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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.

EMR Platform

Posted on March 26, 2010 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.

After I wrote my post about 50 EMR markets instead of 1 EMR market, I started to wonder what an EMR might look like that was just an EMR platform.

The basic idea would be that some vendor would create a platform where other vendors could build on top of their platform. They’d offer the core elements and foundation needed for an EMR and then companies could build applications on top of those core elements that focus on the 50 different EMR markets (or whatever the number actually is).

The easy part is seeing someone who builds some specialty specific applications like growth charts for pediatrics or a drawing application for dermatology. The hard part is to decide which elements of the EMR are “core elements” that can act as a foundation for every type of specialty, practice, location, etc.

I guess the question of core elements really comes down to whether we can define any part of the EMR to be something that EVERY doctor could use. I think of the iPhone as the example of a platform that people have taken and expanded with applications. The core elements are the phone, the GPS, the accelerometer, etc. Then, various companies have created applications using that platform that can cover a wide range of markets. Making the comparison of EMR features with iPhone features is not an easy one.

I honestly don’t think any EMR vendor has done something like this yet. Sure, some of them have some API’s where some customizations can be done. However, I’m not sure I’ve seen the full embrace of creating an EMR platform. The closest I’ve probably seen is some to the open source EMR software that’s out there. It seems like some of them have done a good job modularizing the software so that many different people can iterate on the software.

What do you think? Is an EMR platform possible and what would it look like?