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Electronic Medical Records Take a Music Lesson

Imagine if the rest of the world worked like healthcare. Things would be way more expensive, thanks to waste, duplication and key information that's hard to access. Quality would be uneven.

Fortunately, computers and other technology have come along to help make other sectors of the economy more effective and efficient. If only healthcare could get its act together and embrace IT, we'd see similar improvements there, right?

Not so fast. Technology works in other industries only if it's easy to use and truly helps people work faster and smarter. A clunky and obtrusive system is bound to fail. Just ask Samuel R. Bierstock, known as "Dr. Sam," a former chief medical officer for electronic medical records vendor Eclipsys, who then worked as a health IT consultant for Healthlink, now part of IBM. Today, Bierstock is president of Champions in Healthcare, a Florida-based consulting firm that focuses on clinician adoption of technology, but he might be best known as the namesake and "chief harmonicologist" of Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Blues Band, which performs at many medical conferences.

Here, Bierstock explains his latest creation, the "electronic musical record," destined to shake up music the way EMRs have revolutionized healthcare:

So, the next time you wonder why so few doctors have EMRs, don't automatically blame the high cost--supposedly no longer an issue with a net $19.2 billion of federal stimulus funding about to flow into the health IT sector. Look beyond reluctance to change, something physicians are notorious for. Perhaps it's the products themselves that don't work the way doctors want them to.

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