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Top 10 Open Source Medical Billing and Electronic Medical Records Applications

Posted on April 28, 2008 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.

For those loyal readers of this blog, you’ll know that open source software and in particular open source EMR software has been a much discussed topic. I guess people love it when you talk about a free EMR. I must admit that I’m always intrigued by open source (free) software and open source EMR software is no different.

I recently came across a list of the top 100 Open Source Software Tools for Medical Professionals.

You know I’m a sucker for a list and I especially like EMR lists, so here’s their top 10 open source EMR software:
1. FreeMED
2. OpenEMR
3. OpenEMR Current
4. OpenEMR Virtual Appliance
5. FreeB
6. SmartCare
7. XChart
8. OpenMRS
9. Open Dental Software
10. ClearHealth

Quite an interesting list to choose from. Now if I could just get the data on number of installs for these applications. When I mean installs I mean doctors who actually use these open source EMR systems every day in their practice. Anyone want to let us know where we can find that data? Or any open source EMR packages want to fill us in on their progress?

I’ll update the post if I find anything or get that information in the comments.

Interesting. I wonder why none of these are CCHIT certified?

Choosing an EMR Article on Medscape

Posted on April 17, 2008 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.

A little while back I got an email asking me if I was interested in writing an article for Medscape about “Choosing an EMR.” I figured that might be a fun experience considering I’d written so much about the topic of choosing an EMR on this blog that it would be pretty easy to do.

Luckily, all went well and they accepted the article that I wrote and published it to their site. I think the article turned out pretty good and offers some decent insight for someone interested in selecting an EMR. I think the selection process is probably the EMR industries biggest barrier to adoption right now. The technology is certainly there now, but there are just too many choices right now that it is really hard for a doctor to know which EMR is best for them. Unfortunately, many just choose to not make a decision and just continue on with paper charts. Hopefully this article will help a few doctors offices get on the right track and implement an EMR successfully.

In the end, it was a really fun experience going through the process of writing an article that’s going to be published. It’s much more difficult than writing about EMR on this blog. It took hours of work for me to write that article. I wanted to make sure that I provided significant value to the readers of the article and that I didn’t leave anything important out. By comparison, this post that I’m writing now won’t take more than 10 minutes. Blogging is better that way, because I know that my insightful readers will correct me if I post something that’s way off kilter.

At the end of the day, it’s really fun to see my writing published and my name alongside a contribution to the medical community. I also got a big kick the other day when I was helping one of my PA’s with something and I saw he subscribed to Medscape. Made me feel good that I was being published in what he considered to be a credible medical source.

One final thought, I’d love to hear people’s feedback on my article “Choosing an EMR.” Leave all your thoughts, good and bad, in the comments.

EMR and EHR Jobs

Posted on April 10, 2008 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.

Just the other day I saw an old link to an EMR Jobs website. Of course, I’m always interested in seeing what type of EMR jobs are out there. I’m not currently looking for a new job, but I do finish my masters degree in May and so I may be looking for a new job in the EMR, EHR, Healthcare or possibly IT area soon. However, I was a little bit saddened by the list of jobs on that EMR job website. I even took a look at EMR jobs on Indeed.com to see what they had to offer. Looks like there is some decent potential there. A search on Monster for EMR jobs left me less enthusiastic.

Honestly, most of the jobs listed required specific knowledge of an EMR software. This really surprised me. Seriously, the EMR systems aren’t that different and an intense 2 days of training/playing on an EMR system and you’ll get a pretty good idea of that EMR. Certainly it makes sense to put that knowledge of the EMR is preferred, but often I think that someone without the cultural baggage of poor implementations or other biases might be better than someone with previous experience with the EMR. In fact, from a product perspective having a fresh set of eyes to give new feedback and suggestions could be incredibly valuable to a company.

In the end, I have a feeling that searching any of these job boards won’t be nearly as valuable as connecting to people you know. I guess that’s why I think this EMR and HIPAA blog could be very valuable for my career. Anyone else have advice for those looking to work in the EMR field?

Scanning and Importing Paper Charts Into an EMR

Posted on April 7, 2008 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.

As many of you know, I love getting comments on my blog. Plus, comments on my blog often ask very good questions that I prefer to just answer as a separate blog post. I’ve considered a few times trying to integrate something that would allow people to ask questions that I could then answer, but I’ve never found just the right solution. Until then, just leave a comment and I’ll reply as best I can.

The following quotes are from a comment Sean made on my Choosing an EMR or EHR post.

Eric,

I’m not sure how he got my name as Eric since it’s not Eric. Possibly he was confusing it with my post about Eric Schmidt’s Google Health Announcement at HIMSS. I really don’t mind what you call me as long as you leave insightful comments and questions.

Thanks for the informative blog. I hope others have found it as interesting as I have.

Thanks. I’ll pay you later for the compliment.

I have a question about EMR implementation & you may be able to provide a good answer: When a practice adopts an EMR solution, what is the process by which all of the existing files get scanned & imported to the EMR? Do practices send their files to an outsourced (and presumably HIPAA compliant) scanning company? Or do they buy a scanner & have the staff or temps scan them in bulk? Or do they scan patient files as those patients come to the office?

Do you have any insights here? Seems like a big part of the process, but I’m having trouble finding information about it.

Of course, the obvious answer to your question is Yes! The reality is that every method you describe above has been done. I personally recommend sending the files to an outsourced HIPAA compliant scanning company. It’s a pretty smooth process to send them out and the company can often index them in such a way that you can access those files quickly if needed. I say I prefer this way, because we found that in the majority of cases there wasn’t a need to look back at the paper charts. In the beginning of our EMR use, we would pull the chart for each patient. After doing this for a short period, our clinicians found that more often than not, they didn’t have a need to see the paper chart. So, we decided to stop pulling the charts unless a clinician made a specific request.

I can imagine that this may not be realistic for many people. My clinic works with a younger population which don’t usually have an extensive medical history. However, our experience provides a good insight for other practices. Take a second to notice how often you look into the paper chart. How often do you need the information from past visits found in the paper chart? If you are like us and rarely needed the past history, then why waste your time pulling charts and scanning them individually?

For those that feel they need to see a past chart, you might consider my previous post about “Thinning Out the Chart for Scanning to an EMR.” The idea is just pulling out the relevant information that needs to be inputed into the EMR. The rest of the information can remain in the paper chart.

If you decide to start scanning the charts in yourself, I think it’s a good idea to scan as you go. I don’t expect that most offices have an abundance of people that are just sitting around needing something to do (ie. scanning). Scanning is a tedious process and it’s better to bite it off in little chunks. Then, once you’ve made a dent into the past charts, you can consider doing a bulk scan or sending it out to a third party scanner to clean things out.

I think the key milestone to achieve with your EMR is to reach a point where you no longer have need of a paper chart. This really takes a change of perspective for most people. It’s so easy to just drop a paper into a chart. Your medical records staff are probably trained well enough to create charts in their sleep. Teaching them to scan all the paper into your EMR takes focus and effort. However, with a little work it becomes second nature and people won’t remember what it was like to have paper charts.

Thanks very much in advance.

Thanks for stopping by EMR and HIPAA and asking some very good questions. A blog becomes much more interesting when their is interaction with the end users.