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EMR Market is Growing, But It’s Not What It Was

Posted on September 11, 2013 I Written By

James Ritchie is a freelance writer with a focus on health care. His experience includes eight years as a staff writer with the Cincinnati Business Courier, part of the American City Business Journals network. Twitter @HCwriterJames.

The EMR market is likely to grow at more than 7 percent per year through 2016, according to a new report.

The estimate comes from London-based research and advisory firm TechNavio. The company wrote in its analysis, “Global Hospital-based EMR Market 2012-2016,” that “demand for advanced health monitoring systems” and for cloud-computing services were major contributors to demand.

On the other hand, according to the company, implementation costs could be a limiting factor.

The TechNavio figure is actually a compound annual growth rate of 7.46 percent. That means substantial opportunity for the many companies referenced in the report, including Cerner Corp., Epic Systems Corp., AmazingCharts Inc. and NextGen Healthcare, to name a few.

Another research firm, Kalorama Information, in April reported that the EMR market reached nearly $21 billion in 2012, up 15 percent from the year before, driven by hospital upgrades and government incentives.

About 44 percent of U.S. hospitals had at least a basic EHR in 2012, up from 12 percent in 2009, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

In the United States, at least, future growth might require more resources and creativity to achieve. You might remember the recent post “The Golden Era of EHR Adoption is Over,” by Healthcare Scene’s John Lynn, positing that the low-hanging fruit for EMR vendors, the market of early adopters and the “early majority,” is gone, leaving a pool of harder-to-convince customers.

But the TechNavio report is broader, considering not only the Americas but also Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. That’s truly a mixed bag, as while health IT is at a preliminary stage in many developing markets, it’s highly advanced in countries such as Norway, Australia and the United Kingdom, where, according to the Commonwealth Fund, EMR adoption by primary-care physicians exceeds 90 percent.

When EMR initiatives get a firmer foothold in countries such as China, where cloud-based solutions could well prevail, growth rates for those areas might exceed — several times over — the overall figure predicted by TechNavio.

And in the United States, certain pockets, such as the rural hospital market, still present huge opportunity. Fewer than 35 percent of rural hospitals had at least a basic EMR in 2012, but the enthusiasm is clearly there, as that number was up from only 10 percent in 2010, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

It looks like it’s still a great time to be an EMR vendor. But it’s not the same market that it was even a couple of years ago, and success in the new era might require looking at new markets and approaches.

EMR “Ambulance” Chasing Lawyers

Posted on October 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.

When I look around at EMR, I see so many opportunities for lawyers to do a ton of work. I’m not sure it will be all that much more than we see in the paper world, but there is that possibility. One challenge with paper charts is that despite some controls that are put in place, there really isn’t a good way to audit access of a paper chart. We really don’t know the scope of HIPAA violations that might have occurred without a single shred of evidence.

Turn that over to the EMR world where EMR software is chock full of audit controls. You can’t so much as click your mouse without a good EMR software tracking every click, keystroke, swipe, and touch. In most cases I think this is a really good thing. The simple fact that it is watching and tracking who is doing what is a great force in getting people to do what they’re suppose to be doing.

The challenge though is with everything now logged, it leaves open the opportunity to be questioned about every move. This is disconcerting for many EMR users. My fear is that with this new EMR tracking, how long until we have lawyers chasing EMR software?

Of course, the idea of an audit log is just one example of where lawyers could get involved with EMR software. What about lawyers and EMR software experts chasing after poorly designed EMR software that impacts patient lives.

Imagine that EMR software A has a bug in its drug to drug interaction checker and the doctor prescribes a drug that ends up causing the drug interaction and severe harm to the patient. Seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen. Once this is found, will we start seeing commercials from lawyers trying to find patients whose doctor uses that same EMR and might have had the same issue occur?

Thankfully, I have yet to see much of this going on, but where there’s money to be made it will happen. Just give it time.

What I have seen and heard about was some cases between doctors and EMR companies themselves. These are ugly and we rarely hear many details about them because EMR companies pay insane amounts of money to make sure it’s kept quiet. It’s amazing what you can be paid to be an EMR expert witness. I guess I have a fallback job if the EMR blogging doesn’t work out.

Over 600 EHR Vendors

Posted on April 11, 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 little while back I was having an email exchange with Eric Fishman of EMR Consultant about the number of EHR companies out there. I’ve been interested in this number ever since I created my list of EMR & EHR Companies many years ago.

