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EMR Demos – Don’t ask Yes/No Questions ask How?

Posted on January 23, 2006 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

No one really likes dealing with sales people. There is just a general feeling of mistrust that usually exists around salespeople. However, it is important that you create a good relationship of trust with that person so you can ask good questions. During an EMR demo you will see a lot of great features on the ideal system. Unfortunately, it is often the ideal system for a specific office for which it was designed. If your office is ideal then there isn’t a problem.

Since you are still reading I assume that you don’t have the ideal office(not to mention it doesn’t exist). This means that your office is going to have to adapt to the EMR software. Don’t expect the EMR software to adapt to you. Even with the most reactive customer service friendly EMR(which I consider mine to be at the top in this area), it just takes time to make changes to software, test them and then deliver them to the customer. So, the ease or difficulty in implementing a software depends on how close the software mimics your method of doing business.

Let me give an example for those visual learners. One of my evaluating clinicians asked, “Can your EMR handle a walk in ONLY system?” The EMR vendor had some great features to handle walk ins and intermix them into a clinicians schedule. However, somehow the ONLY was missed in a sales communication. It would have been much better to ask the EMR vendor, “How can your EMR handle a walk in ONLY system?” Then, follow it up with the question, “Can I see it?” Now you can actually envision what this EMR vendor would be like in your “ideal office” and what you would need to adapt to use that EMR in your environment.

Bi-directional interfaces vs. Uni-directional interfaces

Posted on I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

If you are implementing an EMR you need to understand the difference in types of interfaces. Unfortunately I bet this is a significant misunderstanding that occurs when discussing interfaces in an EMR purchase. Maybe this opinion is biased because that is what happened to my clinic. After a few long discussions we finally understood the questions we should have asked rather than assuming we knew how an interface works.

The assumption that was made by my clinic(thankfull not me since I hadn’t been hired) was that the interface would be bi-directional. What does that mean? That means that when a Pharmacy is ordered by a Doctor the script would automatically be available in the Pharmacy program(one direction). Then, when the script was filled it would post the charge back to your EMR(second direction). The assumption was made that this would just happen without considering a few questions. First, what happens when someone doesn’t want to fill their script at our pharmacy? Then, the Pharmacy database is filled with a ton of scripts that they never needed to fill. Also, what happens when a drug is filled in your EMR that isn’t available in your Pharmacy program? How does your HL7 interface match a prescribed drug with the drug in the pharmacy database which has enough inventory? How does the interface pass the charge back when someone brings in a pharmacy from another doctor?

For those of you familiar with HL7 interfaces you know that many of these things can be solved. In fact, I hope that somebody will post some ideas on the best ways to accomplish this. However, these are important things to consider and discuss when purchasing an interface. In many cases the “mythical” concept of it all just working may leave you with a uni directional interface.

Not that a uni-directional interface is bad. The fact is that my clinic currently have two uni-directional interfaces. One direction patient information and insurance eligibility is passed. The other direction charges get passed back. This has worked out quite well even though we expected a bi-directional interface.

The moral of the story is to Ask Questions and then Ask MORE Questions! You aren’t an expert on HL7 and you have the right to know what your vendor means by an HL7 interface.

I imagine there are other options than HL7, but so far I haven’t seen any. So, I’ll assume for now that there aren’t any until someone corrects me.

Google Portal for Medical Information

Posted on I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Google should make a Medical Information Portal. I came across a fabolous idea that was discussed at Health IT World. I couldn’t think of a better application for Google technologies. Ok, so I’m still sitting in an idealistic world that evaluates decisions based on merit and not just $$. Either way, I think that having a medical portal on google would be fantastic. You could tie your EMR directly to the medical portal to get the latest and greatest medical information that you could give to your patient. Then, let’s take it one step further. Your EHR could be tied to the google search which would allow patients to see more information without wasting the doctors time. Doctors will probably hate this idea, but in the end patients are and will use this feature if google was to come out with it.

I think the best detail from the article besides the idea is that if it were something easy to accomplish then it would have been done 2 years ago.