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Is the SHIN-NY “Public Utility” HIE Funding a Model for Other HIE?

Posted on April 25, 2014 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 first started working with the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) many years ago when they first organized the Digital Health Conference many years ago. Hopefully they’ll have me back again this year since I’ve really enjoyed our ongoing partnership. Plus, it’s a great way for me to get a deeper look into the New York Health IT landscape.

While NYeC organizes this conference, has an accelerator, and is (is this a was yet?) even a REC, the core of everything they do is around their HIE called the SHIN-NY. Unlike some states who don’t have any HIE or RHIO, New York has 10 regional health information exchanges (formerly and for some people still called RHIOs). The SHIN-NY is the platform which connects all of the state’s RHIOs into one connected health network. Plus, I know they’re working on some other more general initiatives that share and get data from organizations outside of New York as well.

While the SHIN-NY has been worked on and sending data for a number of years, the news just came out that Governor Cuomo included $55 million in state funding for the SHIN-NY HIE. This is a unique funding model and it makes me wonder how many other states will follow their lead. Plus, you have to juxtapose this funding with my own state of Nevada’s decision to stop funding the state HIE that was supported with a lot of federal government funds as well.

In my HIE experience, I’ve found that every state is unique in how they fund and grow their HIE. Much of it often has to do with the cultural norms of the state. For example, New York is use to high state taxes that support a number of government programs. Nevada on the other hand is use to no state tax and government funding largely coming from the hospital and gaming sectors. Plus, this doesn’t even take into account the local healthcare bureaucracies and idiosyncrasies that exist.

What do you think of this type of HIE funding model? Do you wish your state would do something similar? Will we see other states follow New York’s example?

I’m excited to see how NY, NYeC and the SHIN-NY do with this HIE funding. Knowing many of the leaders in that organization, I think they’re going to be a great success and have a real impact for good on healthcare in NY.

One-Fifth Of Physician Practices Might Switch EMRs

Posted on February 26, 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.

Here’s yet more evidence that this is the year of the “big switch” in EMRs, at least among physicians. A new survey by Black Book Market Research has concluded that about 23 percent of practices with currently implemented EMRs are unhappy enough with their current system to consider switching to a different vendor.

According to a piece in Medical Economics, doctors’ concerns include a lack of interoperability, excessively complicated connectivity and networking and problems with mobile device integration.

The survey, which reached out to 17,000 doctors, found that internal medicine docs had the highest rates of satisfaction (89 percent), followed  by family practice (85 percent), general practice (82 percent) and pediatrics.

The unhappiest specialists were nephrologists (88 percent), followed closely by urologists (85 percent) and ophthalmologists (80 percent).

So if a practice is going to switch vendors, what are they looking for? The Medical Economics piece listed five “must-have” features doctors voted for in the Black Book survey:

* vendor viability

* data integration and network sharing

* adoption of mobile devices

* health information exchange support and connectivity

* perfected interfaces with lab, pharmacy, radiology, medical billing partners, and others

Unfortunately, they won’t find it easy to find all of these features in a single EMR.  Of course, you faithful editor isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to EMR products (who could be?) but it seems to me that if even pricier enterprise products seldom offer all of these options, it’s decidedly unlikely that ambulatory products will. (OK, vendor viability is a judgment call, but in a world where so many practices don’t like their EMR, it’s hard to imagine that vendors are at their strongest.)

Folks, the truth is that it looks like we’re coming to a market crash of some kind. Physicians aren’t getting what they need from EMRs, but vendors aren’t keeping up, especially in the realm of specialty EMRs.

As if that wasn’t enough, the threat of fines looms for practices that don’t get their Meaningful Use act together, something they may have trouble doing if they’re in the midst of EMR shopping, installation and adoption.

Time is getting tight, and customers aren’t happy. Ambulatory vendors, what’s your next move?

Verizon Hopes To Be Secure Healthcare Network For All

Posted on September 11, 2012 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.

If you’re like me, you might be wondering how carriers are  looking at their role in the healthcare business — and whether some of their talk about mHealth is just noise.  (I’ve always seen mHealth as a space ripe to be be dominated by applications developers and device manufacturers, not carriers.)

To get my head straight, I recently had a conversation with Dr. Peter Tippett, chief medical officer and vice president of Verizon Connected Health Care. In it, he changed my view of what Verizon is doing in mHealth, and moreover,  what ground Verizon specifically hopes to own in healthcare over the next several years.

When I think Verizon I think switches and routers and cables, not consumer-facing applications and medical devices. And before I talked to Dr. Tippett, I assumed that Verizon’s main healthcare efforts likely involved going head to head with other wireless/wireline connectivity players for connectivity business in some form.

