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Is Your EMR Charting Accurately?

Posted on August 23, 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.

For all the hope — not to mention time and money — being invested in EMRs as a way to improve health care, they’re still exquisitely prone to the age-old problem in IT: garbage in, garbage out.

Several writers have commented recently on whether you can believe what you read in an EMR. They raise serious questions as meaningful use Stage 2 draws near and providers’ care patterns become further enmeshed with their record systems.

One problem, wrote Dr. Rebecca Bechhold, a medical oncologist, is the information overload that an EMR can generate: “page after page of predetermined queries and stock answers that are repetitive and irrelevant after the first visit.” The truth, as in what’s really going on with the patient, might be in there somewhere, but she finds it hard to dig out.

Worse still, doctors sometimes just check “normal” for everything under the physical exam section because they’re in a hurry and entering the information is tedious, Bechhold wrote. Some pretty important history, such as an enlarged liver or an amputation, can be left out.

It might sound bad, but it’s human nature whenever there are too many boxes to check. However, for Bechhold, the key disadvantage isn’t a lack of facts, but of feelings.

“You cannot express the emotion and anxiety that is part of oncology care in a prepackaged document,” she wrote.

Software selection consultant Sheldon Needle, meanwhile, wrote about the pitfalls of taking an EMR prescription list at face value.

Take the patient who comes to the emergency room because of a car accident. If the patient’s regular doctor is linked with the hospital’s e-prescription system, a medication list might soon be forthcoming. But who’s to say there aren’t other medications in the picture, prescriptions written by a doctor who’s not tied in?

Needle’s advice: Ask a human, such as the patient or a relative.

“If something looks off on the electronic medical record,” he wrote, “question it.”

HealthcareScene.com’s own John Lynn, too, addressed the issue of trusting health care data, noting that doctors are receiving information from more sources than ever, including health information exchanges, patients and patient devices. It’s hard for physicians to know what’s reliable.

The obvious solution to trust issues seems to lie in user interface design. If the EMR is a good fit for the doctor’s workflow, the right data should end up in there.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. Bechhold noted that charts she receives from other doctors are sometimes configured to include every piece of data available for the patient, including all medications and test results.

The physicians, she wrote, want to be able to show that they reviewed all information if they’re ever sued.

Doctors and health IT companies have a way to go in understanding each other. Only then can there be full trust in EMRs.

Patient Recruitment & EHR

Posted on April 25, 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.

For some reason I’ve been recently talking and reading more and more about patient recruitment. I’ve been fascinated by the creative ways that those doing the clinical studies use to be able to recruit patients that fit the very specific needs of most clinical studies. Plus, I’ve been amazed at how much money is required to be able to recruit patients for these studies.

There’s so many interesting quirks involved in the whole patient recruitment business. In most cases, it’s very large companies trying to recruit individual patients. Many of the chronic patients want to know about and be involved in the clinical study. In many cases, it can lead to a great mutually beneficial outcome for both the company that’s doing the clinical study and the patient who receives care that they wouldn’t have otherwise received. Of course, there are A LOT more intricacies involved in patient recruitment, but those are a few of them.

The biggest challenge with patient recruitment is usually finding the right patients for the clinical study. I think we’re on the brink of technology largely solving this problem for clinical researchers.

EHR Software for Patient Recruitment
When you think about the volume of data that’s going into an EHR system, you can see how valuable the granular EHR data could be in identifying which patients are eligible for a certain clinical study. Certainly there are plenty of nuances to when and how you can use this information. I won’t get into those in this post, but I think it’s quite clear that EHR software will be essential to patient recruitment in clinical studies.

I’m sure that some won’t like to hear this. My first response is that this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, if done right it can be a great thing. We just need to be involved in the discussion so that patient recruitment with EHR software is done the right way. My second response is that this is going to happen whether people like it or not. Instead of trying to stop it, we should focus on how to make it work well for everyone.

Software User Interface Redesign

Posted on December 8, 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.

