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Free Health Information Exchange – HIE

Posted on August 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.

One of my readers pointed out that NaviNet was offering their Health Information Exchange (HIE) solution to state governments for free. Here’s a short part of the press release:

NaviNet (formerly NaviMedix), America’s largest real-time healthcare communications network, today announced the NaviNet Health Information Exchange (HIE), a solution that combines the NaviNet Provider Network of more than 770,000 providers nationwide, and NaviNet technology and services. The NaviNet HIE is now available to all state governments and U.S. territories at no cost, enabling more efficient implementation and expansion of local health data exchange. Adoption of NaviNet HIE minimizes technology investment requirements, providing states and territories a rapid and cost-effective way to offer their own branded health information exchange to electronically connect physicians, hospitals, insurers and existing HIEs in their regions. NaviNet is already used by two out of every three U.S. healthcare providers, and leading national, commercial and Blues health plans, resulting in significant costs savings to the industry.

I always find it interesting when someone starts offering something for free. I always have to ask myself the question of why they would offer it for free. I don’t know NaviNet that well, but it seems like this free offering is 2 fold. First, it seems like they probably want to sell the HIE to people other than government. Second, I think that they probably want participants in the HIE to also use NaviNet’s billing services.

What’s really interesting to me also is that it seems like NaviNet is basically a billing company (although, I don’t know them that well). I find this really interesting since I’ve often seen the argument that we’ve been exchanging billing information electronically in healthcare for a while. Since this is the case, many people have wondered why we couldn’t also exchange other healthcare information. Is this offering from NaviNet, the realization of this principle?

Free EMR has been going well for a while. We’ll see how Free HIE goes.

EMR Interoperability and Working Together

Posted on August 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 got the following email which highlights my point that the EHR stimulus money should have been focused on things like interoperability standards and not funding EMR adoption the way it is doing it. He also makes some interesting comparisons worth considering:

I see an uncoordinated money pot out there, attracting uncoordinated work on EMR. — about as effective technically as HDTV (since mid-80’s), W3C, the space station. Non-profit efforts seem to generally fail, or to work so slowly as to be irrelevant.

EMR standardization would likely benefit from an authoritative organization (similar to IEEE) that would work with existing systems as provided by Kaiser, Walmart, GE, etc. and grind out a solution acceptable to these and other major (and minor) players. Then a de facto standard would exist in a well-defined form, and other players would join the effort.

I may be wrong, but I don’t see this happening. Everyone seems to be drawing out the money and just going on their separate ways. People like me that try to help doctors into the electronic age thus have to develop their own protocols, as anything resembling a portable data standard simply doesn’t seem to exist.

Of course, whenever I think about and post something like this, I feel like it’s too late too change anything. The legislation is what it is and we have to make the most of it. It’s just really sad to consider what it could be.

I guess maybe the message to consider is that we can still start having EMR working together even if it’s not government funded.

HIT News ARRA EMR Stimulus Newsletter

Posted on August 29, 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’ve had this link to an EMR Stimulus Newsletter/website for a while, but I’d debated whether to post it or not. Why you might ask? I think a lot of the information is quite biased and much of it leaves out important perspectives on the EHR stimulus money. So, I hate when people get bad, biased or spin (I at least try).

However, I think the message that is significant about this is that this EHR stimulus money is big enough and important enough that a number of websites and newsletters have been created to try and provide information related to the stimulus money. Another example is MeaningfulUse.org. Yes, we’re talking about a lot of money at stake for a number of large EHR vendors. Not to mention Healthcare IT news and it’s associates.

We’re swimming with the big fish. What I’ve been thinking about lately is how long will this EMR frenzy continue?

ARRA EHR Stimulus Money Poll

Posted on August 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.

Time for another poll about the topic on everyone’s mind: the EHR stimulus money. ARRA has definitely changed the EHR world with the promise of an estimated $36 billion in EHR stimulus money. The question is, how many people are planning to try and get the EMR money?

EMR Is About the Money

Posted on August 27, 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 really coming around on this fact. I’m not sure I should, but I am. I’m beginning to realize how big of an impact for good or bad that all this EMR stimulus money can have. Now, don’t get me wrong. I think long term there’s a lot of other benefits to EMR and I think there’s a strong case that can be made for implementing an EMR based on other EMR benefts. However, I’m starting to realize that to a large extent it is about the money.

Before the EMR stimulus came to the forefront of the EMR and HIT world, I would often be asked about EMR adoption and the trends that I’d seen in EMR adoption. I’d then start to describe that about 4 years ago when I started blogging about EMR, doctors and practices were asking the question “Should I implement EMR?” However, I’d seen a shift where doctors were now asking “how, what and which EMR should I implement?” To me this was a HUGE shift in perspectives and an important one for having widespread EMR adoption. Of course, this shift happened well before the government lit the EMR world on fire with $18 billion of EMR stimulus money.

