The author of this recently published commentary wonders how it is that car dealerships, and even restaurant waiters have gotten the jump on the health care industry in making use of handheld computer technology.   While those folks can wirelessly check your car’s repair history or fire your chimichanga and Corona order out to the kitchen with the flick of a finger, hospitals seem mired in 70’s technology, characterized by obsolete software and clunky, slow, and unfriendly PC networks which seem at times to be designed to obstruct rather than facilitate.  I have to enter multiple passwords just to check a lab result.   I get endless spam from the hospital’s internal messaging system about things that don’t concern me in the slightest.  I can’t adjust the size of windows on my screen.  I can’t even print a graph of a particular lab value’s change over time.

Why is this?

Good question.

I believe physician complacency is the problem.  We are offered a system that works just well enough to avoid an outright revolt by the users.  A few people complain, but they soon tire of banging their heads against the wall, and give up.  We are all too busy just trying to cope with the demands of patient care to take the time to learn what could be, let alone to agitate for wholesale changes to our hospital’s outmoded systems.  So we just take what is handed to us and keep our mouths shut.

We need a recipe for change.

No lemons, please.




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