Are You an Early Adopter? I’m Not.

I’m not an early adopter. Not of trends, and not of technology.

It was my husband who when we were dating insisted I upgrade from dial-up to broadband, despite my protestations that I didn’t need such an expensive enhancement. It’s because of him that I made the leap from a flip phone to a smartphone.  And he was the one who convinced me that it would be worth the time and effort to migrate my paper address book to a computer address book—backed up in the cloud!—so I no longer have to hand-write the same addresses on 100+ holiday card envelopes every year.

I took each of these steps reluctantly and hesitantly, but yes, I’ll say it:  He was right.

He’s an early adopter.  After saying he wasn’t going to get it, at least not in the short-term, Jeff came home a week after the first iPad came out and had our then pre-school age son present it to me as “a present for mommy!” as he looked on sheepishly.  He knew I knew it wasn’t really for me.

Heck, I hate learning the new set-up when HIMSS’ IT department upgrades us to a new version of Outlook, so spending my down-time figuring out the new touch-screen technology did not sound like fun to me.  That stuff IS fun for Jeff, and many, many others like him.

So I get it. I get why doctors have been hesitant to adopt EHRs.  Adoption and implementation involve a huge commitment of time and treasure and a bit of a leap of faith that the technology will yield the promised benefits. They entered medicine to be hands-on with their patients, not with their keyboards.

I’m far from a Luddite, and neither are most clinicians, who are constantly learning new treatments and techniques to provide better care for their patients.

While I take a while to be convinced it’s worth the effort to adopt and fully implement new technology, I do eventually get on board—along with the masses—and I value the efficiencies that information technology bring to my work and personal life.

And most doctors who unenthusiastically and perhaps begrudgingly adopted EHRs now embrace the technology and the actual and approaching value that they bring to patient care.

Both small practices and large organizations who have won the HIMSS Davies Award are able to point to returns on their investments—financially and in the quality of the care they’re able to provide their patients.  The HIMSS Value Suite offers thousands of other specific examples of the value of health IT.

For practices that haven’t yet made the move to EHRs, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT offers online resources, and can also refer physicians to a Regional Extension Center for assistance throughout the process.

Initially, it can be hard to see the value of new technology on the other side of an expensive, time-consuming, intimidating, and often annoying learning curve.  But from email to GPS to EHRs, technological advances are coming at us faster and faster, so we might as well get around the bend in time to catch the next curve.

What have been your experiences with new technology, professionally and personally?  If you’re an early adopter, what advice would you give to the rest of us?


About Elinore Boeke

Sr. Manager, Public Policy Communications - part of the HIMSS Government Relations team in Washington, DC. For health IT-related public policy updates, follow me on Twitter @ElinoreBoeke, and subscribe to the complimentary HIMSS Health IT Policy update e-newsletter at
This entry was posted in Blogging, Davies Awards, Health IT Value Suite, HIMSS Health IT Value Suite, Value of Health IT and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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