What I’m now beginning to notice is that there’s a really strong opportunity to accelerate what was already happening. $44k per provider is a big deal for most practices interested in an EMR. The company and/or consultants that can find a simple way to gain access to this money are going to do very well and many EMR are going to be adopted during this time. I think it will be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back for many many doctors.

Basically, I see many doctors who previously said I want to implement an EMR, but… Now saying I want to implement an EMR and I want the $44k, let’s make it happen.

My only words of caution. Don’t rush the process, but don’t waste time either. Take time to find the EMR that will work best for your clinic. There are good EMR out there that will get access to the EMR stimulus money. Make sure you get both a good EMR and the EMR stimulus money.

Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers

Posted on August 26, 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.

David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, has been putting out some letters about HIT and EHR in particular. In his latest letter he talks about the recent announcement of the HIT Regional Extension Centers designed to assist and help with the implementation, selection and use of EHR software. Here’s a portion of his letter:

Key to the successful adoption and meaningful use of EHRs is the assurance that providers have the help and guidance they need to select, implement and maintain a certified EHR system. In addition, we need the various and often disparate local, statewide and regional systems to work together, regardless of location and differing state and federal standards or policies, to enhance patient care.

Toward that end, the first grant program, the Health Information Technology Extension Program, will fund dozens of Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers across the country. The regional extension centers will offer hospitals and clinicians hands-on technical assistance to support meaningful use of certified EHR systems. These modern health IT centers could be considered as somewhat akin to the agricultural extension centers Congress set up early in the 20th century, which helped to support vast improvements in the efficiency, quality and productivity of the agricultural sector.

We hope this 21st century health IT extension program will have a similarly profound effect in helping health care providers through a major transition in our nation’s health system, ultimately improving the quality, efficiency, reliability, availability and equity of care for every American.

A national Health Information Technology Research Center (HITRC) will also be created. The HITRC will help the regional centers collaborate with each other, and it will serve as a national clearinghouse to identify and share best practices and experiences so that providers can learn from what others have gone through as they’ve put such systems in place.

You can read more about the details of the grant program on Chilmark’s post about the grant money.

Honestly, I look at all the millions of dollars that they’re going to pour into these programs and I wonder if any of them will have any real impact. They have to all be non profit organizations which is probably a good thing. However, I won’t be surprised if smart people find ways to siphon off the money given to these organizations for themselves. Maybe that’s the cynic in me. Maybe it’s just the reality of grant money.

I do like that they’re having a national organization that will hopefully aggregate data from the various regional extension centers. I think the problem will be that the national organizations won’t have any teeth to be able to ensure that the regional extension centers to do their job and share the information.

I’m hopeful that I’m wrong. I’m really interested to see the types of resources that come out of these centers. They should be creating a lot of really great stuff and helping lots of people. I’ll be interested to see which organizations get the grants. Will they be new or existing ones?

Lies from Meaningful Use Consultants

Posted on August 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.

Ok, I know I should see this coming and just expect it. However, it doesn’t make it any more right or me any more upset that this kind of shady practices occur.

Yes, today I received my first notification that some EMR Consultant…errr…should I say Meaningful Use consultant…err…should I say liar…was giving detailed recommendations to a practice on how to meet meaningful use. The sad part is that the practice didn’t know that nothing is final with meaningful use and may not be until middle of 2010 and so they were handing over their money.

Looks like I need to add meaningful use consultants to my list of Big Winners from the ARRA EHR stimulus money. Of course, if you’re reading this blog, you’re not likely to be the one being duped. So, tell your friends that we still don’t have a final rule for meaningful use or certified EHR. Anyone that tells you so should be kicked out of your office immediately.

EMR Hype, Hope and Hyperbole

Posted on August 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’ve been exchanging emails with someone in the EMR industry who described us as going through some interesting times of hype, hope and hyperbole.

Then, they went on to say:

“I have installed (successfully and not so successfully) EMR’s and clinical systems from most vendors since the mid 90’s and found almost all vaporware looking for their next sale, but not too worried about their last.”

Thankfully, I know a couple EMR vendors that aren’t just “vaporware looking for the next sale.” Sadly, far too many of them are.

New EMR and HIPAA Advertiser

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.

As I usually do, I want to welcome a new advertiser to EMR and HIPAA. I always appreciate those who advertise on EMR and HIPAA and allow me to bring a different perspective to most of those you find in the EMR world. I also want to extend my thanks to those of you who read my blog every day. I’m always amazed at the list of people that comment on my blog and subscribe to the EMR and HIPAA email list. Thanks for making this the best EMR blog on the internet (of course I’m a little bias in this opinion).