Today I opened up a web browser and eventually made it to Twitter to see what was going on. I was greeted by the not so friendly Twitter site redesign. If you’re on the Twitter page at all, you won’t miss it. To be honest, it felt like going to a foreign land. I use a number of tools for Twitter, but my favorite is just going to the Twitter website to consume and send my @techguy tweets. Although, maybe I should say it WAS my favorite place.

Yes, change is always hard, but isn’t that kind of the point? Was there any announcement about the change before it happened? Nope! Did they give users a chance to try the new interface before they made a wholesale swap to the new interface? Nope. Google’s actually done this really well recently with things like Gmail. They’ve made the new interface available, but you can always click back to the old interface if you don’t like. That way they can solicit feedback and improve the new interface while still not alienating those that love the old interface.

In my example on Twitter, I quickly was able to identify the thing that annoys me most. When I click on someone’s Twitter name it gives me a pop up box for that person. Before it use to have that appear on the side. It’s a small subtle change, but makes a huge difference since on the side I can continue consuming tweets, but in a pop up box I have to remove it before I continue on.

I could go on about the new Twitter, but the point is that software vendors have to be careful when they change the user interface. Maybe this new Twitter interface will even grow on me. I didn’t like the last time they changed the Twitter interface either, but once I found some of the secret features I came around for the most part. Maybe I’ll come around on this too, but it would have been nice if I knew it was coming.

What does this have to do with EMR?

The connection seems quite clear to me. EMR and EHR companies have to be really careful and considerate when they change their EHR interface. Give users options to be able to try it and to adapt to it over time. With a sort of limited opt in release of a new EMR interface to an active user base, you’ll likely get a lot of pointed feedback for the new EMR interface. Certainly you’ll get the useless “I hate the new look” emails without any value. However, you’ll also get the pointed emails that provide constructive ideas on things you probably didn’t realize were important in the old EMR interface.

Most SaaS EHR companies are constantly considering this since they’re rolling out changes to their software all the time. Client server based EHR software also takes it into account, but this can be shown and taught as each client is upgraded.

The main point is to be thoughtful of and upgrade to your EHR user interface. Get feedback and whenever possible let them opt in and out of the new interface so you don’t alienate your users.

While I may not be totally enamored by the new Twitter interface, I do always love new features in software. For example, as part of the new Twitter interface there’s a feature that lets you embed tweets. Here’s a few EMR related tweets to see how it works.


And then some big news from GE and Microsoft that just came out:

Hmmm…still looks like they have some work to complete on their embedded tweets (UPDATE: The preview looked different from when it’s posted. It’s not too bad in the actual post). Sounds like many doctors talking about EHR features that get rolled out.

More EMR Software On the Way

Posted on November 27, 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.

One of my all time favorite posts I’ve done was called “Develop Your Own EMR….Are you Crazy?” Hard to believe that was back in May of 2006. I should go back and check out the content of that post, but the title still rings very true to me. Of course, every entrepreneur that I know is a little bit crazy, so it should come as no surprised that I’m hearing all the time about new EMR software getting ready to hit the market.

Today’s encounter has to be one of the most unique. I was going to church in another state (visiting family for the Holidays) and I ran into one of my high school friends at church. We caught up and I learned that he’s the owner of a software development company. Then, as he learned what I was doing he just mentioned off hand that they were developing an EMR.

After I picked myself up off the floor, the meeting at church started so I didn’t really get a chance to talk to him. Since he’s my friend on Facebook (you know, a real friend that I know in real life type of Facebook friend), I sent him a message and hopefully we can connect. I’m really intrigued that his software development house is doing an EMR for someone. Obviously, now I have a ton of questions for him about the project. He did say before the meeting started that “it’s a BIG project.”

Of course, the message here is that there are a lot of people out there that are crazy (no offense intended) enough to start building another EMR. The problem is that there are so many doctors that are dissatisfied with the EMR software that’s out there, I’m sure until that’s resolved we’ll see more and more EMR software entrants. Oh, if only these brave souls knew what they were getting themselves into. I guess maybe that’s the beauty and key to entrepreneurship and why I love it so much.

Does EHR Choice Matter for ACO’s?

Posted on November 22, 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 a really interesting article on Nextgov that talks about a CSC report that looks at the role of health IT and EHR software in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). The most valuable part of the article is this list of items that an EHR must enable or allow to support an ACO:

  • Clinical information and point-of-care automation, with integrated ambulatory and inpatient records and a central repository for clinical data.
  • Enterprise master data management and integration, with a population management repository, a master person index and a master provider index.
  • Tools to enable participation in a health information exchange.
  • Patient engagement tools, including secure messaging, e-visits and tele-visits, social media, patient portals and mobile health applications.
  • Care management and coordination tools, including referral and request tracking, provider-to-provider communication, medication reconciliation and case- and disease-management applications.
  • Performance management tools, including integrated business and clinical intelligence and analytics.

To be honest, as I look through this list of EHR items, I can’t say that any of them really stick out to me as impossible for any EHR to achieve. In fact, I’d say that they’re quite achievable by almost all EHR software vendors.

The only partial fear I have reading through the list is that some of the points depend on an EHR vendor working with other EHR software vendors. In most of the cases, these are large hospital EHR vendors that have often worked in very closed environments.

The reason this is a cause for concern is that even the best EHR software in the world won’t be an effective ACO and won’t meet the above requirements if the large EHR software vendors don’t work with them to connect their system.

Maybe this isn’t something we should be too concerned about since the hospital client will be motivated to get their EHR vendor to work with the other even small EHR vendors in order to make the ACO happen and get access to the extra reimbursement. However, my gut tells me that this won’t be the case and there will be stories where EHR software is basically shut out of the ACO based on the large EHR vendors decision to not work with them.

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.

EMR and HIPAA Announces Plans to Sell New EMR Software

Posted on April 1, 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.

UPDATE: In case you couldn’t tell, this was an April Fool’s joke.

Over the past year myself and the other people here at EMR and HIPAA have been working like crazy on a very exciting new project. We’ve obviously seen first hand the many doctors that are dissatisfied with their current EMR and the current EMR vendors. We kept wondering how we could fix this problem. In the end, we decided that the best way to solve this problem would be to fix this problem ourselves. So, I’m really pleased to announce the launch of a new EMR software product by EMR and HIPAA called DoctorEZ (cool name huh?).

We’re still in beta right now working with only the best doctors we know to refine the product. Although, here’s the goals for our EMR software:

