By Sheryl J. Cherico, CEO

What is going on with Healthcare?

Has Healthcare IT progressed in the last 4 years? Every once in a while, I like to sit back and reflect on things. It sometimes amazes me how much things change, and how quickly they change. Think about you life, and where you were last year, and where you are this year? Do you have a new home? New job? New baby? New car? New friend? And on an on. In short…things change all the time.

Today, I am reflecting on the healthcare IT industry. Has it changed? Life everything else, yes! For me, the change is what keeps me going. I LOVE the changes, and the faster the changes, the better. It seems IT people like myself almost require change, because status quo is boring! I need the constant change and excitement of IT. That’s why I chose IT as a career path in the first place. I need the change.

Let’s take a look at healthcare pre-2010. It was at that time we really started to understand that healthcare was “broken”. (maybe even sooner) Measures were being discussed to make changes, including incentives to make sure the changes happened. Four years later, we are still providing incentives, however the plan never really developed like it should. Doctors have implemented electronic health records…but where is the sharing? Where is the “universal” sharing the EMR players were supposed to provide? Isn’t that part of what being certified meant? Isn’t that part of the plan for meaningful use?

It is my opinion the government made a promise the EMR vendors are forced to keep. And guess what…they don’t want too. They don’t want to make it easy for practices and patients to leave their product. They don’t want an easy export into a competitors system.

So have we progressed in the last 4 years? I think we have, but I am not sure the progression has made as much of a difference as expected. I agree with doctors going electronic. I think going electronic has made amazing differences in the way the doctors see patients, with most of those being positive. Was there a great cost to the doctors…yes, but I think it was inevitable and making the change was going to happen, like it or not. I know there are doctors that totally despise electronic medical records, but there are many that absolutely love it, and wouldn’t change.

Another way we have progressed in healthcare IT is the cloud. The cloud alone has made amazing differences in healthcare IT. To think you could have an electronic medical record in your office without the expense of securing an infrastructure is a truly underestimated gift to the healthcare industry. The security of hosted facilities, and the ability to securely access your patient records from anywhere in the world at any time, is a change that is not to be unacknowledged. This is the best change I have seen in the 25+ years that I have been working in healthcare. The prices have come down, so it is affordable, and with all the HIPAA concerns, it is the most reliable, safest and most efficient way to serve up your important data.

Although we have progressed in the last 4 years, the changes have not been as significant as I thought. At this point 4 years ago, I would have told you that we were much closer than we are to sharing healthcare information, and advancing our studies by producing numerous, accurate outcomes. I have not seen that happen yet. BUT…I am not giving up hope!


Sheryl Cherico is the CEO of Tier3MD, and IT support group for medical practices.