So I wrote a quick post yesterday, expressing my frustration with health information technology. I've been developing health IT applications for a decade, and published papers that provide evidence that they improve care in ways that people care about. None of these applications, however, have passed into routine care. I used to think that this was simply a function of my lack of entrepreurial skills. Talking with peers, however, I have found that many other scientists -- including some truly great ones -- have had little success in getting their technology adopted, even by the hospitals they work for. So what's wrong with this technology? If it really helps, why aren't more providers adopting it?
But Aaron Carroll's post today on physician practices pointed out something that I didn't know. The figure to the right is from his blog (and I believe he got if from the Commonwealth Foundation), and it shows that the US -- and Canada -- is behind much of the developed world in the adoption of health IT in primary care settings. So in these countries, primary care providers are adopting health IT. So maybe the right question is: What's wrong with US primary care?
Widespread adoption of health IT in primary care in other countries doesn't necessarily mean that health IT is actually improving health in those countries. However, those countries may be the right place to look if one wants to determine what works and what doesn't.