Free EMR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to EMR and HIPAA for FREE!!

North Dakota Hospital Uses Social Media to Communicate

Posted on March 31, 2009 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 most of you know, I’m a big fan of social media. I live it and love it. I honestly think that’s one reason why this blog has done so well. So, I was really interested to see how Innovis, a hospital in North Dakota, was using Twitter and blogs.

I’ll let their work speak for themselves. Here’s links to their Twitter stream and wordpress blog.

I think we’re still at the beginning of how we’re going to be able to use various social media tools in health care. I know I’ve connected to people in amazing ways lately. I think that’s the real power of social media tools like Twitter. It connects people that wouldn’t have met otherwise. Many people go to conferences to connect with people. Twitter is like a virtual ongoing conference where you can meet people with like interests. The best part is that we’re really only at the beginning of what technology is going to do to connect people together.

Guest Post: One EHR Vendor’s Story and Challenges of Developing an EHR for All

Posted on March 30, 2009 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.

I recently asked a developer of an EHR to do a guest post for me to tell the story of their EHR company. The guest post is a little light on the details of how the EHR came to be, but Ash does offer a good perspective about the challenge an EHR has of developing EHR software that can meet the needs of every specialty. Not to mention an EHR that works for every state.

Thanks Ash for doing a guest post and sharing about the challenge of developing an EHR software.

Advantages and Challenges of a Doctor Created EHR

Our EHR system was created in the offices of doctors who came to us requesting a documents management solution. Basically an Internist and several of his colleagues including a Pulmonary specialist, a pediatrician, and a neurologist all needed some way to scan in their paper charts into a system that could be used to retrieve those same scanned pages at a moment’s notice. We came up with DigiDMS, or Digital documents management solution.

At this point a doctor’s office can scan hundreds of pages, file those images chronologically and categorically, add digital signatures, and apply descriptions based on the type of report all by using DigiDMS. This feature alone is used by 100% of our client base because paper management is a universal need in any doctor’s office in the US.

Over the past several years the system has become incredibly more robust chiefly due to the requests made by our clients. But not all the newly added features are used by all the doctors in the way the documents management feature was as mentioned above. This is the uniqueness of our model of software design. Basically we take the technical customizations requested by our clients and sort them by priority according to the degree to which the intended feature would benefit the most number of clients within the same specialty.

There is however occasions where we make technical changes strictly for a particular specialty that would not be used by any other medical sub-specialty. For example, a dermatologist in our home state of NJ would need to be able to calculate the tax on cosmetic products sold in their office-something which few if any other specialty requires in the state of NJ. The advantage of this model is that all our clients are getting a software system which can be “customized” according to their specialty’s specific needs.

The challenge for us is trying to standardize a system for sale in the market while simultaneously trying to accommodate each client’s individual needs on a timely basis. Or to put it in other words, a dermatologist recently told me that a well known EHR company (which I will not name due to conditions of anonymity) is good at being able to sell a system to thousands of doctors but only to a 65% level of satisfaction whereas a company like DigiDMS would be able to provide a system for a smaller pool of clients with a satisfaction rate closer to 95% because of our customized approach to software consulting. And therein lays the crux of the situation at hand: customization vs. standardization.

Ash Patel, DigiDMS

I’d certainly welcome other guest posts from EHR vendors interested in telling their story or highlighting other challenges in EHR development. Just fill out the Contact EMR and HIPAA form if you’re interested. As long as it’s not a sales pitch I’ll probably post it.

HITECH Act’s Impact in 3 Simple Phrases

Posted on March 28, 2009 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.

The HITECH Act and EHR stimulus has become one of the most popular topics on this blog (for obvious reasons). Today I came across someone who did a good job summing up much of the HITECH act in 3 simple phrases (a few minor modifications on my part):

  1. HITECH Provides Direct, Massive Funding To EHRs [this is EHR vendors]
  2. HITECH Requirements for Certification of EHRs Limit Competition and New Entrants
  3. HITECH “Promises” to Enfranchise Existing Groups [HITSP and CCHIT] into the Federal Hierarchy

You can read the full description of these 3 points here. I don’t quite understand the cat and dog stuff the post talks about, but the 3 items above are dead on. The post also agrees with me that CCHIT Certification excludes open source EHR software.

These 3 points also reminds me of my list of HITECH Act winners. I wonder what would need to change to add patients and doctors to that list of winners.

Information Therapy and PHR

Posted on March 25, 2009 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.

