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EMR and HIPAA 2009

Posted on December 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.

I knew that this year had been a really great year on EMR and HIPAA. However, I didn’t really realize how much we’d exploded until I started looking at the stats for the site. Thanks to the EMR stimulus (among other things), EMR and HIPAA saw an 800% increase in traffic in 2009 as compared to 2008. That amounts to the following stats for the year:
1.57+ million pageviews
900,00+ visits to EMR and HIPAA
Average Time on Site: 3 minutes and 17 seconds
Biggest Single Day: 8,679 pageviews

I’m most proud of how long people stay on the site to read what’s been written. However, I can’t really get my head around 1.5 million pageviews either. Isn’t technology amazing?

In 2009, I wrote 386 Articles on EMR and HIPAA. That’s a little over 1 post per day. I really didn’t think I posted that many. I guess they start to add up over time. However, even more exciting for me is that there have been over 2325 comments made on EMR and HIPAA. I love to see that much engagement and have loved so many of the conversations we’ve had. I’ve been educated and informed as much or more than I’ve helped you.

Google was by far my largest source of traffic with the following search terms being the most popular: EMR companies, EMR Stimulus, EMR vendors, “health it resource center” arra, ehr vendors. However, I’ve also seen a huge increase in traffic from my techguy and EHR and HIT twitter accounts. I’m amazed at how many people are discussing EMR on Twitter. It’s an amazing tool.

Of course, I also want to thank all of those companies that have sponsored EMR and HIPAA this year: Medscribbler, InterSystems, MxSecure, EMR Consultant, EHR Scope, Medical Voice Products, Plextra, MD-IT, Sfax, NextGen, My EMR Choice, EMR Jobs, and DigiDMS. Their sponsorship of EMR and HIPAA really does make a huge difference. It seems like it’s been mutually beneficial since almost all of the above advertisers have renewed their ad on EMR and HIPAA (and many of them multiple times). I have a feeling that 2010 will be an even bigger year for EMR advertising.

EMR and HIPAA has a lot of things in the works for 2010. I’ll follow up this post with a post talking about some of our plans for 2010. It’s going to be an exciting year.

Predicting HHS Meaningful Use Guidelines

Posted on December 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.

UPDATE: I just learned that ONC is doing a call today which is likely to discuss meaningful use. The call is at 5:15 EST. You’ll have to search the HHS site for the call in info since I can’t copy and paste on this phone. Looks like we’ll be finding out if my assumptions below are correct or not.

UPDATE 2: Check out some initial thoughts on meaningful use and watch for more analysis about the ARRA EMR stimulus money here.

The wait is nearly over for those of us wanting more details from HHS on the term meaningful use. In fact, I hope the criteria hasn’t come out already since I’m on vacation without internet (except my phone). While we wait I think it’s worth considering what we can expect from HHS.

If all goes well, then we’re likely going to get a nice set of simply designed criteria that effectrively measure meaningful use. However, they’ll be simple enough to implement that EHR adoption increases substantially over the next few years. HHS will have taken into account all the different specialties and also provide all the details for reporting and showing meaningful use according to their criteria.

Does this sound like a pipe dream? Well it is.

Instead of the above, I think we can expect a number of vague requirements that HHS will have to clarify over time. They won’t have addressed issues with specialists much at all. We’ll probably have little details on how HHS will check the criteria. I also think that HHS will make little clarification between hospital and ambulatory EMR despite their being huge differences.

This pessimistic view might make us wonder why we’re all waiting for this criteria. Well, it’s all apart of the government process. It’s the price to pay for 20 billion dollars in stimulus money. It’s government work. You can’t be impatient when you’re talking about government work.

The good news is that the release of the meaningful use criteria will be one MAJOR step closer to the details we need. It won’t be clean and pretty like we want, but it will be progress towards the end goal.

Fitting EMR Stimulus Money Into Your Strategic Plans

Posted on December 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.

A few quick thoughts on the EMR stimulus:

EMR stimulus is the icing on the cake….not the cake.

EMR stimulus is the cherry on top…not the ice cream.

EMR stimulus is the cream on the hot cocoa…not the hot cocoa.

That is all.

EMR Patient Data Interoperability Between 3 Locations

Posted on December 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.

Another interesting story from EMRUpdate talking about how one EMR vendor, Medtuity EMR, took 3 locations and tied their EMRs together. However, they didn’t just do one centralized database accessed from each location. Instead, they essentially built patient data interoperability between the 3 locations. Check it out:

We just linked 3 sites in October. The docs described what they wanted, including the speed of a separate SQL Server in each facility. They also had a billing office (as the center or hub). They previously used a single server with Remote Desktop as the means of communicating with a central server. They were not entirely happy with that arrangement and so wanted to embark on a SQL Server in each facility. Additionally, they did not want all encounters synched to all facilities daily. Instead, the 3 offices synch to the billing office once daily. Pt demographics get synched from that hub outward to all offices daily just in case a pt should visit another office.

So the underlying theme was speed– each office has its own server; pt encounters originating there are stored there + at the billing office, but pt demographics are synched to the hub and from there back to all 3 facilities. It’s all automated. If a pt visits a different facility than the original, the demographics are already at that alternate site and so the additional encounters can be synch with a button press to insure contemporaneous info.

What they did not want is to have all encounters stored at each site because there is not enough cross visiting among docs to warrant it, but they did want to be able to transfer encounters quickly when the need arose.

Certainly, this problem is much easier since all 3 locations used the same EMR software. However, it seems like there’s something that can be learned from this story in regards to broader interoperability of EMR software.

First EMR Job Posting Results

Posted on December 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.

You’ll have to excuse the lack of serious content in many of my posts this week or so. It’s the holidays and so traffic is down. So, I’m not spending as much time creating other content since many people won’t get to see it anyway. Plus, I’m heading to California to visit some family as well and it looks like I’ll have to try and borrow the neighbors wireless if I want internet. Should be a nice digital break to enjoy the beautiful California weather. That said, I do have a number of great posts in store for the new year and will probably schedule a few this week while I’m away.

I did want to take a second to highlight the new EMR job board that I created. You can read my full writeup about the EMR job board. Since creating the EMR and HIPAA job board, I’ve seen a number of other EMR or healthcare IT related job boards around. They were a ton more expensive than mine. I’m not sure if that means I should raise my price or not, but for now I’ll leave it where it is.

I was interested to see how well an EMR job board did on this site. I think I have a strong niche with many people asking me about EMR jobs. Plus, there’s going to be a lot of people looking for qualified EMR sales, implementation and consultants as ARRA really starts to heat up. So, I wondered if anyone would really look at the EMR and HIPAA job board.

We had our first job posted for an “EMR-EHR Sales Consultant – EMR Implementation Specialist” by 1st Providers Choice about 6 days ago. In that time the specific job page has already had 33 77 views. I think that’s a pretty decent number of views for only paying $15.

What do people think? Any suggestions on how I can make the job board more useful? I’m also happy to talk with people about doing some bulk posting of jobs if you have a number of jobs you want posted. Let me know your thoughts. Don’t be shy.

Is Your EMR Stimulus Ready?

Posted on December 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.

Brian at new EMR vendor Health Fusion sent me an email discussing some of the posts I’d done about CCHIT certification. In the email, he talked about how many doctors would ask him if his EMR is CCHIT certified. He then told me that his response to those doctors is that it’s not CCHIT certified, but it is is “Stimulus Ready.”

I like the concept of “stimulus ready” instead of certified. First, because I think that CCHIT offers doctors no benefit (as is well documented in my previous CCHIT posts). However, more important is to consider what I think doctors are really asking.

When a doctor asks an EMR vendor if they are CCHIT certified, what they’re really asking is one of two questions (or possibly both).
1. Can you give me some assurance that your EMR vendor has a higher implementation success rate than other EMR vendors? I’ve seen far too many of my colleagues fair or heard stories of too many EMR failures.
2. Can your EMR software get me the HITECH act stimulus money?

The problem is that right now, CCHIT can’t answer either of these questions. The first question they’re likely never going to be able to say with real authority. The second one they are likely to answer at some point, but can’t do yet.

This is why I like the idea of an EMR saying that they are “stimulus ready.” Essentially that means that the EMR vendor is planning to do whatever it takes to get their EMR software certified according to the yet to be released HHS criteria. Let’s hope David Brailer is right and access to the EMR stimulus money will end up being relatively simple.

Type of IT Support You Want for Your EMR

Posted on December 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.

On my favorite EMR forum, EMR Update, Matt Chase from Medtuity suggested the following pattern for how IT is involved in the EMR implementations he’s been involved in. Here’s what he said (emphasis added):

The characteristic pattern on a new server install is the IT guy comes in, puts the infrastructure in place, comes back in a couple of times over the ensuing 2 weeks and then disappears into the ether for a few years. Once a network is setup properly, it needs surprising little tuning. For example, a facility running Medtuity ~7 years is just now replacing their Windows 200/SQL Server 2000 box (a busy place too. They’ve had their IT people out no more than once per year, I’ll bet, over the last 7 years. Another group with 7 facilities does not even have an IT person on their payroll despite a server at each facility. The important point is to set a server up correctly at the outset.

I’ve seen this pattern first hand with the small clinic implementations I’ve been apart of. Although, I’d say that it’s probably more like 1-2 calls per year and the Merry Christmas phone call in December too. The key really is to make sure the server is setup properly at the outset.

However, what Matt doesn’t highlight is the importance of having the right IT people available for those 1-2 calls per year. It happens so rarely that the clinic goes into a partial state of panic. Having an IT person that can assist you quickly and effectively in that moment of panic is very important.

ARRA EHR Stimulus Bill Benefits

Posted on December 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.

In the press release I wrote about in my previous CCHIT certification post, they had a nice summary list of the meaningful use requirements as we know them today:
• Allow patients to access clinical information
• Comply with state and federal privacy, security and data sharing regulations
• Document patient progress and provide clinical summaries
• Exchange critical information with other care providers
• Implement drug interaction safeguards
• Send patient reminders about follow-up and preventive care
• Submit immunization and laboratory data to relevant public health registries
• Use computerized physician order entry systems to transmit prescription

Interestingly, this is what I think many doctors consider meaningful use of an EHR:
• Lower costs
• Increase revenue
• Lower charting time
• Oh yes, and better patient care

A bit of a generalization, but you get the point. The good news is that the benefits in my list are possible with an EMR. It’s just that the HITECH stimulus money may or may not promote those benefits.

First CCHIT Certified 2010 EHR – Badge of Wisdom or Stupidity?

Posted on December 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 got a very short email sent to me to a press release about the first EMR to receive the full CCHIT 2011 Comprehensive Certification. I’m not sure what they wanted me to do with the release, and so I guess I’ll do what I normally do and call it the way I see it.

Does this EHR vendor consider the fact that they’re the first EHR to get the CCHIT 2011 Comprehensive Certification as a badge of wisdom that everyone will applaud? I’m guessing they’ve probably never read my past posts about CCHIT. Otherwise, I’m not sure they would have sent me that press release. However, I think it’s worth asking ourselves whether this was a smart move or a stupid one.

Certainly they’re going to get some coverage because their the first EHR certified. This blog post is proof of that. However, even in the short term will doctors care that they have the “comprehensive” CCHIT certifcation as opposed to the ARRA/HHS certification?

The doctors that I talk to aren’t asking for “comprehensive CCHIT certification.” Instead there asking one (or both) of these questions: “How do I get the EMR stimulus money?” and/or “Is yours a certified EHR?” Of course, half of the doctors out there are actually saying “EMR stimulus money? Huh?” but that’s a topic for another post. The interesting part is that in the next 6 months EHR vendors should be able to answer either of the above questions in the affirmative and never be CCHIT certified at all (see Drummond Group EHR Certification as one example).

If my above assumption is correct, then most doctors could care less about CCHIT “comprehensive” EHR certification. Then, that also means that the first EHR vendor to be fully “CCHIT Certified 2011 Ambulatory EHR” is going to look pretty silly having spent a TON of money on certification and development time to be certified. Imagine the great features that could have been developed with that money instead of being spent on a meaningless certification.

EMR Job Board

Posted on December 18, 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.

UPDATE: We’ve moved all of our EMR Jobs listings to Healthcare IT Central.

One of my most common questions on this site is where people can go to find EMR jobs. My first response is usually to direct them to the EMR and EHR job page on the EMR and HIPAA wiki.

Now, I’ve decided to create an EMR and HIPPA job page for those interested in finding or listing an EMR or EHR related job. I’ve added a widget in the right side bar of EMR and HIPAA that lists the latest EMR and EHR related job listings. This same widget will also be posted on my other site EMR and EHR. It will be interesting to see all the different types of EMR jobs posted there.

Right now the cost to list an EMR job is $30 for 90 days. However, to get things kicked off and in the spirit of the holiday season, you can post an EMR job for only $15 if you use the discount code “emrjobs”. This discount will last for the next month.

If someone’s interesting bulk pricing, feel free to drop me a line on my Contact Us page.