Too many regulations can hinder clinical workflow: Kettering Health Network CMIO Dr. Charles Watson

Charles Watson, DO, chief medical information officer at Dayton, Ohio-based Kettering Health Network, shares his top challenge in the role and the technology he's most excited to see take off in the healthcare space.

In addition to his role as CMIO, Dr. Watson is an obstetrics and gynecology physician at Kettering Health Network. He previously served as a board member of the Physician Hospital Alliance, KHN's physician and membership organization, which comprises more than 1,100 KHN physicians.

Here, Dr. Watson discusses how compliance regulations have restricted EHR functions and the effect it has on clinicians.

Editor's Note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What do you find frustrates your clinicians most about the EHR? 

Dr. Charles Watson: I think physician frustration is actually with the never-ending compliance regulations that CMS, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, commercial payers, etc., load on physicians. It's the EHR that we manipulate to force providers to meet those never-ending requirements.

Q: What technology initiatives has your organization implemented to improve data sharing between patients and clinicians? 

CW: We use the Epic patient portal for multiple instances of data sharing between patients, providers and the health network.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you're facing as CMIO? What keeps you up at night?

CW: I think the biggest challenge is creating a technology environment that improves providers' clinical quality and efficiency and is not viewed as a tool to enforce regulatory compliance.

Q: What is one method of technology you expect to really take off in the healthcare space within the next five years? 

CW: I am quite excited with the artificial intelligence associated with voice recognition technology. I honestly believe that we will see the end of the keyboard in my practice lifetime.

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