Eric recalled the the exhaustive EMR Consultant list of EMR Companies topped out well below 400 and even fell below 300 companies prior to the HITECH Act. That’s an interesting number when you consider that their list now contains well over 600 EHR vendors listed. Plus, they don’t necessarily include all of the modular EHR products out there.

I think these lists help give us a good understanding of why it’s so hard for doctors, practice managers and others in the EMR industry to differentiate the various EMR companies. Eric has created a website called EHR Scope which allows you filter through the 600+ EHR companies using 14 parameters including things like ONC-ATCB certified. Plus, there original product, EMR Consultant, matches on over 50,000 data points. Plus, this doesn’t count the EHR companies that are no longer around. What a great resource that Eric’s built up over time. I can’t imagine the work it took to get all that info.

All I can say is that that’s a lot of EHR software. Plus, I’m sure that Eric like me is finding out about a new EHR company every week. Many of which don’t want to have any press since they’re still working through their beta period and product development period.

This all reminds me of a post I did last year about an EHR company “cutting through all the noise.” If over the past couple years we’ve gone from 300 EHR companies to now 600 EHR companies. That’s a lot of noise.

What other methods do you use to “cut through the noise” as you evaluate EHR companies?

I think I’m ready to adjust my number of EHR companies to 600.

Full Disclosure: EMR Consultant has been an advertiser on this site since something like 2007 before EMR became EHR.

GE Centricity Advance Ceasing Operations

Posted on January 26, 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.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk with the people from GE who briefed me that GE is in the process of shutting down their GE Centricity Advance product line. This was pretty big news to me since I remember just last year at HIMSS meeting with GE and hearing that for the small practice (I believe 1-10 docs) GE Centricity Advance was where they were putting all their effort. You could see the energy they had behind it. In fact, their iPad EHR app was built on top of the GE Centricity Advance solution (which is now being moved to their other EHR product lines).

You might remember that the GE Centricity Advance solution was actually created out of the purchase of MedPlexus in March 2010. At the time, MedPlexus had 100 employees out of California with the development team out of India. At the time of purchase it seemed GE’s acquisition would provide a SaaS based EHR option to the independent physician market. Plus, MedPlexus (which became GE Centricity Advance) also provided an integrated Practice Management System with the EHR.

The GE Centricity Advance website is already forwarding to the Centricity Practice Solution website and a letter was sent out to all Centricity Advance customers informing them that the product line was ceasing operation. I’ve asked for a copy of that letter and if I get it, I’ll add it to this post (or if you’re a customer that received it and doesn’t mind sharing we’d welcome it).

I was told that GE is offering Centricty Advance users a free transfer to their Centricity Practice Solution EHR software. From what they told me it seems this will include data migration, training on the new system and a license for Centricity Practice Solution. Of course, Centricity Advance was paid on a subscription model so they’ll have to continue paying the monthly fee. As with most data migrations, I don’t think we’ll know how good GE is at migrating the data from GE Centricity Advance to Centricity Practice Solution until they start to do them.

Since both Centricity Advance and Centricity Practice Solution have ONC-ATCB complete EHR certification, there shouldn’t be any problems for those that transfer to Centricity Practice Solution when it comes to EHR stimulus money. Those not wanting to move to the Centricity Practice Solution will have this as part of their decision on what to do once Centricity Advance is no longer supported. I expect there will be many in this situation since while Centricity Practice Solution is available through GE’s partners as a “SaaS” offering, I think many will want to find a true from the ground up web based SaaS EHR offering.

I asked how many providers would be effected by the end of the Centricity Advance product line, but it’s GE’s policy to not comment on those numbers.

Where does this leave GE Centricity EMR software?
GE Healthcare IT still does a couple billion dollars of business and still has three EMR software offerings:
*Centricity Practice Solution – The replacement for Centricity Advance and will be GE’s EMR offering for the 1-100 provider practices.
*Centricity EMR – Still ambulatory EMR, but for the 100+ provider practices.
*Centricity Enterprise – Acute care EMR

I’m sure that many will wonder how good the Centricity Practice Solution will do in the small practice arena. Will this basically mean that GE is no longer a player in the small 1-10 provider practices? It’s hard to say for sure, but I’ll be interested to see how the Centricity Practice Solution EHR does in this market. There must have been a reason they purchased what became Centricity Advance instead of going with Centricity Practice Solution in the first place.

