AMDIS: 'Healthcare is already disrupted'

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 - William F. Bria, MD
William F. Bria, MD

BOSTON—“If you’re not feeling disruption in healthcare, you’re not reading the newspaper,” said William F. Bria, MD, MBA, speaking at the AMDIS Fall Symposium. Bria is the president of the association.

The healthcare system is out of balance, Bria said, and already disrupted.

Patients are the most important key to reattaining balance, Bria said. But, all the benefits EHRs were supposed to produce are questionable at best. “Going paperless is probably overrated.” He cited a Deloitte survey on physician opinions of health IT. Only 56 percent feel that EHRs offer practice workflow efficiency increases.

“If you were expecting massive changes, unfortunately, at least at this juncture, we’re still hopeful but we’re not seeing the balance we want,” Bria said.

The tradition of primary care is disappearing, he said, but the American public still needs it. The field is in recession but the industry is talking about “replacing it, augmenting it and rewiring it so the necessary connections occur.”

The economics make it clear that we can’t afford “more is better” healthcare, Bria said. “Technology is more available than ever but integration still eludes us. The conflict between the business of healthcare and the provision of care rages on but business usually wins. Quality issues versus business issues remains a devil’s edge.”

Health IT has yet to help improve the healthcare industry for several reasons, Bria said. “There is a steep ramp to acquire and integrate the necessary health IT systems to provide real value and we’re not done yet.” The industry also is too focused on business and not on providing evidence-based care. “The center of attention for health IT implementation is still hospital centric, which is not where our patients are or want to be. The center of healthcare is not the patient and the family and it must be if we’re going to succeed.”

Clinicians also need to catch up to consumers, Bria said. He cited a survey that found that one in 10 patients believe that, if not for accessibility to web-based health information, they might already be dead or severely incapacitated. More than two in five Americans are familiar with websites that allow one to check health symptoms and are comfortable using these websites. “We need to deal with this as part of our care.”