Well, think again.  Verizon’s Connected Health Division, says Tippett, is aiming to set the bar much higher.

“The question is, ‘what happens after wireless data?’,” Dr. Tippett said. “This isn’t a two month plan, this is a strategic extension of Verizon to transform the healthcare industry using our huge capability around the world.”

On the more immediate front, Verizon has mHealth technology under development which, to my mind, would solve a difficult problem.  For five years, he says, Verizon has been developing a new mHealtlh platform which will tie together data from testing devices like blood pressure cuffs, weight scales and EKGs into an analytics engine that makes sense of it all.

“No doctor wants four glucoses a day from 1,000 patients,” Dr. Tippett says. “Just mobilizing the data isn’t enough. You’ve got to create a cloud service that can do big data analytics on it and normalize the data, then trigger the alerts to the right people — including patients.”

I’m going to keep my eye on the mHealth platform, which definitely intrigues me.

But the really big play for Verizon in this space seems to be in HIPAA-secure data hosting and exchange.  Verizon already has a massive presence around hosting, app management, security, identity management and the cloud, having added Cybertrust and Terramark (enterprise hosting) to build up its lineup.

Verizon now offers secure data sharing on multiple levels:

*  A “medical data exchange” — not unlike the exchange banks use to pass transactions back and forth — allowing any member to share information using Verizon’s security services.

* An exchange “identity layer” which is secure enough to allow Schedule 2 drugs to be prescribed. According to Dr. Tippett, 40 percent of doctors in the U.S. are already using it.

* A global network of highly-secured data centers.

Members of the medical ecosystem who use secure Verizon services can consider their HIPAA compliance and security matters handled, then focus on their core business, Dr. Tippett says. And that can scale to hundreds of millions of users on the network, he notes.

Clearly, this doesn’t sound like the broadband carrier talking — these folks are out to take business from players as diverse as Verisign, IBM and the database giants.  It makes sense to me, on the surface, but in any grand vision there are holes to be picked.

You tell me:  Does Verizon sound like it’s positioned right to become the default secure healthcare backbone?

Pilot Tests Use of Tablets To Get Medical Record-Sharing Consent

Posted on March 22, 2012 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.

A Western New York based program has begun testing whether patients can “meaningfully consent” to exchange of their medical data after going over a tablet-based application.

The pilot, which begins in September, will measure whether patients truly understand how their information will be shared. It’s being tested at a hospital and three clinics which already participate in the HEALTHeLINK HIE.  If the project, (which uses technology from APP Design) turns out well, the app will be made available as open-source software.

How does it work?  Well, in essence, patients are handed a tablet in the waiting room, work through an app allowing them to consent to as little or much sharing as they wish through the HIE, and along the way, learn enough to find out whether they’re well advised to do such sharing.

Patients will have the chance to do everything from share everything all the time, forbid all data exchanges, prevent certain organizations from seeing the data and allowing exchange only in emergencies.

By the way, the pilot tickles ONCHIT, which likes the idea of patients getting a better grip on what they’re consenting to when they agree to data exchange between providers.

I think it will take many more form factors and approaches before we’ve got this concept just right, but I’m with the ONC that this is a good issue to take on.  After all, if we’re honest, many of us would have to admit that we’re just waiting for the first lawsuit in which a patient is upset cause data went to that doc in addition to this hospital.

Regardless, it’s more than time that someone take on this issue. The issue of multi-layered patient data sharing over HIEs is a ticking time bomb otherwise.

HIE, RHIO, and Direct Project on Google Plus

Posted on February 9, 2012 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.

The past couple days, a deep and thoughtful conversation has been happening on Google Plus around the idea of HIE, RHIO and the Direct Project. As of this posting, the G+ discussion has generated 80 comments from a broad spectrum of people. If you’re interested in HIE, RHIO, Direct Project or any related healthcare data exchange you’ll want to go read the entire thread.

I’ll just bring out a comment made today by David C. Kibbe that I believe does a pretty good job summarizing a good portion of the conversation. Plus, I think he does a good job describing the various methods of healthcare data exchange. I look forward to hearing from readers about Kibbe’s comments and the other comments in the thread which stand out for others.

Without further ado….David C. Kibbe’s comments:

After re-reading many of these comments, I feel compelled to attempt a few generalizations that (I hope) are based on some observations from the real world of patients, doctors, and hospitals.