I recently came across an interesting term that I’d never heard of: Information Therapy. Here’s the wikipedia description of Information Therapy:

Information therapy works by engaging the consumer in the process of care. Unlike health information which a patient or family member may find on an open website like webmd or yahoo, information therapy is providing plain language evidence based medical information to a patient at the exact time that a patient needs it to help them in their heatlh care process. An example would be when a person who leaves a doctor’s office is provided an after-visit summary of instructions on how they can take care of their ailment at home. Information therapy may be prescribed by a clinician, (i.e. nurse, doctor or other health professional), by a electronic system in a medical institution (i.e.an electronic medical record), or consumer-prescribed.

Interesting term. Learn something new every day. I must admit that I’m pretty horrible with terms. Abbreviations are even worse. Sometimes people contact me with a bunch of abbreviations and I’m just totally lost. So, I either Google them or look past them. Either way, I’m so practical that I don’t care about abbreviations much.

The one that’s always killed me is CPOE. I never remember what that even means. I prefer to call it doctors entering orders. Maybe the abbreviation DEO was already in use somewhere else.

Well, I’ll embrace the term Information Therapy at least for this post. Information therapy is interesting and a PHR really takes it to the next level. However, I think it gets even more interesting when a PHR goes beyond information therapy and actually helps a patient make decisions on their own without seeing the doctor. Yes, I know there are so many legal issues around this, but we’re all far too familiar of the times where you go to the doctor and they basically do nothing but send you home with a script.

I won’t get into all the issues related to this, but I think that the term Information Therapy should be expanded to include a PHR or other website that helps patient save a visit to the doctor or even possibly provides an online doctor’s visit.

Otherwise, I’ll just have to change the definition of Information Therapy to what you experience when reading this blog. Wait, maybe that’s called EMR therapy.

CCHIT and Open Source EMR

Posted on March 24, 2009 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.

I previously posted about how the selection of CCHIT as the certification criteria for the HITECH act excludes open source EHR. I took more of a practical look at why an open source EHR product wouldn’t ever pay for CCHIT certification. I recently found a different angle about why CCHIT is not good for those interested in open source EHR.

Understand that CCHIT currently provides NO benefit to open source, in fact the CCHIT certified edition cannot be the one provided as open source, that is how the certification works. We have to have a commercial relationship with the customer in order to provide the certified edition. You can get the same feature set (that is already the case) but can’t call yourself CCHIT and would probably no be eligible for most funding/reumbursement if using the open source edition. So if you are interested in using our commercial edition of ClearHealth no problem but if you want a CCHIT certified open source system, none will exist until they adjust their process. Read the fine print on WorldVista, same deal.

Source

EHR Software Makes Doctors Secretaries

Posted on March 23, 2009 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 man I really respect in regards to EMR discussions made an off hand comment at EMRUpdate (sorry I don’t have the direct link) that the reason doctors don’t want to implement EHR is because they don’t want to be secretaries. I think he framed it with the question, does a CEO want to be a secretary? Essentially, he suggested that EHR make doctors into secretaries.

I’m interested to know what readers think of this concept. Does EHR implementation turn a doctor into a “secretary?” Certainly, if this is true then it would be a major reason why doctor’s aren’t adopting EHR. Thoughts?

EMR versus EHR Rant

Posted on March 22, 2009 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’ve been reading this blog for a little while, you might have noticed that I’m really struggling with whether I should use the term EMR or EHR. You can read about the difference between EMR and EHR on the wiki.

The problem I have is that for all practical purposes, EMR and EHR are being used synonymously. Yes, if we get to the nitty gritty there is a difference. However, if a doctor says they use an EMR or EHR in their office they’d mean the exact same thing. If I say I’m helping someone select an EMR or EHR in their office it would mean the same thing.

Basically, every EMR software could be called an EHR software. It’s really just branding. My problem is that I prefer the term EMR. It’s what I first used (thus the name of the website) and it’s what I used exclusively on this website for a couple years.

Now it’s en vogue to use the term EHR. I’m not very fond of the term EHR, but I almost feel like I have to use it since it’s the term people are starting to use more and more.

What kills me even more is that I want to be at the top of Google for EHR and EMR. However, Google doesn’t have common sense to realize that they’re essentially the same thing and should be ranked in similar ways. So, I walk this balance of using both terms and mastering neither of them on Google.

Since I’m on Google, I also want to openly tell Google to stop messing around with my Google Rank for the term EMR. Google keeps bouncing this website from the first page to the second page. Obviously the first page sends a lot more traffic this way and so you can imagine which I prefer. More importantly, Google should realize that this website is easily in the top 10 websites talking about EMR. If someone can show me 10 websites about EMR that are better than mine, then I’ll take it back. Until then, Google please place EMR and HIPAA permanently on the first page of results for the term EMR. Thanks!

EHR Vendors Join Twitter

Posted on March 21, 2009 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.

I recently posted about CCHIT joining Twitter. Seems like a decent number of EMR and HIPAA readers are also on Twitter, because I’ve been getting a pretty good number of new followers in the HIT and EMR field.