On the other hand, I could see people making the argument that this is a sound strategy by GE since movements like accountable care organizations (ACO’s) and related initiatives are putting the small practice in jeopardy. We know that many hospital systems are purchasing up group practices as they prepare to become an ACO among other reasons. While we still have many small group practices, it’s worth considering how many of them will survive the changing landscape. If not many survive, then this strategy by GE could end well for them. Although, I personally believe that practice consolidation is cyclical and so I’m not ready to announce the death of small group practices yet.

Another trend that might make this a good decision on GE’s part is what I call the Smart EHR. Our current phase of EHR adoption is basically converting paper to electronic. Once doctors start requiring EHR software to do things far more advanced (see Artificial Intelligence and Genomics EHR), it will require a new kind of EHR. Maybe Centricity Advance wasn’t prepared to make this shift. We’ll see if GE’s other EHR software is ready for it.

Many have argued that EHR consolidation is inevitable. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that part of that EHR consolidation is happening within the same EHR company. I’m sure there are more on the way as we see which EHR companies survive the meaningful use winter and come out on the other side and which EHR companies close up shop.

Update: I asked GE for some more clarification on when GE Centricity Advance would be sunset and which data they’ll be migrating as part of the data migration process. Here are their answers:
Sunset Period: We have announced that we will cease operations of Centricity Advance on June 30, 2012. The data will be available in read-only mode until December 31, 2012.

Data Migration: We are working with our partners and customers to figure out the best way to migrate data. We have told customers that we will migrate the following data:
a. Patient Demographics, Patient Insurance data, Fee Schedules, Appointments
b. Patient Summary
c. Patient chart
We will migrate all clinical data. We are working with our partners to determine which financial information should be automatically migrated.

My 2012 EMR and Health IT Wish List

Posted on January 3, 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.

As I said in my previous EMR and Health IT in 2012 post, I’m going to create some of my own lists for 2012. I decided to tackle the first one on the list: My 2012 EMR and Health IT Wish List. This was kind of fun to think about. I’m also sure that I’ll come up with other ideas once this is posted, so don’t be surprised if I add things to this list in a future post.

I should also note that I’m not sure any of these things are going to happen in 2012. In fact, I bet that many of them aren’t, but this list isn’t about what is going to happen. This list is about what I wish would happen.

EHR Companies Would Embrace Interoperability – It’s an incredible shame that in 2012 we still don’t have interoperable health records. EHR companies need to get off the stump and make this a reality. The technology is already there and has been there for a while. EHR companies need to start making this dead simple because it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes doing the right thing is more important than the bottom line. Plus, doing the right thing ends up often being the best long term strategy for your bottom line as well.

Start doing what’s right and making your EHR interoperable!

Meaningful Use Would Go Away – I’m actually certain that this one won’t be happening in 2012, but I wish it would. I guess there’s a small chance that it could go away if Republicans take control of Washington and start slashing everything Obama related. However, I have a feeling that even then meaningful use will find its way back into Washington. There’s too much invested in it.

My reasoning for wanting meaningful use gone is clear. It provides a perverse incentive to providers and often incentivizes them to choose an EHR software that doesn’t work well for their practice. As I’ve mentioned in some recent posts, far too many clinics are so focused on meaningful use and EHR incentive money that they’re ignoring the real and tangible business cases for implementing an EHR in their clinic. I think this is a bad thing for healthcare and EHR software in general. The short term bump in EHR adoption won’t be worth the cost of EHR implementations focused on the wrong criteria.

I also really hate how meaningful use has hijacked the software development cycle of pretty much every EHR vendor out there. This is a real travesty since rather than developing for user/customer requirements EHR vendors are developing for a criteria. Talk about a perfect method for destroying innovation. This is a real travesty in my opinion.

Of course, I’m a realist and realize that meaningful use isn’t going away. We have to make the most with what we’re given and live with the realities that exist. However, in this New Year Wish list, I wish that meaningful use would be a past memory.

New Healthcare Model that Provides Care, Not Reimbursement – I’m sure many of you might be thinking that I’m calling for ACO’s in this wish list item. We’ll see how ACO’s evolve, but my gut tells me that the ACO model still won’t make the fundamental change that I wish would happen in healthcare. There’s far too much focus on reimbursement the way our healthcare is structured today. I’m not arguing that doctors and other healthcare professionals not get paid what they deserve. I’m just wishing that there was more focus on care for patients and less worry on maximizing the reimbursement.