First, the majority of health care in the majority of communities in this country is highly fragmented. Sometimes that fragmentation takes the shape of two or three large systems competing with one another. More often there are dozens of small, independent practices of different kinds arrayed near one or more hospitals.

Ownership of these practices, imaging centers, outpatient centers, etc. is in fairly constant transition, with perhaps a slight trend overall towards consolidation. But, in general, most of these communities will face diversity and multiple ownership, and therefore significant fragmentation that is both physical and reflected in information technology systems.

For the patient, this reality is epitomized by having to fill out similar, redundant insurance and medical history forms for each provider visited in the community. Yes, there are exceptions where a particular health care provider is very dominant, and where the “system knows me” wherever I go as a patient. But that is still not the norm, and even those highly integrated systems have their boundaries outside of which communications devolve to paper, mail, telephone, and fax.

As a generalization, there have been two health IT strategies that have dominated the discussion of how to de-fragment community health care systems. One is some version of the community health information network, CHIN. RHIOs, HIEs, and so on. This model seeks to aggregate data from multiple provider enterprises, organize it, and make it available to members. The other is the mega-EHR, which, it is assumed by proponents, will extend its tentacles out into a critical mass of providers, usually from a hospital or group of hospitals, and therefore connect everyone.

The US is a large enough society that it can accommodate both of these “solutions” to the problems inherent in diversity and fragmentation in health care resources. Both of these models are likely to persist well in to the future.

However, what we are now seeing gain some popularity and mindshare is a third model for information and data de-fragmentation in health care, one that is based upon the standards, protocols, and specifications of the Internet, the web, and a network-of-networks architecture. Unlike the other two models, this new model does not require a controlling and centralized (and probably “rent-seeking”) intermediary on the network. This new model, like the Internet, is relatively neutral with respect to operating systems and pre-existing applications. Directed exchange, essentially secure e-mail mediated by a federated trust framework using PKI for point-to-point “push” communications between known participants, is an example of this third model reaching operational status.

To a great many technologists and others involved in health care IT, instances of the new model — let’s call it the Health Internet just to have a name — seems overly simple, even toylike or retrograde, and hardly robust by engineering or health informatics standards. “Why would you want secure e-mail?” I hear every day from health IT experts. “It seems almost stupidly limited and under-powered given the complexity of health care!”

The answer to that kind of question is “Yes, you’re right, Directed exchange, for example, is not very complicated or robust compared to an HIE or an EPIC install. But it might be incredibly low-cost to use and fast-and-easy to deploy; it doesn’t require sophisticated expertise by users, and quite the contrary looks and feels like familiar software, e.g. gmail; and for a whole lot of people who are part of fragmented health care systems it may be “good enough” and their only real alternative for secure health data exchange and connectivity.”

The Health Internet isn’t a substitute for HIEs or for enterprise EHRs. Directed exchange is a “good enough,” better-than-fax solution for the enormous volumes of health information moving across geographical boundaries, outside of EHRs or billing systems. It’s uses will be at the bottom of the health data food chain, the least sexy but still critical exchanges that move data across practices and between hospitals and doctors via fax because they can’t get there any other way cheaply and with minimal technical complexity.

At least that’s the idea….If I were Epic, or the health plans, or a leader of an HIE, I’d embrace the Health Internet for the innovation and efficiency it can offer that part of the health care market that can’t afford your more sophisticated and expensive products. And, in the process, find very large numbers of new customers. Won’t a lot of those be patients and consumers?

Thoughts and Comments from Digital Health Conference in New York

Posted on December 1, 2011 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 think people have enjoyed a collection of my best tweets from the healthcare IT and EMR conferences I’ve been attending. If you don’t like them, let me know in the comments. I think they’re interesting since they’re nuggets of interesting topics. The following tweets come from the Digital Health Conference in New York. It’s been a really well attended event and includes a lot of the real health IT movers and shakers in the New York healthcare scene. Plus, they’ve had some really great content as well.

Here goes (with my comments after the tweet):

Healthcare.gov is an interesting site. Still too new to decide its impact though.

Todd Park did make a pretty compelling case for the healthcare data they’re going to make available from the government and it seems like they’re just getting started. I could see a lot of startups leverage that data in their companies. I wonder what assurance an entrepreneur will get that the data won’t get yanked.

Simple examples like this is why mobile health is so fascinating.

Todd Park really did do a great job. Attendees were commenting on how good he’d done all day. As Matthew Browning said, Practice Makes Perfect!

Obviously a lot of interest in the HIE stuff and in the notifications that they can do.

I know that NYC is large and has a lot of people, but I’m having a hard time understanding how it has 4 RHIO. Are there 4 regions in NYC? I’m sure there’s a long political story behind it.

