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Reasons EHR Companies Use to Get You To Buy an EHR Now

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EHR adoption has been really slowed by the passing of the $18 in EHR stimulus money. However, that doesn’t stop the EHR companies from doing everything they can to get doctors to purchase an EHR now. Here’s a couple of examples of what EHR companies are saying to try and get doctors to purchase their EHR. Of course, I’ll add in my thoughts after the reasons to buy an EHR now!

Reason #1: Move quickly to get in before the EHR deployment back-log!
Certainly there are are a number of EHR companies that already have a tremendous backlog of EHR implementations. I’ve heard of people having to schedule their EHR training out 6 months or more, because the EHR company didn’t have any EHR trainers available for 6 months. This is certainly a nice problem to have as an EHR company. However, it’s a tremendous pain for a doctor wanting to implement the EHR.

One point of view is that the EHR company is so good that everyone wants it and so that’s why there’s a tremendous backlog on the implementation side. Let me offer another alternative point of view. Possibly that EHR company is just run poorly and isn’t doing a good job managing their company’s growth. If it’s a problem getting an EHR implementation date because they don’t have enough staff, then you better think really hard about how quickly that same EHR company will respond to your support and enhancement requests.

Reason #2: You won’t be ready to show “meaningful use” of your EHR software.
Certainly this is not beyond the realm of possibilities even if I think there will be a delay in EHR stimulus money. I also wouldn’t encourage people to stop even looking at EMR companies. Instead, I would suggest a more reasoned approach.

Why not start researching, demoing and learning about the various EHR companies that are out there. Regardless of the HITECH act, there were already tremendous pressures to adopt an EHR. I don’t yet see a major need to purchase an EHR tomorrow or you’re going to be without any EHR stimulus money. However, I do think it would be a mistake to delay the EHR company evaluation process. The more you learn about various EHR companies, EHR selection and EHR implementation the more likely you are to eventually glean the benefits of implementing an EHR successfully.

Of course, if you’re reading this blog about EMR and EHR, then I’m probably preaching to the choir. Maybe you could share this idea with your colleagues who are sitting on the fence.

May 31, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

Sole Reliance on One EHR Certififying Body – CCHIT

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There’s a whole lot of discussion going on (rightfully so) right now about CCHIT EHR certification and of course the term “certified EHR.” I don’t know if anyone else has noticed or not, but there seems to be a bit of a growing movement towards not having ONE EHR certifying body (presumably CCHIT).

A post over on John Chilmark’s blog highlights a really interesting point about having only one EHR certifying body. The point is that there’s little accountability if CCHIT is the only body that’s certifying EHR vendors. What reason would CCHIT really have to improve its certification if it’s the de facto standard for certification? CCHIT admitted that their CCHIT EHR certification wasn’t up to the ambitious goals of HITECH/ARRA. That doesn’t mean they can’t change (although I have my reasonable doubts). However, if they are set up as the sole EHR vendor certification body, then what reason would they have to change?

OK. Yes, you could make an argument that they would want to change for the common good of man. Yes, that means we would see some change on their behalf towards that goal. However, to really change the game in EHR, we need something that requires people to innovate and a sole EHR certification of any kind will have a rough time doing that.

What scares me is that I think that CCHIT is aware of its weaknesses and realizes that it wouldn’t be able to iterate it’s EHR certification to meet the ever changing technology. It seems like the market is ripe for some really smart person to do something to better certify EHR. I wonder what type of game changing certification that will be.

May 29, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

Electronic Health Records Video Explanation

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I’ve posted previously the best video I’ve seen promoting EHR use. Today I came across another video that talks about some of the benefits and challenges associated with electronic health records. It’s a little bit dry compared to that other video, but for someone just wanting to learn more about electronic health record or those considering the benefits and challenges of an EHR, it’s worth a watch. Those experts in the field of EMR can carry on.

May 28, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

EMR Marriage, EMR Divorce, EMR Pregnancy and Now Marrying an EMR for Money

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Yes, I’ve compared EMR to Marriage and it talks about it being a huge deal to “divorce” your EMR.

Yes, I’ve compared EMR Implementation to Pregnancy.

Now I bring you what may be my most important comparison of all: Don’t marry an EMR because of money!

