The HIT Productivity Paradox - Cover

The HIT Productivity Paradox

Recently, my wife and I switched from a bank to a credit union. The credit union we moved to was in the middle of a large overhaul of their mobile app/online system. Their new system would allegedly add function, ease of use, and save us as users countless time/travel to their offices.

What we’ve gotten instead are hour-long wait times with their customer service line because certain “cutting-edge features” aren’t working properly. Between retraining their entire staff on the system and teaching their customers to adjust as well – their “time saving, next-generation solution” seems to only have caused a sharp drop off in my ability to conduct my personal finances with ease.

This, I’m sure, only sounds too familiar in the world of Healthcare IT. It’s something called the Productivity Paradox. As Robert Solow said back in 1987, "You see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics." Starting as far back as the 1970s industries began to see that as investment into IT increased, productivity decreased in response.

As Meaningful Use and other government initiatives worldwide have pushed EMRs and other HIT solutions into the forefront of buying decisions, healthcare now faces its own version of this same paradox.

Last week I was speaking with the CIO of a larger hospital. When I asked him about how the end-users felt about their expensive, purportedly top-of-the-line EMR his response was, “What’s that old saying? It’s the cream of the crap.” While I may not have put it quite so colorfully, his comment - made in jest - highlights a common concern plaguing the healthcare industry today.

Organizations are spending collectively billions of dollars (both in cost and labor) to install the latest and greatest in healthcare tech. Yet, as other industries have seen; productivity is rarely taking great leaps forward and in some cases, it’s being set back.

At KLAS, we’re always on the lookout for problems in the industry that we can play a part in solving. Which is why at the end of 2016, we began work on our EMR Improvement Collaborative. In an effort to help organizations improve the usability and physician satisfaction of their EMRs, we’ve put this collaborative together for providers.

While our EMR Improvement Collaborative is still in its early stages, preliminary data has been enlightening. For example, we are finding that there is not a correlation between efficiency and satisfaction. Insights like this, along with the benchmarking data we’ve started to gather, are worth consideration by any provider organization that’s looking for ways to improve their EMR experience.

At the heart of this initiative is a desire to help healthcare organizations import best practices from their peers and benchmark the status of their EMR acceptance and satisfaction. The outcome we hope for is better delivery of patient care from happier clinicians.

Participating organizations send out an EMR satisfaction survey to their end-users, once completed KLAS analyzes the data to pull out benchmarks, user sentiment, key pain points and other insights that organizations can turn into actionable improvements. As with our work at KLAS as a whole, we hope the EMR Improvement Collaborative will help healthcare become better, by allowing providers to get the most out of their heavy investments into HIT.

If you are a healthcare provider and would like to learn more, please contact Taylor Davis at

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