The most overrated IT trend? 'Blockchain,' says Dr. Andrew Rosenberg: 3 questions with the CIO of Michigan Medicine

In this special Speaker Series, Becker's Healthcare caught up with Andrew Rosenberg, MD, CIO at Ann Arbor-based Michigan Medicine and associate professor of anesthesiology and internal medicine.

Dr. Rosenberg will present a keynote address during the Becker's Hospital Review 4th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference titled "Targeted Digital Transformation in Healthcare: Lessons Learned from Where Medical 'Rounds' Began," at 10:45 a.m. Friday, Sept. 21. Learn more about the event and register to attend in Chicago.

Question: How does your organization gain physician buy-in when it is implementing a new technology or solution?

Dr. Andrew Rosenberg: I contribute to our ability to gain physician buy-in through the informaticians who act as physician champions. By partnering with our office of clinical informatics — 14 chief medical informatics officers spread across medical specialties — and the nursing informatics group, we are able to procure, customize, develop, implement, evaluate and improve our clinical technologies to meet the needs of our providers and clinicians. Our CMIOs are well-respected among their peers and represent various parts of the health delivery organization — inpatient, ambulatory, adults, pediatrics, medicine, surgery, specialty care. We also rely on a large network of provider champions that was developed as part of our EHR implementation to also disseminate to act as change leaders.

Q: What is the most exciting thing happening in health IT right now? What is the most overrated health IT trend?

AR: It may sound obvious, but I am most excited about prominence of IT in healthcare. Today, IT is a factor in every healthcare discussion, decision and investment. Trending topics like patient engagement, population health and new revenue models are reliant on advanced analytics, health information exchange and virtual care. So much of healthcare has become digitized thanks to EHRs — we're moving way beyond that due to advancements in cloud, Internet of Things, cybersecurity and information assurance.

I think blockchain is an overrated health IT trend. While I appreciate the underlying technologies and believe it has the potential to change how we manage information and deliver services to patients, it still feels too early to make the investment. As a doctor, I also think there are some fundamental philosophies and ethical expectations that will need to be addressed before blockchain is widely embraced. An example is to what extent do the majority of people want or expect to manage their own data versus a trusted doctor or health center.

Q: What's the biggest misconception about health IT?

AR: The biggest misconception is that healthcare and IT are two separate things. In many ways, health IT is becoming healthcare. Tools like the EHR or a tablet at the bedside are as essential to care delivery as a stethoscope, ventilator or IV pump. We're seeing many more clinicians enter the IT profession, further blending classic healthcare and IT. The people doing "IT" has also shifted. IT staff used to be the ones building mainframes in the hospital basement. These days, IT staff might care for a patient today and build a medical algorithm tomorrow.

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