This is why we’ll always need doctors. It’s just how they do what they do that will change.

Such a good point. If they were actually getting all that information then they’d have reason to complain. Although, we can’t make the systems filter the flood properly when there’s no flood.

Great funding story. I bet there’s even more to it than he shared. I’ll have to get him to share the rest some time.

Great quote from Matthew. I don’t mind a little slow dancing, but the dance floor usually empties for the slow songs and is hopping with the rock songs. This is a pretty systemic problem in healthcare. I met one healthcare salesperson who said he was just contacted about a deal he’d worked on 3 years ago with a hospital. They contacted him to say that they’d finally closed the deal. Too bad this sales person is no longer at the company.

EHR and Encryption, Down Computers and EHR, and State Health Exchanges Might Not Be Sustainable

Posted on November 13, 2011 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 again for our weekend EHR Twitter round up. Let the fun begin.

@ahier – Brian Ahier
#EHR’s need encryption says @HealthPrivacy to Senate panel bitly.com/rTnx6s

Is there an EHR software that doesn’t use encryption? Is there a doctor’s office that’s paying for an EHR that doesn’t use encryption? Certainly not all EHR encryption implementations are created equal. In fact, I wish that things like encrypting data were part of an EHR certification. Why? Cause that’s something you can actually certify in a meaningful manner.

@drmikesevilla – Mike Sevilla, MD
RT @SeattleMamaDoc Computers all down in the exam rooms today. One major limitation of an EMR/EHR (dependence on a computer)

Definitely is one challenge with an EMR/EHR. I wonder how many patients were seen without the chart, because it couldn’t be found quickly. There are always pros and cons to IT. It does highlight the need to have a well thought out plan for how you’re going to care for patients when your EHR is down.

@iWatch – iWatch News
State health exchanges might not be sustainable after $548M in stimulus money runs out: bit.ly/t9QfSl #HIE #EHR

Wait, so changing the name of them from RHIO to HIE didn’t solve any of the problems with these exchanges? Oh yes, I forgot to mention the extra $548 million to help solve the problems. I think this best illustrates that money isn’t the issue or at least there are more issues with HIE than just the money.

Chicago Hospitals Embark On Long HIE Journey

Posted on April 28, 2011 I Written By

I live in Chicago, a highly competitive healthcare market with some world-class medical schools (Northwestern, University of Chicago, Loyola, Rush) and a pretty decent record of EMR adoption. At least four major institutions/health systems run similar Epic EMRs: University of Chicago Medical Center, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Rush University Medical Center and, in the northern suburbs, NorthShore University HealthSystem (formerly Evanston-Northwestern Healthcare).

Three NorthShore hospitals–Evanston Hospital, Glenbrook Hospital and Highland Park Hospital–were among the first in the country to reach Stage 7 on the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model.(NorthShore’s Skokie Hospital since has reached Stage 7). Several others, notably Rush, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in northwest suburban Park Ridge, Mercy Hospital & Medical Center and  Swedish Covenant Hospital, have gotten to Stage 6.

But there’s been very little effort to interconnect these institutions and affiliated physician practices. Even during the RHIO heyday of 2004-07, I don’t recall much interoperability talk in the Chicago area. (In fact, one family physician, Dr. Stasia Kahn, in far west suburban St. Charles, got so frustrated that she formed her own group to promote EMR adoption and health information exchange, Northern Illinois Physicians for Connectivity. I had heard talk for a while of some south suburban hospitals joining in an HIE with counterparts across the state line in Northwest Indiana since Illinois was moving too slowly.)

All of that non-action at the state and regional levels happened under the not-so-watchful eye of one Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who apparently was more preoccupied with his own vanity and “giving healthcare to kids” (while also allegedly trying to blackmail the CEO of Children’s Memorial Hospital into donating to his campaign fund and also slowing Medicaid payments to pay for his All Kids program) than in, you know, actually improving healthcare for everyone by promoting HIE.

In February 2009, shortly after Blagojevich was removed from office and a couple weeks before the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act became law, new Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law allocating $3 million to the state’s Department of Healthcare and Family Services for HIE planning. That laid the groundwork for this week’s widely publicized announcement that the not-for-profit Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council had chosen technology from Microsoft, Computer Sciences Corp. and HealthUnity to build what could be the largest big-city HIE in the country, potentially serving 9.4 million people in nine Illinois counties and small parts of Indiana and Wisconsin.

I bring all of this up because I met yesterday with executives from the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, a 76-year-old coalition of healthcare organizations in and around the city. It just so happened that the 2011 Microsoft Connected Health Conference was in town this week, so it was the perfect time and location for Microsoft to drop the news. According to MCHC Vice President Mary Ann Kelly, more than 70 percent of the council’s 150-some members have made a commitment to participate, and they seem to have a plan to make the HIE effort sustainable.

The exchange will operate on a subscription model, with the vendors taking on some of the risk, Kelly said. “The subscription fee will be based on the benefit each member derives,” Kelly explained.

Initially, the exchange will involve 22 hospitals in nine organizations, said Teresa Jacobsen, the council’s HIE director. “We want to get one or two use cases running first,” she said. They will start by linking emergency departments to exchange clinical summaries and for syndromic surveillance, according to Jacobsen. Once that’s going, the HIE plans on adding medication and allergy lists, diagnostic testing results and Continuity of Care Document reports, as well as additional elements for public health, including immunization records.

It all sounds great, and it’s a good idea for them to start slowly, but I wonder when and if smaller physician practices will get involved. My own physician has had an EMR for a while, but not every doctor in the practice uses it. (The four-physician practice recently upgraded to the Meaningful Use Edition of Sage Intergy and has started the 90-day clock for qualifying for Stage 1 Medicare incentives this year, but there’s essentially zero interoperability with other healthcare entities, unless you consider faxing records to others straight from a computer interoperability. I sure don’t.)

My guess is that scenarios like this are playing out all over the country. I wish them luck, but I’m not counting on nationwide interoperability for many years. For one thing, the federally funded, state-chartered Illinois HIE Authority held its very first organizational meeting Wednesday afternoon. “That’s the biggest wild card we don’t know,” MCHC CFO Dan Yunker said.

It’s key to getting payers—particularly Illinois Medicaid—on board with HIE and linking metropolitan exchange networks across the state and beyond. “Our hospitals in Chicago are responsible for the snowbirds who are in Naples (Florida),” Yunker noted. They’re also responsible for patients who come from places like Rockford, Springfield, Champaign, Carbondale and the Quad Cities for certain specialized services only available in the big city.

Yeah, this interoperability thing isn’t so easy.

Real Participation in RHIO and HIE

Posted on November 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.

Everyone seems to love talking about RHIO, HIE and all of the other various initiatives happening around sharing patient health information amongst doctors. This weekend, I want to open it up to you the readers to get an idea of what type of participation you’ve had in an RHIO, HIE or other clinical data exchange.

Are you participating in one now? Do you like it? Do you hate it? In fact, what do you like and what do you hate? Do you use an EMR to interface with the exchange? What’s the interface like? How much work is it to manage the interface?

I’d also be interested in hearing about people who are working through the process now. Where are you at in the process? What’s holding you up from making this happen?

Let’s help educate each other on what’s happening with something that I think we can all universally agree is important and INCREDIBLY challenging.

Problems with ARRA EMR Stimulus Money

Posted on November 16, 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 read a Healthcare IT article that talks about some of the challenges with the EMR stimulus money. Here’s a couple of the challenges discussed with my commentary.

Albert L. Strunk, MD, representing the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said ACOG is concerned that the measures, while clinical in nature, are not related to adoption of electronic medical records. “The meaningful use measures for ARRA should determine whether a physician has met the objectives shown in the meaningful use matrix, not whether the EMR is being used to report clinical quality measures that rarely apply to that physician’s patients,” he said.

I think this is an interesting analysis. Clinical quality measures are one of the main goals of having an EMR. However, very few doctors look at it that way. I think they will get the incentives wrong if they focus on the clinical quality measures and not on the features of an EMR that benefit the doctor. I’m still sticking with my original analysis that the government really wants doctors to have an EMR so they can improve the Medicare reimbursement rates (in their favor of course).

Another section about interoperable EMR software:

Experts at the hearing testified that providers are willing to wait to purchase a HIT system until they know it will be interoperable. They said physicians from small practices often interact with more than five community hospitals and several labs, each with a different system. Doctors need to know that whatever electronic health record they buy will work with the systems the labs and hospitals have.

I don’t personally get the feeling that most doctors care about interoperability when making their EMR selection. Ok, let me clarify. They want it to connect with their lab and hospital. However, most don’t worry about it interacting with other doctors offices in a true interoperable fashion. The problem is that interoperability between a doctors office and hospitals/labs is not the same as what most people consider an interoperable EMR. I’m talking about EMR software talking to other EMR software (or an RHIO or HIE). Most doctors don’t care about this. At least not more than all the other financial issues related to EMR.