A National Strategy For EMR’s
Edward Livingston, MD.
Deputy Editor, The Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA)
Speaking Time: 12:50pm-13:25pm, 18-Feb-17 (Saturday)
Speaking Location: Ballrom-D
During the past decade, great pressure was applied to physicians to convert from paper to electronic medical records. Housing patient information in electronic databases conferred substantial advantages since it was all too common to not have a medical record available when seeing patients. Digitizing medical information overcame this limitation but created new problems unanticipated by advocates of EMRs-problems that are serious enough that clinician moral is at an all-time low. Many clinicians perceive that the disadvantages of current EMR systems override any benefits they had.
Implementing EMRs nationally had the potential to greatly improve medical care. To recover the lost opportunity, there should be a national strategy to develop a common EMR for all medical care, a project that would be on par with the development of the national highway system in the 1950’s and the space program of the 1960s. By having a single EMR, information would seamlessly transfer between clinicians and patients. It would enable researchers to definitively investigate clinical outcomes for various drugs and interventions and because this system would need to be built de novo, result in a more rational interface between clinician and the EMR than currently exist. Developing this system will require engineers to build the computer and data systems and to develop security systems to support a national program. The fundamental nature of medical record keeping will need to change. Substantial political will is needed to overcome resistance to change that will inevitably come from users of current EMRs who will be reluctant to adopt new systems so soon after the current EMRs were developed. Despite these challenges, this is a worthwhile endeavor since healthcare consumes 20% of the GDP yet there is no national infrastructure to support this large segment of US economy.
Edward H. Livingston, M.D., F.A.C.S., A.G.A.F., has served as Deputy Editor for Clinical Content of JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association since July 1, 2012. Before that, he was a Contributing Editor at JAMA for 3 years.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Dr. Livingston received his Medical Degree from UCLA. He completed a General Surgery Residency at UCLA and served as the Administrative Chief Resident for Surgery in 1992. After Residency, he remained on the faculty at UCLA eventually serving as Assistant Dean of the Medical School and Surgical Service Line Director for the VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System. He also founded the UCLA bariatric surgery program.
In 2003, he moved to Dallas to become the Professor and Chairman of GI and Endocrine Surgery at the University Of Texas Southwestern School Of Medicine. During this time period, Dr. Livingston headed the VA’s national effort in bariatric surgery quality improvement. He was appointed as a Professor of Biomedical Engineering in 2007 at the University of Texas Arlington. Dr. Livingston became Chairman of the Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering at UTSW in 2010.
Dr. Livingston has had peer review funding and has published in excess of 150 peer reviewed papers as well as numerous other scientific writings. He has also served on numerous local and national committees and is a past president of the Association of VA Surgeons. He is an Adjunct Professor of Surgery at UTSW and also at Northwestern University.