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A Look Back on My 2012 Christmas Wish List

Posted on December 26, 2013 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.

Last year, I posted a healthcare IT Christmas Wish list. A year later, I thought it would be fun if I got what I wanted for Christmas last year or not (yes, it takes healthcare at least a year to grant wishes).

Here’s the list and my thoughts on how far we’ve come on each wish:

1. Open EHR Systems – We’re certainly not there yet, but I think there has been a sea change when it comes to opening up EHR software. I’m sure some could appropriately argue that we still have a long way to go, but let me give you some examples from Epic that give me cause for hope. First, this Epic Interoperability chart that Judy shared. Second, Kaiser joined the Epic network. Third, the Epic API.

It’s fun to use Epic as a proxy for openness because they’ve been so closed for so long. Judy Faulkner was after all the one that suggested that open EHR was an issue for patients. I’d love to see EHR more open, but I’m excited by the possibilities of open EHR. I believe this will have to happen and vendors who fight against it will be left behind.

2. Remove Healthcare’s Perverse Incentives – Sadly, I’ve seen almost no change to this yet. One area where I think this could be starting to change is around price transparency. There’s been a strong push to make healthcare pricing more transparent. As more and more patients have high deductible plans (like me), we start to shop around a lot more and be more interested in price. When we’re footing the bill, that price translates to our cost. This will cause companies to change how they do business.

3. Beautiful EHR User Interfaces – I’ve seen very little change in this regard. Sure, a few have rolled out an iPad interface, but I think they’ve missed out on the iPad Opportunity. Although, I recently saw the Modernizing Medicine iPad interface again in person. It’s so fundamentally different than every other EHR interface I’ve seen. While it demonstrates well the opportunity, it’s so fundamentally different that I’m not sure any existing EHR vendors can replicate it. I ask myself if we’ve spent billions of dollars on EHR user interfaces that can’t be what they should become.

4. More Empowered and Trusted Patients – I’m sure we’ll be battling this one for a long time to come. Although, the empowered patient is happening. Health information is available to everyone at the click of the mouse or a swipe of the finger. This shift is going to happen. There is nothing anyone can do to stop it. It’s more a question of whether people will embrace it or “kick against the pricks.”

Overall I’d say that we’re generally trending towards my wish list, but as is usually the case there is plenty more to do. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above items.

All I Want for Christmas…

Posted on December 24, 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.

My family and I are in final preparations for Christmas. It’s an exciting time for me. I love everything about the season. I don’t stress over gift giving. I wallow in the joy of getting to spend money on someone I love. I don’t mind the crowds at the mall. I love the hustle, bustle, excitement and energy with everyone running around. Add in some Christmas music that reminds me of many wonderful Christmas’ past. It’s a wonderful time to me.

As I consider Christmas, my two favorite parts of Christmas is giving someone something they’ve always wanted and dreaming of the things that I would love to get for Christmas. So, in that vain, let’s dream about what I’d want for Christmas from an EMR and Healthcare IT perspective.

1. Open EHR Systems – I wish that every healthcare IT system would embrace truly open APIs and that the healthcare data would start flowing. I can only imagine the amazing benefits to healthcare if vendors would just embrace open exchange of healthcare data. It’s the right thing to do and can also be a tremendous business opportunity.

2. Remove Healthcare’s Perverse Incentives – It always pains me to see so many perverse incentives in healthcare. I applaud the many many doctors who do the right thing regardless of the incentive. However, we’d be in a lot better position if we had more than the good nature of doctors driving things. One simple example, can we finally reimburse a doctor for their time spent on an email or video visit on a website? In a large percentage of cases that’s more than sufficient. Yet, the current healthcare incentives “force” a doctor to have you come to the office in order to get paid. That’s perverse and sad.

3. Beautiful EHR User Interfaces – I must acknowledge that we’ve made some real progress on the EHR UI. You should have seen the UI’s we were dealing with when I started blogging 7 years ago. We’re measurably ahead of where we were then. However, with 300+ EHR companies we still have a lot of room to improve the EHR user interface. EHR is the heart of a practice and the better the UI the better the heart. We all know how important a heart is to your health.

4. More Empowered and Trusted Patients – Imagine where the patient was a full participant in their healthcare. That includes being trusted and listened to by their doctor and a patient who thoughtfully considers and listens to their doctor. This is not a one sided issue. This is something that both patients and doctors can improve. There are as many belligerent patients as their are arrogant doctors. We need a good dose of humility, care and trust re infused into healthcare. I think they only way we’ll get there is for the lines of communication to open up on an unprecedented level.

Those are a few of my Christmas wishes. Whether you celebrate Christmas or some other Holiday tradition, I’d love to hear what you’d love to see happen in healthcare. And to those of you who do enjoy Christmas, Merry Christmas!