The rush to convert the nation's medical practices and hospitals to electronic medical records seemed well intentioned, but it left emergency physicians struggling with a morass of EMRs with user interfaces that are so deplorable that patients would be consoling us if they were ever to see the interface with which we have to wrestle.
Alas, the people who decide which EMR to implement for their hospital rarely have to document a single chart themselves. But that is not the only root cause of the interface disaster. The massive cost and complexity of rolling out any EMR hospital-wide makes switching EMRs the purview of only the most bold and daring hospital CEOs.
Many of us have managed this technology debacle by hiring scribes to be our interface while others just go home and silently curse the EMR under their breath. The most frustrated have left medicine altogether. To our rescue comes a group of health care technology visionaries who understand the toll of the interface disaster and the impracticality of hoping any hospital will switch its EMR. Their great innovation is to create a new interface on top of your existing EMR. Genius.
Carl Spitzer, MD, and Craig Rosenberg, PhD, head a startup called Healium, which has created a modern and simple interface for emergency physicians that runs on mobile devices and Google Glass, and this interface just layers on top of most any EMR you are currently running in your department. Whether it's documenting a note or putting in orders, your documentation and orders are sent through whatever underlying EMR your hospital has so judiciously chosen for you.
But their software doesn't end there. Healium is reimagining the physician-patient interaction, and can push your context-sensitive critical information. Imagine walking into a patient's room with Google Glass connected to Healium, and immediately seeing the patient's triage note, vital signs, and allergies without having to hunt for these data. Imagine then ordering your tests by simply stating out loud, “Order chest pain order set,” and going to the next patient. This is just a glimpse of the brilliance and power of their technology.
I hope that Drs. Spitzer and Rosenberg are just the first of many innovators to see the opportunity in this approach. I am very excited for their future.
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