Issues in medical office automation (PDF)

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Few physicians will doubt that information technology can potentially improve the operations of their practices and the quality of care they provide their patients. Progress in the development of clinical information systems has opened up even more avenues for physicians to improve their productivity, perform efficient operations, and increase their competitiveness and profitability. However, despite its benefits many physicians are yet to automate their practices. Indeed, the healthcare industry as a whole lags behind other information-intensive industries in embracing IT.

With physicians, various interest groups and the public increasingly averse to medical errors and  patients keener to be more actively involved in their treatment, clinical information systems are likely to be increasingly utilized. However, for physicians to use computer systems more and be able to make informed choices regarding which to acquire in order to improve their medical practices, they need to be aware of the evolution of new computer solutions, and the many salient technical, clinical, and other issues currently relevant to computerizing the medical office. This paper explores some of these issues, discusses recent advances in relevant IT, and suggests ways to improve current medical office automation practices.