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July 3, 2018

Resolving the Productivity Paradox of Health Information Technology: A Time for Optimism

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2Google, LLC, Mountain View, California
JAMA. 2018;320(1):25-26. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.5605

During the past decade, the US health care system has gone digital. In 2008, fewer than 1 in 10 US hospitals had an electronic health record (EHR) system; today, fewer than 1 in 10 does not. The increase in use of an EHR system in ambulatory practices has been similarly steep.

Although the evidence that health care digitization has led to improvements in quality and safety is generally positive,1 these have been context-dependent improvements and relatively small. Moreover, rates of physician self-reported burnout are high, partly because little useful intelligence is delivered back to physicians despite all their time spent performing data entry. In addition, the presence of the computer often separates the physician from the patient, rather than enhancing communication.

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