How does this have to do with health IT and EHR? I’ve long argued that the biggest bane to EHR systems is the onerous reimbursement requirements. I can’t imagine how much healthcare could benefit from fabulous EHR systems if the energy spent on maximizing reimbursement were spent on improving patient care.

Diabetes Prevention App – I’ll admit that this is a little personal. I come from a long line of diabetes in the genes and I love sweets far too much. I’m pretty much destine to be a diabetic. I think that mHealth apps can have amazing power if done correctly. My wish is for someone to create a Diabetes app that will help me overcome the seeming destiny I have in this regard. The key will probably be illustrating in a profound way the impact of the choices I’m making.

Of course, you could insert hundreds of other chronic illnesses into this wish list too. I’d love to see mobile health work to solve those as well.

A True Patient Identifier – I realize that America is a large place, but we’re also a really creative country that can figure out creative solutions to problems. The lack of a true patient identifier is a challenge and a problem in healthcare. I’d love to see this problem finally resolved. I think every EHR company would rejoice at this as well.

Real EMR Differentiation – My heart absolutely goes out to doctors, practice managers and others who have the unenviable job of trying to sift through the 300+ EMR companies. I’d love for some EMR companies to really do something so innovative to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack.

No doubt part of this problem is what I stated above about meaningful use. Hard to create innovation and differentiation in EHR when you have to develop for a government list of requirements.

EHR Data Liberation – I’ve wanted EHR data Liberation for a long time, but I think in 2012 this is one thing on the list that could become a reality. It’s a bit of a long shot, but I think there’s potential for this to happen.

My gut tells me that if we can find a way to liberate the data that’s stored in EHR software, then we’d see a dramatic increase in adoption of EHR. One of the major concerns doctors have with selecting an EHR is that once they select an EHR they know they’re locked in with that EHR for the long run. If a doctor knew that they could switch EHR software if they made a bad choice, then they’d be much more likely to pull the trigger on EHR adoption.

We need a wave of EHR vendors that aren’t afraid of liberating their EHR data, because they:
1. Know that their EHR software is so good users won’t leave
2. Know that if someone wants to leave their EHR software it’s better that they find one that’s good for them than the few extra dollars the EHR company will make off an unhappy user.

How’s that for a wish list? I think achieving these things would do an amazing amount of good in healthcare and EHR. Of course, I won’t be holding my breathe on any of them happening any time soon. That doesn’t mean I won’t keep holding out hope.

The iPad Opportunity – A Decent EMR Interface

Posted on November 4, 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.

Yesterday, I created a post on EMR & EHR called The Must Have EMR Feature – An iPad Interface. that post has driven quite a bit of discussion on Twitter and Google Plus. One comment from @2charlie hit me the most though:

2charlie – Charlie Gaddy
A decent web interface wouldn’t hurt either. RT @ehrandhit: The Must Have EMR Feature – An iPad Interface dlvr.it/tYkN7

Charlie’s twitter response highlights a number of interesting ideas. The first point that every SaaS EHR company will point out is that he said a web interface. We could go into the semantics of what is “the web”, but I have little doubt that Charlie meant a browser based interface when he said web. I’ll leave the rest of the discussion of “web” EMR interfaces for another post (plus, we’ve had that discussion many times on this site).

Instead, I want to focus on his use of the word “decent.” That adjective is interesting because no one would really argue that there aren’t plenty of web EMR interfaces out there. If you look at the EHR Scope EMR Comparison site, you’ll see a huge number of web based EMR companies listed. However, when you add the word “decent” to web EMR interface, I think we could have some really interesting discussion.

At least a couple times a week I get a doctor sending me an email or posting a comment on my website saying that “all of the EMR interfaces are terrible.” I don’t necessarily agree that “all” EMR interfaces are terrible, but a lot of them do fit the description quite well. I’m sure at this point all the EMR companies are thinking about their competitors and agreeing with me.

