Henry Ford Health System Decides Meaningful Use Not That Meaningful

The CMIO for inpatient services for Henry Ford Health System discusses the Michigan system's decision to hold off on applying for meaningful use funding in 2011, and what that means for its long-term vision of connecting clinical goals with IT support. April 15, 2011. Podcast running time: 3:58 (link to podcast).


“The clinician experience of delivering care has never been more complicated. Implementation and adoption of these Electronic Health Records seems to be to many people an end in itself—and that’s unfortunate.

The implementation and adoption of EHR is a means to an end and one of those ends is better patient care and another one is clinician efficiency or better and more effective care. And that part feels to me that it gets lower priority and gets overlooked for the sake of adoption and implementation especially now with the federal requirements coming on.

Now we must adopt, adopt, adopt. And the clinician experience is left behind. The complexity of being a physician is almost overwhelming both in the hospital and clinic setting and that’s one of my great concerns.”

- John Frownfelter, MD CMIO, Henry Ford Health System

Health IT in its present poorly usable form only makes being a clinician more overwhelming. As I wrote at "Meaningful Use Final Rule", meaningful use initiatives before "meaningful usability" has been achieved have put the cart before the horse.

Henry Ford, inventor of the assembly line, would probably have approved. An assembly line is appropriate for building identical widgets, but inappropriate for the implementation of health IT in the extremely complex, poorly bounded, conflicted, highly variable, uncertain, high-tempo work domain of hospitals, especially if the implementation is just for implementation's sake.

-- SS