Sure, the allure of $18 billion of EMR stimulus money is attractive, but don’t choose an EMR because you can get that money. You shouldn’t choose someone to marry because of money and you shouldn’t choose an EMR for the EMR stimulus money as well.

Certainly you want to make sure your mate EMR company is financially sound, can provide for your needs, and is going to be around even if times get tough. However, more important than all of that is you want your EMR company to be willing to make you (the user) the center of their attention. If they do that, then you’ll have a happy “marriage” that will last for a long time to come. If you get WOW’d by the EMR stimulus money, you might just regret it later.

I could keep going about the prenup (EMR guarantees) and other similarities, but I think you get the point. Don’t buy an EMR based solely on EMR stimulus money!

I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

Another Example Why Small EHR Companies Face Tough Challenges

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No doubt many small EHR companies have been looking at themselves in the mirror long and hard and asking themselves how they’re going to survive this rough market. Not only did the HITECH act slow purchasing of EHR systems, but between “certified EHR” and “meaningful use” many are questioning where the small EHR vendor will fit into the EHR market.

I could (and probably will at some point) expound on each of the topics above, but I think that EHR vendors have an even more difficult challenge on their hands. The challenge comes in the form of incredibly large number of marketing dollars and splashy partnerships.

Here’s just one simple example of what I’m talking about. It was just announced that HEALTHeLINK, The Western New York Clinical Information Exchange, now has formal agreements in place with Allscripts, eClinicalWorks, McKesson, MedAppz, NextGen Healthcare Information Systems and Pulse Systems. [Hailing out of Buffalo, I'd love to meet up with the people at HEALTHeLINK sometime when I'm visiting family in the area.]

I’m not sure how much of an impact this particular partnership will have on EHR adoption in upstate New York. However, that’s not really my point. My point is that this is just one small example of a partnership that the “big boy” EHR companies are going to use to market their product. Consider that the marketing budget for these large EHR companies is quite possibly larger than some smaller EHR companies entire budgets. That’s pretty formidable.

I’m not saying that small EHR companies should close their doors and stop competing. In fact, I hope just the opposite happens. I’m all for innovation and the most innovative products usually come from small companies who have to be innovative to survive. I’m just saying that these small EHR companies better come ready to fight. It’s not going to be a pretty couple months in the EHR industry. Only the strong will survive.

Of course, all is not lost for small EHR vendors that survive. Assuming EHR implementation failure rates continue at their current dismal rates, then there will be a tremendous opportunity for a number of companies to take care of those who fail to implement unusable EHR systems.

May 27, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

My Least Favorite EMR Vendor Sales Line

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A feature of every EMR vendor is a whole multitude of sales lines. If you’ve ever talked to a EMR sales person, you know what I’m talking about. This isn’t really unique to EMR sales. The same can be said of most software that’s trying to solve complex problems.

Well, there’s one EMR vendor sales line that gets on my nerves more than any other line. Let’s take a demo of an EMR vendor’s templates. Now here’s the line that I absolutely abhor:

“You can make it do whatever you want.”

Hearing this is like hearing fingernails on a chalkboard for me. Certainly, the intent of their comment is that the EMR template creation is really flexible (and it very well might be). However, the superlative “whatever” is just wrong. Every software system has limitations and I can guarantee you that if you really start using an EMR system you’re going to bump into those limitations.

I guess my problem is using superlatives like whatever, any, all, always, etc. is just misleading and leads to what I call EMR sales miscommunication. Anytime you hear one of those things during an EMR demo (or even during an EMR training) you better start asking lots of questions.

Of course, these superlatives do a lot better job selling EMR software. I guess that’s why I’ll never be an EMR salesperson. Maybe it’s also why people seem to like reading my EMR blog posts.

May 26, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

Government Shouldn’t Talk about Ill Defined EHR Term

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A little while back, the Health Care blog has a pretty interesting post talking about how to define the term EHR. Normally, this debate would just be an academic debate which in the end nobody would really care about. You may remember my rant about EMR versus EHR which was really just me complaining the Google didn’t recognize both terms and send more traffic to my website (just being honest) along with me feeling like there’s little practical difference in the terms EMR and EHR(despite others disagreement).

Instead of EHR being basically a marketing tool for EMR vendors, the HITECH act’s use of the word “certified EHR” has made the meaning of this term rather important. Well, at least it’s important if you care about the $18 billion that they plan on spending on EHR software.

