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Why has EHR Design not kept up with the times?

The pace of technological advancements in the health IT industry has accelerated over the last decade. However in spite of numerous innovations in security, privacy and interface models, many clinicians continue to complain about poorly designed EHRs and a general lack of usability when it comes to medical software.


Vendors may argue vociferously against such complaints and point to the considerable difference between today’s software and earlier, first-generation systems. Nevertheless, you only need to take a look at the gaming or mobile industry to see the vast gulf that separates EHRs from other software. Mobile apps and video games make intuitive sense to even new users and few people would need to read a manual or undergo training sessions to start using them. That is certainly not the case with EHRs today.


The reasons behind this disparity are many. Dental EHR design is complicated by numerous other factors such as the need to comply with federal regulations and laws, to have control over the level of access by various users, and to prevent unauthorized access etc. that developers in other industries do not have to bother with. Federal and state-level programs that mandate the inclusion of certain features mean that developers cannot afford to prioritize design at the expense of government compliance.


In addition, vendors have limited resources (capital, time and developers) and must decide where to deploy them. It is not surprising that most providers attempt to prioritize adding more features rather than usability or interface design. It is easy to justify charging extra or raising prices for the former but good design is generally regarded as ‘inessential’ and dental EHR providers assume that they will find it hard to convince customers to pay for well-designed and usable software products.


Another reason might be the fact that both hospitals/clinics/dental clinics and EHR vendors tend to hire programmers with healthcare experience. This common practice – although partly justified – not only limits the pool of talented IT professionals but also prevents the infusion of fresh perspectives. Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out obvious disparities which cannot be seen by those who have spent decades within the same industry.


With increasing EHR adoption, it is becoming clear that clinics are willing to pay for well-designed systems that are easy to use by employees. That is why Dovetail EDR was developed by a team of talented developers in collaboration with doctors who are the primary users. Dovetail incorporates cloud technology to make our system accessible from the same devices that employees are already using. This means your clinic can get started immediately without endless training sessions or boring seminars.