re: IT Can't Fix Complex Healthcare Problems
The answer is no longer EMRs, like you said - they do not inherently connect to each other. The industry now is in HIEs, which take all of that information and put it into one place. The Cerner hospital's information and the PracticeFusion hospital's information. Also, hospitals typically have many disparate solutions - using different vendors for lab results, vital signs, radiology, etc. All of that information within ONE hospital/practice is not in the same place. With all of this being said, an HIE is vital for the best patient care.
Technology can be used to help patients get better, but instead of using technology from a Health IT company, one would be wise to look into technology (HIEs, specifically) from a Health Care Company - one whose history has been helping people get better. Not one whose history has been making considerable profit on shiny tools, and not one who is run by a payer (insurance company), because their motives may lye in the wrong place.
I work for Alere (ACS, which is the HIE). Alere is a $3 billion Health Care Company. One of our clients just released a statement saying that they reduced ER utilization within their population of Chronic Disease patients (the highest cost patients for insurance companies), by 20%, by using our HIE, in addition to care management and analytics of the information that was collected.
It is possible.