The above linked article suggested that ONCHIT should adopt the term “EHR technology” to replace the terms EMR and EHR. They suggested that the term would be defined as “An information technology tool, such as a software program or application, that is used to create, consume, manage or transport health data in electronic or digital form.

This discussion reminds me of my previous post Hospital CIO’s take on CCHIT. In it, this hospital CIO suggests that a problem with CCHIT certification is that it assumes that only one program would provide all the needed EHR functionality. However, maybe the best implementation is a group of programs that are more effective than an individual EHR could accomplish.

What is becoming more clear to me is that the government really needs to start focusing on the results it wants to achieve as opposed to trying to prescribe what IT implementation will best achieve those results. Let’s leave the academics of defining EHR to the academics.

I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

Memorial Day and CCHIT 2009-2010 Criteria Revealed

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In honor of Memorial Day, I took the weekend off. This ended up being a good thing since Saturday evening I was feeling quite sick. What a way to spend my time off, no? Not that any of you really care too much. However, I thought it was worth mentioning in case anyone noticed that no new posts were created.

I also think it’s worth taking a second to honor our troops on this Memorial Day. I was able to enjoy a couple of really nice Memorial Day programs this weekend and it really helped me appreciate all that our troops do and have done to protect our country. One thought that stood out to me was a veteran of one of the World Wars talking about how people are so up in arms about the about 2000 lives lost in the current war. This veteran then went on to describe how in the World Wars more than 2000 lives were often lost in a day or two. Of course, any life lost is too many, but it illustrated the extreme sacrifice that so many people made to give us the freedom we enjoy today.

I want to also honor my brother who is a marine. I’m really grateful that he’s willing to serve our country. It’s a pretty ugly world out there and sometimes we forget how lucky we are to live in relative peace. I guess if the worst thing we have to deal with is CCHIT, then we’re doing pretty good.

On that note, I saw an interesting article talking about the CCHIT 2009-2010 plans. I won’t repeat what the article says, but all I can say is that it’s going to be a really interesting next 6 months in the healthcare IT world. I really wish I could hear some of the internal conversations that will be had by David Blumenthal, HHS, CCHIT, etc.

May 25, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

Plans for EMR Stimulus Money Poll

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I posted an EHR stimulus poll a week ago and I thought it would be interesting to post some preliminary results. I really wish a few more people would have participated in the poll. It’s only 2 clicks to add your opinion. I expect over time I’ll get some more responses.

Take a look at the current results for the question: How will your clinic be approaching the EMR Stimulus money made available in the HITECH Act (ARRA)?
EMR Stimulus Money Poll Results

What’s surprising to me from the results so far is that such a large percentage of people are either waiting to hear about the EHR stimulus money or are planning on the EHR stimulus money. This poll is a little bit biased since so many of the people visiting EMR and HIPAA these days are coming here to learn about the EHR stimulus money.

Like I’ve said before, there’s no doubt that the $18 billion investment by Obama into electronic health records has increased the interest in EHR software. We’ll have to just wait and see how much of this increased interest in EHR turns into actual EHR purchases.

May 22, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

ARRA’s Effect on EMR Reporting Versus Functionality

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I was just reading through Jamie’s post on EMR and EHR talking about showing EMR “meaningful use” and EMR reporting. She provides some really interesting examples about the challenges of reporting out of an EMR that wasn’t designed to report those various data elements.

This discussion caused me to think about the impact that having to report on meaningful use will have on an EMR implementation. An EMR implementation is hard enough as it is now. Now, not only will an EMR user have to focus on learning all the new EMR functionality and translating their various clinical workflows into an EMR workflow, but they’ll also have to take into consideration the reporting requirements that will be necessary to get access to the EMR stimulus money and show meaningful use.

Certainly some of this planning could be a good thing and probably should have been done regardless of whether a doctor wanted EMR stimulus money or not. However, anyone that’s had to deal with reporting knows that it takes a lot of work and planning to get it right.

It will be interesting to see how much of an impact these reporting requirements will have on the already abysmal successful EMR implementation success rates. Granted, most doctors implementing an EMR won’t properly address these requirements during implementation and will just suffer the consequences of not showing meaningful use when that time comes.

May 21, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.