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PHR Are Like Early Email

Posted on July 31, 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.

In response to Anne Zieger’s post on PHR, John Tempesco offered this powerful insight that’s worth sharing:

PHRs will become popular when the patients don’t have to enter most of the data themselves. As more and more EHRs and HIEs begin to automatically interact with PHRs and patients have one central place to go for all their health information, they’ll catch on. Having a PHR now is like the early adopters of cell phones or email – there are few people to have conversations with.

It’s a really interesting comparison to email in the early days. I unfortunately wasn’t on email early on so I can’t say exactly what it was like, but I’ve heard stories. The interesting thing is that HIE’s seem to be suffering some of the same problem. HIE’s are often like early email since only a few people are on board with it. Plus, imagine if email required some sort of third party agreement to let you email each other?

EHR software on the other hand could become widely adopted and connected to a PHR. The biggest problem there is the major lack of standards for sending that health information. Until we solve the standards problem, I don’t think a PHR will be able to connect to the hundreds of EHR software vendors.

EHR Vendors and ONC Need to Rebrand CCD

Posted on April 18, 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.

A really interesting point came out of the discussion in the comments of my post titled “What Information an HIE Should Pass?” Here’s one of my responses:

I think what you describe is that the branding of the CCD isn’t right for doctors. Instead of saying that they can get a CCD document from a doctor which sounds technical and scary they need to hear that they’re going to get an “Electronic Note” transferred from a doctor. If in reality that’s a CCD document that gets converted into a beautifully displayed “note” for the doctor, they don’t really care. That’s semantics which don’t matter to them. Your “football” naming goes towards these same lines, but I think that actually naming it a “football” will confuse doctors more. It works great as a way to describe what’s happening, but they’d get lost wondering how football had to do with a note. I actually think this is an important point that’s worthy of its own blog post.

Of course this discussion is really about branding and communication. It’s not about the technical details of a CCD (Continuity of Care Document) document (That’s a topic for another discussion). I believe the problem probably lies in the fact that most of the technical people I know behind standards like CCD are more worried about the technical details and don’t realize the importance of how those technical details translate for those not entrenched in the standards creation.

Most of them know the ins and outs of CCD so well that many probably don’t realize that those outside of the standards creation really don’t have a clue of the realities of what CCD will do for them. Even just saying the name CCD starts the confusion for many. Certainly there are exceptions to this, but most doctors couldn’t care less about the standards details.

Here’s something a physician understands:
Your physician notes are being transferred to another doctor.
or
You’re receiving physician notes from another doctor.

What they have a hard time processing is:
You can send a CCD document to another doctor.
or
You’ve got a CCD document from another doctor.

Sure, there are subtle nuances between physician note and CCD, but those can be communicated as well. Maybe physician note isn’t the exact right word either, but I think it gets closer to communicating what’s really happening then saying a CCD document.

Regardless, we need to do a better job communicating what’s happening. I know a lot of doctors that would love to transfer a physician note. I don’t know many that care about CCD documents.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 Standards Video – Meaningful Use Monday

Posted on April 2, 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.

Self proclaimed Standards Geek for GE Healthcare, Keith Boone, did a good presentation covering the meaningful use stage 2 standards along with briefly covering the meaningful use stage 1 standards and looking at the standards we might see beyond meaningful use stage 2. This meaningful use stage 2 standards presentation was done at the Crossing the Infrastructure and HITECH Meaningful Use Divide conference.

If you’re into healthcare standards, then you’ll enjoy this video. If you get confused or just don’t care about the various alphabet soup standards, then you won’t find this video that interesting or likely useful.

I think this video also illustrates a couple important points. First, healthcare standards are pretty complex. Second, a lot of thought and effort has been put towards these standards. Thanks to meaningful use and the EHR incentive money, EHR vendors don’t really have too much choice on whether to adopt these standards or not any more. Although, as Keith point out, these are just proposed standards. The meaningful use stage 2 feedback period is still open, so I encourage you to provide your comments during this period. ONC does listen to this feedback and do its best to incorporate it in the final rule.

As a side note, if you like EHR and Health IT videos, be sure to check out this EMR & EHR Video website. We just passed the 200th video posted on that site. Plus, I just did some math using our analytics programs and we’ve had about 432 hours of video watched on that site this year.

Guest Post: Overcoming EMR Integration Challenges

Posted on September 15, 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.

Dan Neuwirth is the CEO of MedCPU, provider of the innovative MedCPUAdvisor™ platform: with applications for decision support for clinical guidelines, Meaningful Use, and care pathways, that captures the complete clinical picture in real time, including narrative text and structured data to deliver the most accurate clinical and compliance guidance.

There’s no question that healthcare needs to adopt new technology that makes us more effective and efficient and curbs costs, like Electronic Medical Records (EMR) solutions and Clinical Decision Support (CDS) systems. In today’s world, providers of all sizes continue to find it challenging to integrate existing HIT systems with EMRs for a variety of reasons. As our industry evolves, technology solutions need to be smarter and empower seamless integration.

EMR and HIPAA guest author Susan White covers in depth how a lack of connectivity standards affects EMR integration. There are no mandated standards for EMR vendors to follow, making it hard to coordinate data sharing between medical devices and other systems (including from one EMR to another), even at the same facility. As those systems operate in disparate fashions, critical clinical information is often lost or stuck in silos. Most importantly, the information is not where clinicians need it most–at their fingertips, in an exam room, with a patient.

This lack of data sharing is a pervasive concern. One Markle report finds that roughly 80 percent of both consumers and physicians demand that hospitals and doctors be required to share information that improves coordination of care, cuts unnecessary costs, and reduces medical errors.

In 2010, more than $88 Billion were spent on developing and implementing EHRs, health information exchanges (HIEs) and other health IT initiatives. When you consider that the average 10-physician practice spends more than $137,000 per year on prior authorizations and pharmacy callbacks alone, you’ll have to agree that the lack of data integration and sharing get very costly. And although I agree with John Halamka, who recently wrote these challenges exist because healthcare is inherently more complicated than other industries, I am a strong believer that a lot of them can be overcome by the use of smart technology.

We need smart, flexible solutions, which capitalize on existing technologies and require minimal integration. Technologies that employ advanced screen extraction, for example, empower several important improvements in the clinical decision support space such as the capturing and analysis of both free and structured text. A lot of time such solutions are rendered ineffective as they either lack compatibility with leading EMR systems or are too hard to integrate.

As the industry evolves, developing robust protocols for capturing both structured and unstructured data along with standards for data integration and sharing will become increasingly important. With all the data points created on patients every day, we will need a consistent, secure, and reliable way to capture and share patient data among all systems and healthcare providers. What is your experience? What are top data capturing and integration challenges faced by your organization? Looking forward to continuing the dialog and hearing your feedback.