I’ve gotten a couple emails from people suggesting that I should write about the current and potential EMR backlog that is happening in the healthcare IT industry. It’s something I’ve discussed tangentially when talking about EMR and the ARRA EMR stimulus money. Basically, some EMR companies have been making the case that doctors and clinics need to make there EMR selection now in order to avoid the EMR backlog that will occur for an EMR vendor once we know the full details of “certified EHR” and “meaningful use.”
Once preliminary certification begins in October, EHR demand should surge. Although the market is currently slow, many vendors have installation backlogs. Preliminary certification may cause those backlogs to increase. Physicians who are in the “wait and see” mode will need to make a decision quickly. Waiting could result in long delays that may jeopardize the ability to qualify for the first year of reimbursements. One alternative is to purchase a simple system. Simple systems take much less time to install, so backlogs are not a problem. Simple systems are also easier to learn, meaning you do not use as much valuable time for training instead of seeing patients. Finally, simple systems are easy to use, giving you more time to qualify for meaningful use. Be sure to ask any EHR vendor if they have any backlogs, and how long it takes to implement their system. Their answer will tell you if their system is simple.
This type of tongue and cheek style of writing is right up my alley. It makes a really interesting point and you can’t help but laugh when you get to the end.
Some might argue that the EMR is so good that the demand for it is so high and that’s what creates the EMR backlog and not the fact that the EMR isn’t simple to use and requires a lot of training and work to implement. I’d suggest that the EMR backlog is probably a combination of high demand for that EMR and the EMR not being very easy to implement/use. However, the high demand for most of the EMRs with a backlog has little to do with how great the EMR is and has more to do with that EMR company’s ability to market and sell their EMR.