The iPad Opportunity for EMR Interfaces
As I thought on Charlie’s comment of a “decent web interface” as compared with an iPad EMR interface, I realized that the iPad provides a unique opportunity for EMR vendors with less than stellar web interfaces. While it would be great for EMR vendors to create stellar web interfaces or improve their current web interfaces, that’s much easier said than done. Many are working on older technologies. Others have so much company culture built into their interface that it’s hard to change. Many have large user bases that will freak out at the idea of a new web interface. Etc etc etc! The point being that the culture and history of many EMR interfaces make it hard to change.

In these cases, I see the iPad as a great opportunity to start fresh with your EMR interface. Many EHR vendors could use the iPad as a way to be able to create a new interface for their EMR with all the knowledge they’ve learned over the years baked in. Doctors expect the iPad interface to be different and unique.

I’ll be interested to see which EMR companies take this opportunity and make something of it. It’s the perfect chance for EMR companies to create a paradigm shift in their EMR software without having to admit publicly the mistakes they made in their first EMR interface. Unless you happen to be from an EHR company who built the perfect EMR interface from the start. Then, this need not apply.

The “Smart EMR” Differentiator

Posted on October 25, 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.

As I’ve been able to talk to more and more EMR companies I’ve been trying to figure out a way to differentiate the various EHR software. In fact, when I meet with EHR software companies I suggest that instead of them showing me a full demo of their EHR software, I ask them to show me the feature(s) that set their EHR apart from the other 300+ EHR companies out there. I must admit that it’s always interesting to see what they show me. Sometimes because what they show me isn’t that interesting or different. Many of my EMR company specific posts come from these experiences.

Today at MGMA as I went from one EHR company to another I started to get an idea for what might be the future differentiation between EHR companies. I’m calling it: “Smart EMR.”

You can be sure that I’ll be writing about my thoughts on Smart EMR software many more times in the future. However, the basic idea is that far too many EHR software are just basic translations from paper to electronic. Sure, some of them do a pretty good job of capturing the data in granular data elements (something not possible on paper), but that’s far from my idea of what a future Smart EMR software will need to accomplish.

I’m sure that many of those that are reading this post immediately started to think about the idea of clinical decision support. Certainly clinical decision support will be one important element of a Smart EMR, but I think that’s barely even the beginning of how a Smart EMR will need to work in the future. However, clinical decision support as it’s been described to date focuses far too much on how a clinician’s discretely entered data elements can support the care they provide. That’s far too narrow of a view of how an EMR will improve the patient-doctor interaction.

Without going into all the detail, EHR software is going to have to learn to accept and process a number of interesting and external data sources. One example could be all the data that a patient has in the PHR. Another could be patient data that was collected using personal various medical devices like a blood pressure cuff, an EKG, and blood glucose meters. Not to mention more consumer centric data devices and apps such as RunKeeper, Fitbit, sleep tracking, mood tracking, etc etc etc.

Another example of an external source could be access to some community health data repository. Why shouldn’t community trends in healthcare be part of the patient care process? None of this is far reaching since we’re collecting this data today and it will become more and more mainstream over time. Something we can’t do today, but likely will in the future is things like genomics. Imagine how personalized healthcare will change when an EHR will need to know and be able to process your genome in order to provide proper care.

I don’t claim to know all the sources, but I think that gives you a flavor of what a Smart EMR will have to process in the future. I’ll be interested to see which EHR software companies see this change and are able to execute on it. Many of the current innovations in EHR have been pretty academic. The Smart EMR I describe above will be much more complicated and require some specific skills and resources to do it right.

What if “they” get hit by a bus?

Posted on July 20, 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.

A little while back I asked my wife what she would do with all my blogs if I was hit by the proverbial “bus.” Her answer made me laugh. She said, she’d log into my blogs and post that I had passed away and that if readers of the site would like to support my wife and kids they could do so using the PayPal button below. I guess it’s a good thing I taught my wife how to blog. I hope she never has to post that PayPal button.

However, I’ve always loved the question of “what are you going to do if they get hit by a bus?” The “they” can be replaced by all sorts of things. Each organization will have a different set of “they’s”. Remember that the buses can come in all sorts of ways: re-location, new job, injury, illness, change of lifestyle, etc etc etc.

For example, if I’m a clinic and I have one doctor that is our EHR master, I might ask the question of what our clinic will do if that EHR master is no longer around.

