Originally published: March 18, 2010
Last updated: November 29, 2010 - 11:37am
In a sobering keynote address at the 2010 World of Health IT Conference and Exhibition, e-Health researcher Enrico Coiera of University of New South Wales, Australia said industry enthusiasts who back, uncritically, national-scale health information technology systems need to prepare themselves for some very bad news.
"We've yet to experience our first health IT plane crash, a health IT failure that claims many lives," Coiera said Wednesday. "But I think that will happen... I think it's unavoidable given what we're doing. We need to do our best to mitigate that."
Coiera titled his talk "The Dangerous Decade," because while he predicts unprecedented growth in healthcare information technology in the immediate future, that proliferation will come with some unwanted side effects -- especially when deployed on a national scale.
"I think over the next 10 years we will build more health IT than we have ever built before," he said. "These systems will be bigger and more complex. The costs and benefits are so large that they will significantly impact national GDP -- people are going to notice it.
"We have no choice but to do this," Coiera continued. "The danger is that health IT is still in its infancy. We are doing things we have never done before."
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