From time to time I review old articles about health IT via Google and other search engines.
Found this analysis/prediction/statement of confidence, by a research analyst at IT consultant company Gartner Group. Emphasis mine:
by Brian Burke | April 17, 2009 | 1 Comment
In an open letter blog to President Obama, Burton Group Senior Analyst Joe Bugajski opines that President Obama is spewing “delusional visions of a nation-covering, interoperable, secure, private, reliable, accurate, and instantaneous electronic healthcare data network is at best terrifying and at worst pernicious.” OK – I had to look up ‘pernicious’. It’s not good.
Mr. Bugajski goes on to relate a horrifying personal experience in which he ended up in a clinic and then a hospital that both used electronic health records. He relates the story of his stay in which electronic health records hindered rather than helped and concludes that most health care professionals “longed for handwritten charts hanging at the foot of every patient’s bed.” While I don’t doubt his experience, and I disagree that building a national health information network is an unsound idea.
In fact, the National Health Services (NHS) in the UK is several years into its ‘Connecting for Health‘ program and has already built a nation-covering, interoperable, secure, private, reliable, accurate, and instantaneous electronic healthcare data network. The UK is reaping the benefits of improved treatment and cost savings. You can read additional background in my research note, Toolkit: Enterprise Architecture for the U.K.’s National Health Service (Case Study)
Mr. Bugajski is correct that the initiative will be large and costly and I also agree that the US government should approach the program with caution. But the benefits are enormous – it’s about saving lives! While I sympathize with Mr. Bugajski’s unfortunate experience, I believe moving forward on this initiative is truly one of the bright spots in President Obama’s stimulus plan.
Problem is, the NHS program to build a "nation-covering, interoperable, secure, private, reliable, accurate, and instantaneous electronic healthcare data network" failed, as I wrote at my Sept. 2011 post "NPfIT Programme goes PfffT."
The success of this program was long in doubt, as expressed by the UK's own House of Commons public accounts (audit) committee as here, published 27 Jan 2009 (four months before the optimistic Gartner piece) entitled "The National Programme for IT in the NHS: Progress since 2006 - Public Accounts Committee."
In fact, I had been writing skeptically about that program for years, including at this query link and at my academic site.
I don't fear progress.
What I fear is cybernetic hyper-enthusiasm masquerading as progress, especially when it wastes money - in this case conservatively estimated at £12.7bn - and harms patients.