Tuesday, March 08, 2005

"We Fear to Inform the IT Emperor That Some of His Clothes are Missing"

After hearing a friend of mine rant about how guys in suits are trying to stuff the latest and greatest electronic health record (EHR) down her throat, without concern about the costs she will have to bear, without concern about whether the EHR will decrease or increase her work-load, and without any clear data that the EHR will improve her patient care...
Here are some great quotes from a commentary in the Times (UK) on putting too much trust in information technology (IT). This was not specifically about health care, but was certainly applicable to it.
  • "We are over-reliant on databases, over-optimistic about the electronic age. We do not learn from disappointment: we kid ourselves that every task can be not only eased but replaced by new technology. We turn tools into tyrants. We fear to inform the IT emperor that some his clothes are missing."
  • Per the British Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, on the National Child Database, which was meant to record education and health information about every child in England and Wales, "it increases the size of the haystack when hunting for a needle."
  • "Ministers - gliding around in chauffeured cars, seeing everything through a filter of paperwork - get distanced from the muddy facts of life. They are seduced by salesmen's PowerPoint, and trustfully plunge into computerised projects without even the basic prudence to set tough penalties if the magic doesn't work."
  • "It is not computer technology itself which is to blame. What does the damage is ministerial ignorance and the nervous desire to be 'modern,' which leads to blind faith in IT and superstitious reverence for its providers. What is dangerous is the erroneous conviction (common to many of us) that once you've made an electronic list you've done the job. You haven't."

1 comment:

InformaticsMD said...

Clinical IT expertise (a.k.a. cross-training in Medical Informatics) helps too.