Article Date: 1/1/2011

Time for a Study of Procrastination?
tech time

Time for a Study of Procrastination?

Maybe it will explain why so many are reluctant to implement EHR.

Scot Morris, O.D., F.A.A.O.

I was reflecting about a few of my talks at Vision Expo West in Las Vegas, and it hit me: Procrastination is a method of survival. Granted, it is a really poor and ineffective model, but it still exists. If you are a Darwinist, then you have to believe there is a reason for procrastination's survival.

Why am I so interested in the practice of putting things off? Let me set up the story. At Vision Expo, I spoke to an audience of about 420 people during a presentation on electronic health records (EHR) implementation. There were a grand total of three other people who actually utilized EHR in their office, aside from me. By EHR, I mean that they managed their practice with a practice management system and utilized the electronic medical records systems as well. I didn't even specify whether they were “meaningful users,” that is, those who were actively using e-prescribing, Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI), etc., because I knew the overall numbers would have been much lower.

Time to regroup

I have to admit that when I took this poll of the room I was really taken aback by the sheer number of people still operating with paper or a limited use of EHR. It took me a minute or two to regroup and think about how do we move a market — or maybe more correctly, a profession — toward a goal that they evidently are very resistant to?

As usual, the best place to start is with the obvious. What is the resistance to EHR, and is there any validity to these issues? Undoubtedly, in every practice there are great reasons for holding off or moving forward when it comes to the adaption and implementation of medical and business technology. That being said, I think medicine, in general, needs a wake-up call to get in touch with the rest of the global business world.

Think about it. When was the last time you walked into a bank where the teller pulled out a paper ledger to check your account balance? Or, what did you do with the paper credit card voucher that the gas station attendant gave you — you know, the full-service guy that filled your tank and cleaned your windshield for free?

To change the medical industry and the various subsections of the medical profession, we all need to face the realistic challenges that are posed to our population, the healthcare system and the individual businesses head on and with great energy. Better, said — the status quo needs to go.

Honestly, you tell me

So now I ask you, the reader. Instead of me telling you something — I want to hear (or in this case read) something from you. Please e-mail me at, or Facebook me at Ocular Technology Solutions, and tell me the reasons you've been hesitant to integrate EHR, diagnostic or business intelligence technology into your office. Through the next few months, I want to focus this column on these concerns and present concise and convincing arguments for or against your comments.

Let's have an open and honest debate about the realities of technology and how they impact our profession, our practices and our lives. Please contribute your thoughts, and stay tuned for mine. OM


Optometric Management, Issue: January 2011