  • No Cost for the EMR – Why should doctors have to pay for software? Haven’t you ever heard of a free lunch? That’s what we’re offering here.
  • Zero Implementation Time – If you think you want DoctorEZ, it’s already installed. Doctors don’t want to take the time to implement the EMR software and so we decided to take out the implementation time.
  • No Training Needed – Doctors have an MD after their name. That means they were basically professional students for most of their life. Why burden them with more training? That’s why we don’t.
  • Universal Device Domination – Some people like their iPad. Fine we do that. Blackberry Playbook. It’s not released, but we support them too. Desktop. Check. Laptop. Check. iPhone, Droid, Blackberry, iPod touch, Pay as you Go phone. Check, check, check, check, check. Xbox, PS3, Tivo and Wii. You got it!
  • Standards Based – SNOMED, ICD-9, EZ, ICD-10, 23%, ICD-11, SMRT, ICD-666, CPT, 1040-EZ, 5010, 90210, ACO, 867-5309, ieee, HAL-0999, etc. You bet!
  • Supports All Specialties – Some people like to say that specialties have different needs. Not with the DoctorEZ EMR. It satisfies every specialty with a unique Specializer (TM) system.
  • Easy – Did I mention that this was easy? (That’s why we called it DoctorEZ after all)
  • Interoperability – As if other EMR are sophisticated enough to integrate with us.
  • Increase Billing – Of course we do. Why else would you buy us? It’s not about the patient after all…speaking of which…
  • Patient – We thought about some great features to help patients, but our beta test doctors asked us why. They then told us patients were a dime a dozen and it was all about the reimbursement. At DoctorEZ we listen to our customers.
  • Interplanetary Hosting – I’m sure many of you are wondering if the new EMR will be a SaaS based EMR or client server based EMR. We decided since we were offering this for free that neither of those options was good enough for our doctors. Instead we launched a new interplanetary hosting option. That’s right. Your EMR data will be safely stored on our own personal network of data centers located on Mars, Saturn and Venus (we tried Pluto, but it lost its planet status and so we had to change direction). We had Neil Armstong sign a HIPAA business associate agreement, so you’re all covered if he heads to Mars and happens upon your patient’s info.
  • EMR or EHR – Maybe you missed the part above about patients. Plus, did you see us use the word EHR in this article. I didn’t think so.
  • EHR Certification – Are you kidding? Of course we are. Our business wouldn’t survive without it. Although, since we’re not an EHR we had to create our own certification called EZ Certification. Let’s just say it was easy to do. Will it get you access to the government handouts for EHR? Probably not, but you didn’t pay for the EMR and we didn’t pay for the EMR certification so it all works out. You will get to put up an DoctorEZ Certification sign on your door with our cute little bunny rabbit logo.
  • Support – We’re from Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps. Neither do our support people. That’s why we’ve spared no expense on chaining them to their chairs and installing the shock collars to make sure they don’t sleep. In fact, the top DoctorEZ EMR feature is the “Shock My Support Person” EZ button.
  • EMR Usability – At DoctorEZ we alpha tested a direct brain to EMR input. Basically if you think it, we record it. Only problem was we found out what the doctor was really thinking. Let’s just say I was surprised how many doctors play Farmville. To solve this problem, we’ve integrated Farmville into our EMR in a really fantastically usable way. Now doctors are no longer distracted thinking about Farmville since they’ll actually be playing it.
  • Doctor Flattery Module – How many other EMR software really focus on the doctors? We’re taking it to a whole new level by randomly displaying a flattering comment about the doctor on the screen. In back office mode, a lovely male or female voice (configurable) will sound to compliment the doctor on their incredible skill, beautiful hair or amazing technique. Repeat Compliment button is available.

There’s so much more to the DoctorEZ EMR, but I think you get a feel for where we’re going. Who’s ready to sign up? Sorry. We’re in beta. However, I do like a nice piece of Cheesecake with hot fudge on top from Cheesecake Factory *wink* *wink*.

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.

Operating System of Healthcare IT

Posted on March 24, 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.

Likewise, says Allscripts’ Tullman, “today we’re building the operating system for the future of healthcare. This country can’t afford its healthcare system anymore, so something’s got to change. We can no longer buy our way out of the problem.” – Source: Information Week

The above comments sparks all sorts of interesting thoughts and questions for me. The first is “What is the Operating System of healthcare IT?” Obviously, we’re quite sure Tullman hopes that it’s the suite of Allscripts products. Although, how ironic is it that one company can have 5-10 (I lost count) different EMR software. I’ve never known an operating system to have 5-10 completely different software. Seems like something needs to change there. Unless you want to say that various segments of healthcare IT are going to have different operating systems.

I do feel like EHR software is the operating system of healthcare IT. It’s going to be the basis upon which many other software packages are built on.

I imagine the above statement is probably why Tullman made the comment and the comparison. Allscripts has an ambitious project (although I haven’t seen many results yet) to create a kind of app eco system for healthcare IT apps. There are other vendors that do the same. For example, I know that SRSsoft has open API’s that allow developers to extend their apps. I love this movement in the EMR world. My biggest challenge is identifying the application developers that are interested and willing to leverage these APIs. That part of the app ecosystem seems to be missing to me.

My next thought is that similar to how we didn’t realize how beneficial an application like Excel would be until we had the operating system that facilitated its creation. Who is going to create an Excel like app that can run on the EMR operating system and provide benefits to claims processing, clinical decision support, diagnosis help, insurance billing, etc etc etc. Certainly it’s possible that the O/S (EMR) developers will make a lot of these applications, but I won’t be surprised if the EMR is just the platform that allows other smart people to innovate on a particular subject.

In my time writing about EMR, one thing has been very clear. You can’t be all things to all people. An EMR vendor that embraces, supports and creates a strong healthcare IT application developer community would cause me to take notice above the noise.

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.