While health information technology is too often viewed through rose-colored lenses as the cure for all that ails the healthcare industry, it has intended and unintended consequences, according to Robert Wachter, M.D., a professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Wachter, who first coined the term “hospitalist” and is generally considered the “father” of the hospitalist field, spoke to Health Data Management about his new book—The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine's Computer Age—which comes out today in hardcover. Though for years medicine stubbornly resisted computerization, with the passage of the HITECH Act and after more than $30 billion in EHR incentives paid to providers by the federal government, Wachter asserts that healthcare has finally gone digital. Yet, once clinicians started using computers to actually deliver care, he says they started to realize that something was deeply wrong.

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