Google is a company that likes to simplify tasks that used to be much bigger hassles, like reading maps, sharing documents, and finding old emails. Now, recognizing that health systems have not exactly jumped to help doctors with soul-crushing levels of daily data entry, Google wants to use speech recognition to help doctors get patient histories and plans into the electronic health record, or EHR.
Could we lose hundreds, perhaps thousands, of physicians to bad software?
I’ve written about doctors’ frustrations with software before, but recent studies have now linked electronic health records (EHR) to physician burnout. That means the software that runs billing and medical records and occupies doctors’ hands and eyes for much of the work day is a direct contributor to feelings of apathy toward patients and medicine, depressed or angry mood, cynicism and lack of feelings of accomplishment.
One big reason doctors and hospitals have adopted EHRs is money. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 authorized Medicare to pay sizable annual payouts – up to $18,000 in the first year – to doctors who start using EHR systems.