updated system without looking back.  But in other cases, the new technology or solution is not so readily adopted, whether it be due to economical issues, complexity or a lack of understanding about the benefits.

the healthcare issue in America is a classic example of a technological solution that faces significant business and cultural hurdles. One of the doctors that replied stated, "There is a very American tendency to look for technological fixes for significant problems.  In general, technological fixes only work in the context of appropriate institutional structures."

What institutional structures exist in your environment that keep your business from modernizing?  The next time you visit the doctor and he or she pulls out a clipboard and starts filling out a paper form about your health, consider what your company does that is analogous to this behavior.  Does it make sense to modernize and go digital? If you did, would this change in approach be readily adopted?

In healthcare solutions, as with almost every other technical solution out there, it all comes down to the "Digital Experience" provided to the users.  If they can see the benefits in an obvious fashion and the software is pleasing to use from any device, they will come running. We hope the next technological advancement in your organization is a great success!

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