As my 1423 followers and 2302 updates prove, I like Twitter a lot and really enjoy the way it can help people to connect (I’m techguy if you want to follow me). It’s really quite amazing how 140 characters could turn out to be so valuable and to a wide variety of markets too.

What was really interesting is I recently saw 2 EMR companies join the Twitter revolution: eMDs and NextGen. I think that it’s really smart for an EMR company to join the conversation. At least if it’s done right. So far they only have 8 tweets and 41 tweets respectively. It will be interesting to see how these 2 EMR vendors use twitter over time.

I tweeted one of these companies the following tweet, “How do you plan on using Twitter? Do you have a plan or are you just testing the waters?”

Their response was, “We’re just getting started, but hope to expand communication w/ customers & others in the industry & connect w/ the EHR community”

One thing is certain, we’re just seeing the beginning of what’s possible with Twitter. It’s going to be really fun to see what creative people are able to do with twitter and healthcare.

If you know of other EHR vendors or other important HIT people on twitter, please let me know in the comments.

Plain vs. Sexy EHR Features

Posted on March 20, 2009 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.

One of the major challenges in comparing various EHR software has to do with comparing features. For example, think about the feature we call document management. I can pretty much guarantee you that EVERY EHR vendor out there can easily answer that they have a document management system. Honestly, most of them can do so without it even falling under what I’ve called EMR sales miscommunications. However, there’s an important question that those interested in using an EHR should consider.

Did you’re EHR make the feature sexy or is it just getting by?

Continuing with the document management example. Does your EHR software’s document management basically consist of uploading a document into the paper chart and possibly naming the file you uploaded? That’s a perfect example of an EHR that’s just getting by in regards to document management.

So, what would sexy document management look like? Sexy document management could consist of deep integration with your scanner and direct scanning into the paper chart. Documents could have tags available which down the road will help you filter the various documents according to those tags. Does your document management allow for electronic signing/stamping of the document. Of course, this would include full tracking of any additions made to the document. However, it would allow you to write on your documents similar to how you would have done in a paper chart.

Ok, so there’s probably a dozen other things that should be part of a sexy document management feature, but I think I’ve illustrated the point. You can easily see that one document management was just thrown in there on a whim. The other document management you can tell has been planned and is well thought out.

Comparing features to see who’s really thought through an important feature is a good way to help in the EMR selection process. It’s also a good way to think about how your EHR vendor can improve the EHR software you’ve already implemented.

EHR is the Life Blood of a Practice

Posted on March 19, 2009 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.

I’m often amazed at how many people underestimate the impact that an EHR implementation will affect a practice. Actually, maybe far too many people understand this and that’s why EHR adoption is so low. What worries me is that so many of those people that do implement an EHR completely underestimate the impact that an EHR will have on their practice.

Let me try and make the case about how important an EHR is to a clinical practice. I do this not to try and discourage people from implementing. Instead, I do this to encourage people to take the EHR selection and implementation process more seriously. The decisions you make in regards to which EHR you choose will have lasting impacts on your clinical practice.

Let’s take a look at why this is the case. An EHR is part of EVERYTHING you’ll do in a clinical practice. I can’t think of one part of a practice that isn’t directly affected by an EHR (I’m assuming it’s an EHR and PMS). Everything from how you move patients through the clinic to how you handle phone calls will be impacted by your choice in EHR.

Your EHR will become the center of your universe. This is true for the front desk staff, the nurses, the business office and the doctors. No one really goes unaffected except maybe the janitor, but they’re probably a contract worker anyway.

The reality is that you’re going to spend more time working in your EHR than you do with patients. Yes, that does sound wrong to say. It feels wrong to even type it here, but it’s the reality. However, don’t think that this is something new. You could have previously said that you spend more time doing paper charts than you actually spent with patients. Until we go back to the Little House on the Prairie days with one doctor who didn’t document anything, this will be life as we know it.

Now, doctors shouldn’t think that this situation is all that unique. Technology people often end up spending more time doing paperwork, policies and procedures, proposals etc than they do actually working on tech. I’m sure there’s 100 other examples of similar situations. Of course, the point really is that you’re going to spend a lot of time on your EHR. If you’re going to be spending so much time on the EHR, then it seems like the EHR selection and implementation decisions should not be made lightly.

Ok, still don’t believe me that an EHR is the core of a clinical practice? Think about this.

If EHR isn’t the core of the operation, then why do clinics run so slowly when an EHR is implemented? They run slow, because it is the heart of the clinic.

If EHR isn’t the core of the operation, then why do clinics literally shut down when they can’t connect to their EHR?
They shut down, because it is the heart of the clinic.