Jabba the Hutt EMR Vendor Perspective on ARRA

Posted on June 7, 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 13 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 just love reading what the “Jabba the Hutt EMR Vendors” (Definition of Jabba the Hutt EMR Vendors: Good in their day, but have gotten so big and bulky that they’re barely functional) offer as a perspective on what the ARRA EMR stimulus money will do. Check out a few quotes from this article which highlight what I believe is most Jabb the Hutt EMR vendors take on the ARRA stimulus money:

“We anticipate ARRA to result in widespread adoption and use of comprehensive EHRs that support interoperability, decision support, quality reporting and clinical research,” said Justin Barnes, EHR Association Chairman and Vice President of Greenway Medical Technologies. “If we continue to work together in public and private collaboration, and build on the successes of CCHIT, HITSP and NQF, along with prudence and fiscal responsibility, we will achieve our goals of healthcare transformation and the estimated $100-$200 billion of annual savings that will come with a fully-integrated and interoperable healthcare system.”

Or Justin Barnes could have easily said that adoption would make his company millions of dollars if doctors started adopting EHR. That wouldn’t be a conflict of interest with the statement he’s making would it? Ok, I’m not saying that EHR software can’t help the healthcare industry. I think it can do some great things. However, I think the above statement lives in a far rosier world than we currently enjoy when it comes to EHR and healthcare.

Here’s another nice quote from Mark Segal, Ph.D., member of the EHR Association Government Relations Workgroup and Director of Government and Industry Relations for GE Healthcare IT (biased opinion?).

“HITECH will transform our industry and the health care system,” said Segal, “We expect a substantial increase in hospital and professional adoption of comprehensive EHRs, with most of the impact occurring over the next five years. We also expect changes in the structure of our industry and in how its products are developed, priced, and deployed.”

“As businesses, and as an Association, we are laser focused on helping our customers qualify as meaningful users,” Segal went on to say. “Even before ARRA, the Association published its interoperability roadmap and supported the development of practical, meaningful CCHIT certification criteria. We understand the dedication required to implement EHRs and want to make sure that ‘meaningful use’ criteria are achievable while moving healthcare forward, especially in such critical areas as interoperability and health information exchange.”

I do agree with Mark that how EHR products are developed priced and deployed has got to change. If it doesn’t doctors will continue to not adopt them. Let’s just not be surprised if we don’t see the “substantial increase” in EHR adoption that Mark Segal suggests. Plus, it seems like their laser focus on “meaningful use” and “CCHIT certification” misplaces what we really want to accomplish with EHR. First, “meaningful use” hasn’t been defined and second shouldn’t you have been laser focused on this goal before now?