March 20, 2012, 4:03 PM — In 2009, when the Obama administration signed the $800 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) into law, it also signed the death warrant for hard-core luddites within the power structure of U.S. healthcare.
Though it was primarily aimed at stimulating the recessed economy, ARRA gave $27 billion to the U.S. healthcare industry to fund a large-scale conversion from a 19th-century management structure that depended on paper records and couriers to one that requires patient records be kept, transmitted and stored electronically.
The funding came with specific requirements and deadlines designed to ensure everything from giant hospital conglomerates to local doctors' offices had an upgrade path, a set of goals and deadlines to hit and financial penalties for not modernizing quickly enough.
Evidently it didn't clear away the Luddite attitude that kept medical records in the Dickensian era, or the tendency of those with ulterior motives to fan the embers of anti-technological resentment.
Anoto – a Swedish company that sells digital pen-and-paper systems aimed at doctors who wish the whole PC thing never happened – today released results of a survey of healthcare workers implying that the counterrevolutionary opinions of end users prove the healthcare industry doesn't need to be modernized.
Specifically, according to the survey, wholesale conversion from paper records to digital is unnecessary because:
Paper is King:
- Paper records are too important to the existing culture and workflow;
- Technology to replace paper is too expensive;
- Switching requires too much training because all anyone knows how to use is paper.
Anoto's survey has numbers to back up the conclusions, of course: