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EMR Vendors Struggle With Meaningful Use Stage 2

Posted on October 29, 2013 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

CCHIT head Alisa Ray, clearly, is trying to put it delicately. EMR vendors are “struggling a little bit” when it comes to meeting 2014 criteria. “It  has been a slow start,” Ray told Healthcare IT News.

Usually, hearing this would lead to an inside baseball discussion of vendor operations, which wouldn’t be very exciting. But the thing is, meeting 2014 certification criteria is necessary to allow providers to meet Meaningful Use Stage 2. So vendor struggles in complying with CCHIT’s criteria should concern providers a great deal.

There are three areas of Stage 2 that are proving to be an issue for vendors: clinical quality measures, interoperability and automated measure calculation for reporting metrics, Ray said.

This has led to a real lag in certifications. About 40 companies had listed products with the CCHIT in 2011, but a scant 21 percent of those have stepped up and gotten certified in the 2014 criteria.

According to Ray’s chat with Healthcare IT News, “almost everyone has struggled and been surprised by the complexities” of meeting 2014 standards.  Despite having gone through the process yearly since 2006 with CCHIT, several have had to go through repeated certification trials to meet criteria.

ICSA Labs’ Amit Trivedi, meanwhile, noted that while there were close to 3,000 listings, with many having multiple listings — Cerner alone had 800 — so far there less than 300 on ONC’s Certified Health IT Products list.

There are signs that EMR vendors will catch up, the HIT story suggests. For example, vendors have been working particularly hard to offer Continuity of Care Documents or Direct messaging, a capability providers must demonstrate for Meaningful  Use Stage 2, said Matt Kohler, vice president of Network Infrastructure Services at Surescripts.

But vendors clearly have some serious development challenges ahead if they want to keep up with the pace set by Meaningful Use Stage 2.  If I were a provider reading this, I’d call my vendor right away and see where they were at in the certification process.

The Marvelous Land of Oz: The HIMSS Interoperability Showcase

Posted on March 11, 2013 I Written By

Mandi Bishop is a healthcare IT consultant and a hardcore data geek with a Master's in English and a passion for big data analytics, who fell in love with her PCjr at 9 when she learned to program in BASIC. Individual accountability zealot, patient engagement advocate, innovation lover and ceaseless dreamer. Relentless in pursuit of answers to the question: "How do we GET there from here?" More byte-sized commentary on Twitter: @MandiBPro.

As I walked the floor of the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase, listening to the tour guide’s carnie-esque pitch on the wonders awaiting me with each successive use case encounter, I ALMOST wished I hadn’t worked with so many of the organizations hawking their wares. It’s a bit sad to know the man behind the curtain, to realize that The Great and Powerful Oz is simply a man with a highly mechanized presentation. But that knowledge gives me insight that others attending the Showcase may not have had – and validation that, in the end, Oz IS Great and Powerful, even though he’s just a man.

There were 20 specific interoperability use cases represented at HIMSS this year, collectively, by 101 vendors. In order to qualify to participate, each of the organizations had to successfully demonstrate proficiency with their chosen use case at the Connectathon event in Chicago. In January. In a basement the size of a football field. Packed shoulder-to-shoulder with your closest competitors at high school-cafeteria tables. Talk about a frigid atmosphere!

Perhaps to stay warm, perhaps to pass the time, perhaps in the pursuit of the patient-centric design principles the healthcare industry espouses publicly yet so seldom seems to put into practice, cross-company collaboration occurs. Competitors converge on each others’ laptops, debugging code, refining business rules and algorithms. Functional use cases emerge, success stories are shared, everyone goes home happy with a list of enhancements to incorporate before the main event at HIMSS. The frantic rush to prep for Connectathon is amplified by the urgency and importance of HIMSS. The ONC is watching! Your competitors are watching! The 40K HIMSS attendees will be watching!

Invariably, the use cases are perfected in the weeks leading up to HIMSS, each click carefully orchestrated, each transition scripted, all parties putting forth their best effort to insure success for the spectators – many of whom are clients, prospects, regulatory officials, or journalists seeking The Next Big Healthcare Thing to go viral in the blogosphere. The yellow brick road is constructed, and as one walks its length, the carefully choreographed demonstrations come to life with compelling tales: “Keeping a Newborn Safe,” “Improving Pediatric Care,” “Optimizing Cancer Care,” “Beneficiary Enrollment.” The show goes on, and it’s a good one – albeit with the occasional glimpse of the man behind the curtain.

The perfectly nice gentleman manning the Federal Health Architecture booth seemed eager to demonstrate the capability to request and retrieve a patient’s medical record from multiple HIEs and disparate EMRs. He walked me through the provider portal view, showed me how he could see that there were multiple medical records available for this patient across providers, and talked me through each click up until the print button. Print?

“Aren’t you importing the records into the requesting EMR?” I asked.

“No. Right now, they have to print each set of records.”

“So, each time this scenario presents itself, the provider has to click on each available external record, print multiple pages, compare notes across screen and paper, and later choose whether to manually update his own EMR with the other information?”

The perfectly nice gentleman suddenly seemed uncomfortable. The Great and Powerful Oz, exposed as mere mortal, Oscar Zoroaster Diggs. You’d think I’d know when to quit.

“The standards and technology exist to do CCD discrete data import, and a couple of the large EMR vendors are implementing that capability for high Medicare population IDNs. How does it make the provider more efficient, and give the patient more face-time with his doctor, if we’re still printing and no data consolidation or reconciliation is happening prior to point-of-care? Why didn’t you extend the use case to show end state?”

He assured me that they’re working on it, and we made a deal that NEXT year, I’ll come back and he’ll walk me through their progress towards discrete data import. No printing, he promised. I’m going to hold him to it.

Aside from this specific use case, across the Marvelous Land of Oz, what I’d REALLY love to see next year: the basement Connectathon advancements made to support the use cases for HIMSS actually incorporated into the products. As part of the qualifying criteria for repeat showcase exhibitors, have them demonstrate the capabilities developed in prior years actually functioning in the marketplace under general release. That would be a substantial improvement on this year’s long jump attempt for the Interoperability Showcase.

I want to fall in love with the hard-working man behind the curtain, not the showy pyrotechnics.

Interoperability, Clinical Data, and The Greatest Generation

Posted on February 21, 2013 I Written By

Mandi Bishop is a healthcare IT consultant and a hardcore data geek with a Master's in English and a passion for big data analytics, who fell in love with her PCjr at 9 when she learned to program in BASIC. Individual accountability zealot, patient engagement advocate, innovation lover and ceaseless dreamer. Relentless in pursuit of answers to the question: "How do we GET there from here?" More byte-sized commentary on Twitter: @MandiBPro.

As a healthcare IT zealot and wanna-be policy wonk, I find myself mired in acronyms, and surrounded (and indulged) by those who understand my rapid-fire Klingon-esque rants on BETOS and LOINC and HCPCS. The larger concepts of interoperability and meaningful use lose the forest for the trees of IHE standard definitions and specific quality measures. Have we lost sight of the vast majority of the healthcare consumers, and their level of understanding and awareness of those larger concepts? Could you explain HL7 ORUs or CCDs to your great-grandma?

I recently visited my 90 year-old grandparents, both remarkably healthy multiple cancer survivors who show no signs of slowing down, and have maintained enough mobility to continue bowling 3 times a week. After an evening of pinochle, my grandma asked me to please help her understand what it is that I DO for a living. We’ve had this conversation before.

“I’m a healthcare technology consultant, Grandma. I work with insurance companies and doctors to help them get all your information.”

Puzzled look.

“When you go to the doctor, Grandma, do they write anything down on paper, or are they using a computer when they talk to you?”

“Oh, they’re always on those computers! Tap-tap-tap. Every question I answer and they tap-tap-tap.”

She illustrates by typing on her lap, and I confirm that she’s a hunt-and-peck person. She stops only after I finish asking my next question.

“Do you have private insurance, or do you use the VA?”

“I have Blue Cross. Your grandpa uses the VA.”

“How many doctors did you have to see for your blood infection?”

“FOUR! Sometimes two in one day!”

“Did they all have to ask you for your history?”

“No – they already had it, on their computer. They even knew about my mastectomy, 30 years ago. One corrected me on the date; I’d thought it was only 20 years ago.”

“Well, Grandma, when you booked your appointment with the first doctor, their computer system automatically requested your medical records from your insurance company. And the insurance company automatically sent your records back to the computer. After the first doctor made notes on your visit, just after you walked out the door, the computer sent an updated copy of your medical records back to the insurance company, and it ordered the lab tests you needed before you went to the next doctor. Then, the lab automatically sent your results to the insurance company AND the doctor who ordered the tests.”

“But the other doctors had the test results.”

“Yes, ma’am. Each time you made an appointment with a new doctor, that doctor’s computer requested your medical records from the insurance company, and the insurance company sent out the most recently updated information. It only takes a minute!”

“Goodness. So, do you build the computer programs that make all that work?”

Eyes wide. THIS impresses her.

“No.”

Puzzled look again, so I quickly continue.

“But I make sure those computer programs can talk to each other, and that the insurance company can make sense out of what they’re saying.”

“Because if they couldn’t talk to each other, I’d have to haul a suitcase from doctor to doctor with my chart?”

“Yes, ma’am. That’s called ‘interoperability’. There are new rules for how doctors’ computers should talk to each other, and to the insurance companies. And I get to work with the insurance company to do other really cool stuff. I take a look at LOTS of people’s medical records to find patterns that might help us catch diseases before they happen.”

“And what’s that called?”

“Clinical informatics. It’s my favorite thing to do, because I get to study lots and lots and LOTS of information. That’s called ‘big data’.”

“Sweetheart, you lost me with the computer words. But I’m just so happy you’re happy!”

She hugs me and grins, and I finally feel like I’ve found the right way to talk about my passion: through use cases. Although, Grandma would call them stories.

And there you have it: the importance of interoperability and clinical data, through the eyes of The Greatest Generation. Check in next year for an update on whether my definitions stuck!

Guest Post: The Long Term Fate of CCD

Posted on November 10, 2011 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.

The following is part of an email interaction I had with an EHR vendor about the future of CCD. Of course, I can never let strong opinions go unpublished. So I asked if I could put this on my site. I have a feeling there will be many people who have a different view of CCD and how these standards will play out. I’d certainly be happy to publish an opposing view as well. My contact page is here. I’m interested to hear other view points on the subject.

Stage 1 MU allowed either CCR or CCD. Stage 2, and the short term efforts will require CCD. The jury is still out on what Stage 3 of MU will focus upon. Many at the ONC can see that the CCD will never have the flexibility to deliver. These are largely the same people that facilitated the Direct Project initiatives.

I still predict that it is inevitable that the data will become uncoupled from unwieldy, anachronistic document structures. That will be the only means to get to true information portability that can deliver patient-centric use of the information. The CCD will still be around for a while to come, just as CD’s are still around for music sharing. For now, we have to have the CCD to preserve legacy, industry-centric control of the information.

John Halamka has a couple of recent posts that do a good job of explaining what is evolving…. http://geekdoctor.blogspot.com/2011/09/september-hit-standards-committee.html and http://geekdoctor.blogspot.com/2011/10/cool-technology-of-week.html . Both of these contain links to some very interesting information. When the ONC proceeded to issue an advanced notice of rulemaking, the industry power elites became enraged. http://www.ihealthbeat.org/articles/2011/9/22/groups-urge-onc-not-to-include-metadata-standards-in-stage-2.aspx

Technology delivering to patients will eventually win out just as the open-platform WWW won out over proprietary CompuServe. http://www.healthdatamanagement.com/news/onc-metadata-ehr-meaningful-use-43021-1.html Once we have a means to truly exchange the content without the overhead associated with the CCD/RIM crap, we will see a revolution in healthcare similar to the social networking phenomenon.

Again, the whole CCD/CDA will stick around to support legacy information needs, but it will eventually be largely eclipsed by more straight-forward solutions that don’t require a team of consultants and IT engineers to implement.

CCD As the EMR Interoperability Standard

Posted on March 6, 2010 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.

In one of my many discussions with people at HIMSS 10 we started talking about EHR interoperability standards. The person I was talking to worked as an engineer for a vendor that’s entire work is interoperability of EHR data. As we talked, I made the comment that it seems like CCD has won the battle for EMR interoperability. He gave me a kind of blank stare and said, yeah. Basically his response was like yeah everyone knows that. Almost as if there weren’t any other real EMR interoperability options out there. Well, I guess someone better let Google Health know too.

As I went through the HIMSS showroom floor, I got the same feeling.

The good thing is that I think the people behind CCR are satisfied with this result since CCD is a derivative of sorts from CCR.

Comparison of CCR and CCD

Posted on November 5, 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.

In response to my previous post about CCR and CCD, I’ve learned a whole bunch about the two different standards for healthcare data exchange. Although, I must admit that it’s all a bit messy right now.

Since I know that many of you don’t read all the comments on the site, nor do you get to read the emails I receive, I think you’ll find some of the following links about CCR and CCD quite interesting.

First is a description of the difference between CCR and CCD. This is written by David Kibbe who helped create the CCR specifications. So, keep that in perspective, but it’s a really interesting write up comparing the two standards.

Dr. Jeff also put together this interesting “summary” of CCR and CCD. It’s a little scattered, but has some good nuggets in it that expanded my knowledge of the various standards.

The other good thing that came out of my previous post is an interview with Dr. David Kibbe which I’ll be posting next week. He ducks some of the politically charged questions, but I think you’ll really enjoy the interview. If you don’t, I’m sure you’ll be willing to let me know that too.

CCD vs. CCR and Part of MU

Posted on October 30, 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’ve been a fan of the concept of CCR since it first started many years ago. However, I’ll be honest that I haven’t followed the progression of CCR much since then.

I know that Google Health was using a modified version of CCR. I also know a number of EMR vendors that have integrated CCR with their EMR. So, I’m looking to my readers to give me an update on what’s been happening with CCR.

Also, I’ve been hearing some people refer to it as CCD instead of CCR. I think that CCD stands for continuity of care document. I assume it’s basically the document that CCR uses to share healthcare information?

At one of the conferences I attended, they suggested that CCR was the standard that was going to be used to show “meaningful use.” I haven’t ever seen the standard formalized. Did I miss this somewhere?

Ok, here’s looking to you. Leave some comments on what you know about CCR.

Defining Implementation of an EHR

Posted on February 9, 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.

One of the key facets of any EHR investment by the government will look at ways to award money for usage of an EHR. The hard question they’ll try to answer is how do you define an EHR that’s implemented.

This discussion is not new. Every study you can find on EHR implementation has struggled with the idea of defining when an EHR is actually implemented. I think that most surveys I’ve seen usually allow the user to define whether they’re EHR is fully implemented or partially implemented. The problem with this is that each person is likely to define a fully implemented EHR in different ways.

If a researcher has a problem defining an implemented EHR can you imagine how much fun the government will have defining this same thing. Not to mention when you start to attach money to the definition it gets really hairy.

Let me propose a simple definition of a fully implemented EHR using 2 main factors.

1. Paper Charts are no longer created or passed around the office.
2. Patient data can be transferred amongst EHR using a standard such as CCR.

The first factor is easy to measure. Take a look at the paper charts and see how many were created during the past year. Also, look at how a practice handles a patient who already has a paper chart. As long as a practice is relying on a paper chart, they are not full EHR. I should clarify that paper charts can exist in the practice, but they just should only be used for sending out records for past patients.

The second factor is easy to measure, but I’m just a little afraid that the CCR standard is just not quite fully defined. I hope that having Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault will help to establish this standard in an effective way across the industry. Some sort of medium for sharing important information is needed. Even if it’s simply allergies and medications for now would be fine with me. It can always be expanded later.

Should be simple enough. The problem is that it’s probably too simple for government work.

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt Blogs About EHR Adoption

Posted on May 26, 2008 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.

Today I came across the HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt’s blog. To be honest, I saw Mike Leavitt’s picture on the blog and I felt like I was meeting an old friend. No, I don’t really know Mike Leavitt from the next person on the street. We have never met before and the closest I’ve been to him is probably when I watched him pass by in numerous 24th of July parades in Utah. However, he was the governor of Utah for many of the years I lived in Utah and so I feel like I kind of know the man.

Reminiscing aside, I find Mike Leavitt’s blog completely captivating. He currently has been writing about his trip to China. For some reason I’ve always had an inner itch whenever I heard about China. I don’t know what it is, but I find the place completely fascinating. So, you can imagine my fascination with the HHS secretary’s interaction with the Chinese government. Plus, these posts about HHS and China give Mike a real personal quality that I find real and interesting.

Of course, I couldn’t begin to read the HHS Secretary’s blog without making sure to find some post about EHR or EMR. I quickly found a post entitled Value-Driven Health Care Interoperability which I think could more aptly be entitled “Electronic Health Records (EHR) Progress Report.” Of course, he is in government so that explains the title.

I’m grateful that the HHS Secretary is willing to engage the public in a discussion about EHR and EHR adoption, but unfortunately the post I found is so filled with political rhetoric. It sounds really good, but really has very little substance.

First, I’ll start with the good.

Three years ago, there were 200 vendors selling electronic health record systems but there was no assurance that the systems would ever be able to share privacy protected data in interoperable formats.

I think the concept of a certification for interoperability is good. It just makes sense that every EMR software vendor should be able to interact with another. Establishing a quality standard for this interoperability is valuable and even worth certifying.

Unfortunately, I think the HHS Secretary has been getting bad information when he says the following:

Since then, we have made remarkable progress.

An EHR standards process is now in place, and we are marching steadily towards interoperability. We created the CCHIT process to certify products using the national standards and it is functioning well. More than 75% of the products being sold today carry the certification.

Where to begin? First, Mike has suggested that there were 200 vendors selling EHR systems 3 years ago (It’s probably a few more than 200 EHR, but we’ll let this one slide). Mike asserts that “75% of the products being sold today carry the certification.” If that’s the case, then simple math tells us that there should be 150 certified EHR software, no?

If you look at the 2006 CCHIT Certified Ambulatory EHR list I count 92 EHR software products. Let’s see, that’s only 46% of EHR products that are certified. Plus, my count of 92 EHR counts some of the software multiple times since a number of the EHR software vendors certified multiple versions of their product. That sounds like less than 75% of EHR products sold to me.

Of course, Mike Leavitt certainly could say that 75% represents a percentage of actual products sold. Certainly the certified eMD’s has a lot more installs than any of the free open source EMR products out there. However, I think it’s a bit deceptive to say 200 EHR and then 75% of products sold if they aren’t the same thing.

I also love how it says 75% of products sold. I think we’re all aware of the outrageous failure rates of so many of the EHR products out there. It’s unfortunate that we don’t have a percentage of products installed. Then, you’d have a much better idea of how many doctor’s offices really have the possibility of interoperability.

Wait a minute! I was being extra generous above when I said that there were 92 Ambulatory EHR CCHIT certified. Why? Because it was 92 EHR certified with the 2006 CCHIT Certification. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that interoperability was taken out of the 2006 CCHIT Certification (along with the joke of the pediatric requirements). I’m pretty confident about this, because I work on one of the 2006 CCHIT Certified EHR and I have no way of sending a chart to another clinic other than manually going through the product and printing out the chart.

What does all this mean? That means that instead of 92 interoperable CCHIT certified EHR, there are only 31 EHR CCHIT certified in 2007. That represents 15.5% (not 75%) of the 200 EHR products on the market today are interoperable according to number of certified EHR.

I’m not really blaming Mike Leavitt for this. I’m sure him or his office was given a nice executive report with a bunch of data and they made it look as nice as possible. Reminds me a lot of what I call EMR sales miscommunications. Sometimes the data just gets lost in translation. Let’s just hope my trackback to Mike Leavitt’s blog gets read.

You thought I was done. Nope. Still plenty more to say and I’m just hitting the major points.

In addition, a National Health Information Network will start testing data exchange by the end of the year and go into production with real data transmission the year after.

This concept I really find intriguing. I look forward to seeing this go public and I’m glad it’s on the agenda. However, I fear that this isn’t more than political hyperbole. I’d love to see how they plan to address any of the following: unique identifier, the ultimate hacker’s health information paradise, economic model, motivational model and that’s just the list off the top of my head.

The primary reasons for low adoption rates among small practices are predictable: economics and the burden of change.

I’m glad you pointed out the obvious. If this was so obvious, then why did you support the implementation of a certification that costs so much money that EHR will inevitably raise the cost a small practice pays for an EHR? That doesn’t make much economic sense. Not to mention you missed what I think is the biggest factor in lack of implementation: fear. Not fear of change. Not fear of the expense. Certainly those are two major factors, but I believe that adoption rates by small practices are so low because most doctors have seen too many of their colleagues fail at implementing an EHR.

Let’s start waving the CCHIT certification flag again. Many will be willing to make the case that CCHIT certification helps supplant a doctor’s fear that their EHR implementation will fail. It may even supplant some fear, but what it doesn’t do is decrease the number of failed EHR implementations. It’s a problem I’ve discussed many times on this blog. Certifications don’t certify usability. They never have and never will.

I actually have a thought about what should have been done instead of CCHIT, but I think I’ll save that for a future post.

Thanks Mike for opening up the lines of communication with your blog. Now it will be interesting to see if Mike Leavitt and HHS have really embraced new social media and participate in the discussion they started. I’m certain that Mike’s blog is going to become one of my favorite reads.

Google Health Beta Live – What does this mean for EHR?

Posted on May 19, 2008 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’ve been following the Google Health announcements for quite a while now and today Google Health finally went live.

It’s been a long time coming and so it will be interesting to finally take a look under the hood. I haven’t personally had enough time to do a full analysis of Google Health myself, but techcrunch posted the announcement live and an initial review.

I think that techcrunch summed up a major part of Google Health and its meaning for EHR software in the following:

Google is planning to open up APIs to Google health to make it easy for other partners to tap into its health platform. And make no mistake about it. That is what this is: a platform. Health apps anyone?

Sure does make for some interesting thinking about how an EMR or EHR could integrate with Google Health. Depending on how my next couple days go, I may see if Google Health has given any sort of specifications for importing a patient record into Google Health from an EMR or EHR software program. In my previous posts it was said to use some form of CCR to integrate Google Health with EMR and EHR software. I hope this is the case. If it is, I think I’ll try to be the first to integrate Google Health with my EMR. I don’t think most of it would be that difficult.