Now onto EMR and HIPAA’s new advertiser:
MxSecure – This is a really unique transcription services company compared to the others I’ve seen. They’re really looking at merging the two worlds of transcription and EHR in a variety of ways. See the full description of MxSecure at the bottom of this post.

You can find more details about advertising on EMR and HIPAA on our EHR advertising page. Also, we’re just starting to accept advertisers on my blog partnership EMR and EHR for those looking for an additional EMR advertising option. Just drop me a line on our contact us page for more details.
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Simple Patient Information and Payment Portal

Posted on August 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.

Many of you know I’m all about keeping things simple, effective and useful. It’s better to have something simple that does a killer job at what it does than to have something so complex that no one uses it. In fact, that’s really the basis of my simple plan for meaningful use. Of course, this can often be confused as not valuing other items. However, that’s just not the case. You just start with reasonable goals and do amazing things with it. Then, you expand once you’ve conquered something simple, but I digress. The point is that I really enjoy seeing simple systems that just flat out work.

That’s why I was intrigued by an email I received from a reader about their system called ePatientHistory. I think it can best be described as a simple patient portal that tries to do 2 things really well: online patient registration and online patient payments.

I should make a disclaimer that I haven’t used this service other than the demos on their website. However, I really like some of the concepts and I wish more EMR companies would try to create something simple and effective that focus on small goals as opposed to trying to cure the whole world with a patient portal that is so complex no one uses it (man I’m in a ranting mood today). Let’s talk about each function which they call ePatientHistory and ePatientPayments.

ePatientHistory – Online Patient Registration
I tested the demo for this and it was a little buggy and not as intuitive as I would have liked it to be. For example, it didn’t have the standard * next to all the required fields and the pop up that was shown for the required fields didn’t make much since to me. A small thing that makes a big difference. Maybe this just wasn’t shown in the demo, but it would have been nice to had nested questions that were only shown if I’m female for example. That way I can skip the pap smear questions and go straight to the testicular self exam ones.

Also, it was awkward to have to register and then choose the form I want to fill out. Ideally the doctors office could just send me an email that has basically registered me into the system. The email would include a link which I click and get taken to a step by step webpage of what the doctor’s office wants me to do for my appointment. Then, I can’t screw it up as a patient. After I’ve filled out the important paperwork, then let me see the full login and the other features that I may want to use.

Of course, when you’re dealing with a standalone portal like this, the question really is how are you going to get the information out of the system. This system seems to offer a CSV file which can then be imported into an EMR. Ideally, I’d like this company to show me a list of EMR companies that support this type of import. I know that all of them could since CSV is pretty standard, but how many would and if they do would that data be inserted into your EMR in a useful way? Of course, many might just want the health history form to be a nice PDF file that they can upload to their EMR. However, it’s just sad to lose all that data in a PDF file.

The cost structure for this service is interesting. Basically it’s $695 up front and $39.95 per month for hosting. Seems a little pricey to me, but if they can make sales that’s a really good business model to have. You get the up front money and a residual income.

ePatientPayments – Online Patient Payment
This is an interesting module since it’s basic idea is to collect payments. Although, one good part of this system is that it will collect payments over time according to a payment plan. I think this can be really useful in collecting harder to collect accounts. Plus, it can be scheduled to be done automatically thanks to the power of Paypal.

Similar to the other description above, I’m not sure how the patient will know how much to pay. I didn’t see anywhere in the admin that seemed like a place that someone in a clinic could notify someone that they have a bill to pay and come to this portal to pay it. That would be nice functionality. Although, it would be really sweet functionality if it was tied to the EMR where the actual charges arrive. Of course, this is the challenge of using a system that’s not connected to your EMR.

The cost for this is similar to the other one with $395-495 a month up front and then $29.95 per month for hosting. One thing it doesn’t say is how the charges that Paypal charges will be handled. I’m guessing they pass those on to you the end user as well. Paypal is an amazing platform and great for developers since it costs nothing to get started and use it. However, Paypal instead gets paid on the back end with the highest percentage fees of any other credit card processor. I imagine ePatientPayments will want to switch to something other than Paypal as they grow. The savings of using another credit card processor over PayPal will basically pay for the ePatientPayments and then some.

Conclusion
I think we’re going to see a lot more little services like this pop up. I think a number of them could be very beneficial if they’re integrated or used alongside a great EMR. The other good part is that it seems like using stand alone services like this one will still allow you to be considered a “certified EHR” and possibly receive some of the $36 billion of EMR stimulus money.
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