How do you solve the problem of individual knowledge? I’ve seen it best approached in two ways: dual training or documentation. Personally I prefer the later to the former. Unless it’s a task that multiple people can perform regularly. The problem with dual training is that you train someone on how to do it, but if they don’t get to do it for a long time to come then they’re very likely to forget. That’s why documentation is better than dual training in most instances. Plus, once you have the documentation, you can use it to perform the dual training. It’s a great way to test how good your documentation really is.

These same questions apply to the EHR vendors that read this blog. How would your EHR software do if a key person in your organization was “hit by a bus?” We could also look at it from an EHR selection perspective. How would your EHR support be impacted if your EHR vendor lost their main EHR support person? What if the lead developer of the EHR left the company? This is sometimes hard information to obtain, but these were questions I knew the answer to with the EHR I supported for over 5 years. These are things worth considering.

How cool would it be for an EHR vendor to do a blog post about how they’d answer the question of how they’ve prepared their organization for the “hit by a bus” problem? I’d respect that EHR vendor: warts and all.

Real Innovation in EMR Will Come with Healthcare Innovation

Posted on March 31, 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.

It seems like EMR innovation has been a strong theme on EMR and HIPAA ever since I wrote about the lack of EHR innovation at HIMSS. I of course clarified my original post with this post on the future of EMR and EMR innovation and then wrote about the challenge that doctors have to differentiate EHR software amidst all the noise. I also think it’s worth noting that EMR software can be a tremendous innovation for a practice that is using paper charts. I just don’t see an EMR software that is the must go to EMR system. There’s no “iPad” of EMR software (yet?).

After careful consideration of these ideas, I can’t help but wonder if an EMR that provides innovation in healthcare is the innovation that will have an “iPad-onian” moment. Basically the EMR facilitates a dramatic change in the way healthcare is delivered. This isn’t some feature or function that the EHR company can announce at HIMSS. EMR features and functions will never be heard above the noise. EHR vendors are already saying they can do everything, whether they can or not. Instead I’m talking about a real change to the way healthcare is provided and that’s facilitated by an EMR software.

For example, is there a doctor brave enough to have an all iPad/iPhone medical practice? Their EMR software would all be in the cloud and would facilitate online visits with patients or in house patients with visits where the EMR software was easily accessible using wireless technologies. They wouldn’t even have an office. They would do half of their visits from the comfort of their homes and half at people’s houses. Would that cause people to talk? I think so. Would the business model for the practice need to be different? I think so. Would an EMR and related technology be essential to make this happen? Yes. Could an EMR company be built to facilitate this type of a medical practice? Sounds like an interesting franchise model to me.

I’m not sure if this is a good idea or not. Plus, there are certainly people a lot smarter, more informed and innovative than me that could make this type of idea even better. However, it’s becoming quite clear that building just one more feature and function isn’t going to differentiate you from the rest of the EMR companies. That’s why I won’t be surprised if the real “innovative” EMR company will likely be a startup company. They’ll likely not know very much about how healthcare is “suppose” to work. They’ll also likely be told that their model is impossible and just won’t work. Instead they’ll just focus on using technology to connect the doctors and patients in some non-traditional manner. To me, that’s the type of companies that healthcare really needs.

Rising Above the EHR and Meaningful Use Noise

Posted on March 23, 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.

There’s some really good comments happening on my previous post about EMR companies with an “In” with doctors. Check it out and join in with your thoughts. One of the comments reminded me of another interesting issue with all of these EMR vendors trying to vie for your attention. How does an EMR system rise above all the noise? Or if you prefer the doctor perspective, how can a doctor notice the really innovative and useful EMR companies amidst all the noise?

This is a serious problem and sadly I don’t know a very good answer. I talked with one company who was considering going into the EMR field and they said, “We know we can create a great product that works better than those that are present. Although, if we do, will anyone even notice.”

It’s a fine question that reminds me of my post about EMR software possibly being a commodity. Maybe it’s not a commodity, but the noise of 300+ EMR companies and meaningful use relegates it to a commodity because no one can tell the difference with all the noise. Bad singers sound a lot better in a noisy restaurant.

Basically, is there anything that an EMR system could say they deliver that would rise above the noise? In fact, this is essentially the question that I posted to the new Healthcare Scene LinkedIn group (You should join). I get a lot of pitches all the time running this site, and I’m not sure I’ve seen any EMR company have an iPad-onian (my new word for how the iPad revived the tablet industry) moment.

The biggest problem with this is that EMR vendors are saying everything under the sun. Including things that the EMR system can’t deliver.