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EHR Partner Programs

Posted on May 22, 2015 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.

Amazing Charts just announced a new EHR partner program. This isn’t something that’s particularly new for EHR vendors. They all have lots of partners. Some have formalized them into a program like athenahealth has done with their More Disruption Please (MDP) program. Others are much more quiet about the partners they work with and how they work with them.

What’s clear to me in the EHR industry is that an EHR vendor won’t be able to do everything. There are some that like to try (See Epic), but even the largest EHR vendor isn’t going to be able to provide all the services that are needed by a healthcare organization. This is true for ambulatory and hospitals.

Since an EHR vendor won’t be able to do everything, it makes a lot of sense for an EHR vendor to have some sort of partners program. The challenge for an EHR vendor is that a partner program comes with two major expectations. First, the partner has a high quality integration with the EHR software. Second, that the partner is something that the EHR vendor has vetted.

The first challenge is mostly a challenge because most EHR vendors aren’t great at integrating with outside companies. This is a major culture shift for many EHR vendors and it will take time for them to get up to speed on these types of integrations. Plus, these integrations do take some time and investment on the part of the EHR vendor. When there’s time and investment involved, the EHR vendor starts to be much more selective about which companies they want to be working with long term. They don’t want to spend their time and money integrating with a company which none of its users will actually use.

The second challenge is that EHR users assume that an EHR partner is one that’s been vetted by the EHR vendor. Even if the EHR vendor puts all sorts of disclaimers on their partner page, the EHR vendor is still associated with their partners. The written disclaimers might help you avoid legal issues, but working with shady partners can do a lot of damage to your reputation and credibility in the marketplace. I actually think this is probably the biggest reason that EHR vendors have been reluctant to implement partner programs.

I think over time we’ll see the first problem solved as EHR vendors work to standardize their APIs for partner companies. As those APIs become more mature, we’ll see much deeper EHR integrations and the costs to an EHR vendor will drop dramatically when it comes to new partner integrations.

The second problem is much harder to solve. My best suggestion for EHR vendors is to create a platform which allows your users to help you vet potential partners. Not only can they participate in the vetting process, but it can also help you know which partners would be useful to your users. Is there anything more valuable than user driven partnerships? It also puts you in a good position with potential partners if you already have users interested in the integration.

However, an EHR vendor shouldn’t just leave potential partnership requests to their users. Many of their users don’t know of all the potential partner companies. Users are so busy dealing with their day jobs that they often don’t know of all the potential companies that could benefit their practice or hospital. Certainly you should accept user input on potential partnerships, but an EHR vendor should also seed the potential partner feedback platform with a list of potential partners as well. The mix of an EHR vendor created list together with user generated partner lists is much more powerful than one or the other.

We’re just at the beginning of companies partnering and integrating with EHR vendors. I expect that over the next 5 years an EHR vendor will be defined as much by the organizations it chooses to partner with as the features and functions it chooses to develop itself.

Practical Application of Watson with EHR

Posted on July 24, 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.

Ever since Watson made its debut on Jeopardy, I haven’t been able to not check out what Watson was doing next. No doubt what Watson did on Jeopardy was impressive. However, it’s one thing to do what it did on Watson. It’s another thing to commercialize the Watson into something useful.

I’d long been hearing that Watson was going to be great for healthcare IT and that healthcare would really benefit from the technology. However, everything I saw felt very conceptual as opposed to practical and implemented. So, I was really interested in talking with Modernizing Medicine about their EHR integration with Watson.

You can find my interview with Daniel Cane and Dr. Michael Sherling, Founders of Modernizing Medicine, talking about Watson and some of the other cool ways they’re trying to help doctors make use of the data in an EHR in the video below. Plus, we even talk ICD-10 and MU 2 delay as well.

Note: Modernizing Medicine is a Healthcare Scene advertiser.

DrFirst Shifts to EHR Platform Company

Posted on February 8, 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.

If you haven’t yet seen this video that DrFirst created for HIMSS 2012 and the HIMSS Healthcare Hero, then you need to watch it now. It’s a really beautiful video: http://bit.ly/AnNvzU

After seeing such a well made video, I definitely wondered what was up DrFirst’s sleeve at HIMSS 2012. So, I reached out and today I had the chance to talk with Cam Deemer President of DrFirst about the transition that’s happening at DrFirst.

I think that most of us have known DrFirst as an ePrescribing company. Since about 2004 they have been extremely focused on the ePrescribing area and that shows in the fact that DrFirst is the “ePrescribing Inside” 230 EHR companies. That’s a really impressive number and includes a client list with such names as GE and Greenway.

DrFirst is ready to make a shift which they’ll be talking about at HIMSS in Las Vegas. What I think makes DrFirst’s ePrescribing platform really interesting is that they can provide it using the DrFirst interface or an EHR vendor can customize it to their liking using a series of API calls. It takes a unique company and a unique set of skills to be able to do this effectively. Now imagine they provide these same functions and features across a whole array of EHR related products and services. By doing so, DrFirst becomes a really interesting EHR Platform.

You can find DrFirst at HIMSS to get the entire list of the products and services that they’ll be offering to EHR software vendors beyond just ePrescribing. However, I was really intrigued when they talked about their EHR platform providing compliance programs, patient education, and even co-pay discounts which help with medication compliance. I wouldn’t say that any of these things on their own are all that interesting. They are however things that a small EHR vendor wouldn’t have the time or the resources to be able to execute properly. For those EHR vendors who use the DrFirst interface, they can be turned on with the flip of an online switch.

Now just imagine a whole suite of other EHR services that DrFirst could provide EHR vendors as well. It becomes a really interesting value proposition. Plus, DrFirst also has a number of interesting solutions in the hospital market that also leverages this platform. Things like medication history for hospitals and a lab platform.

At the end of the day, EHR vendors are going to decide if this is a value added service or not. Many larger EHR vendors are going to develop a number of these features themselves and that should be expected. I just see it as a really healthy thing to have these type of EHR platform services available. Many EHR vendors have been so swamped with meaningful use and EHR certification, it’s great that a third party integration could continue to add real value to an EHR software.

The real challenge for DrFirst is going to be around how well they integrate these new EHR service offerings into the various EHR software vendors. If the integration is clean and adds value, they’re going to do very well. If it’s kludgy (a software term for messy) and doesn’t integrate well, then we won’t see much adoption. I think their current 230 EHR integrations are one sign that it will go smooth, but we’ll see.

My next question to consider is how DrFirst could extend their platform next. I can think of a number of mobile health companies that could benefit from the right connection to prescription data or to doctors. I’ll be pressing them at HIMSS to find out what’s next. I hope you will too and come back and share what you find out.

On a side note, I just got the list of things DrFirst is doing at their HIMSS 12 booth. It’s extensive and will be a can’t miss booth. Watch for the details in my upcoming HIMSS 12 exhibitor post.

Full Disclosure: DrFirst is an advertiser on EMRandHIPAA.com.