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Evaluating EMR Vendor Size and Focus

Posted on December 4, 2009 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.

I wrote previously about the importance of matching your organization’s culture with the EMR vendor’s size. One important aspect, which I deliberately left out, was evaluating the size of the EMR vendor. When selecting an EMR, it’s valuable to understand the size of your EMR vendor and related to its size is its focus.

When talking about size, one aspect to consider is the number of EMR implementations your EMR vendor has in your specialty. Many EMR vendors are trying to be the one universal EMR for all specialties, but the reality is that EMR vendors tend to become very good at certain specialties. You need to ask your EMR vendor questions that will help you understand how many in your specialty are using their EMR. Then, you want to evaluate that against the total number of EMR implementations by that EMR vendor. Also worth considering is an EMR vendor with two EMR implementations in your specialty might still be an enormous organization with hundreds of EMR implementations in other specialties. Other EMR vendors might have a large number of EMR implementations in your specialty, but are still a small company since they only focus on your specialty.

Knowing the EMR implementation ratio for your specialty and true size of the EMR vendor, you need to start finding out where the EMR vendor’s focus lies. Having more EMR implementations in your specialty isn’t always a good thing. This might mean that they’ll stop focusing development of their EMR for your specialty and will focus on expanding their EMR for other specialties. The question you want to ask yourself is how much development and support time will this EMR vendor be putting towards my clinic’s successful use of their EMR. Their focus on your specialty is one measure to consider in this evaluation.

Now how do you evaluate the focus of your EMR vendor? I’ve found moost of them are quite transparent with their direction, goals and ambitions. A quick look at their website will often show you which specialties their EMR is focused on or if they’re trying to serve everyone under the sun. Some EMR vendors have message boards or blogs where you can interact with users of that EMR system. These users will often know where the EMR vendors focus lies. Trusted outside consultants for that EMR software can be another source of learning about the EMR vendor’s direction. Another option is to look at the latest changes to the EMR software in what most people call the “release notes.” A look at the latest addition to the EMR can often reveal an EMR vendor’s focus.

Are there other ways people can think of to evaluate an EMR vendor’s focus and size? Do other people have experiences with EMR vendor who were or weren’t focused on their specialty?

Long Term Care Missing Out on EMR Stimulus Money

Posted on September 22, 2009 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 short while back I posted about my interest in the long term care EMR market. From that post I’ve started a number of really interesting discussions. It’s been quite enlightening and fun for me to learn about the long term care market since I was previously unfamiliar with the details.

One thing that kind of strikes me about the long term care EMR market is that it doesn’t seem to me that their going to be getting any help from the EMR stimulus money that everyone’s talking about. At least if my assumptions are correct. Since the EMR stimulus money is going to be paid out per provider, it seems like most long term care facilities are going to not be eligible since they’re nurse run and not provider (doctor) run. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong in this assumption.

Certainly, there is the possibility that ONC and HHS might make some of the other ARRA money they received available as grants to the long term care market for purchase of an EMR. However, that is still yet to be seen.

This is rather unfortunate for long term care facilities. I think we can safely say that healthcare’s use of technology is behind almost every other industry. Low EMR adoption rates are evidence of this fact. With that said, from what I’ve read and seen long term care facilities are even farther behind on their adoption of technology. Sadly, if long term care facilities aren’t getting any EMR stimulus money, then it’s possible they will lag behind even farther in adoption of healthcare IT.

Are there any other specialty areas or healthcare segments that are going to miss out on the EMR stimulus money as well?

UPDATE: One reader of my site sent the following additional information and questions: “Nursing Homes overall are considered as a provider. The Nursing Home is issued a Provider Number (not the administrator) and is used for billing purposes and reimbursement purposes. When the Feds say that providers are going to get stimulus money through grants does this mean that LTC facilities are excluded? Who knows at this time. What is the difference between an individual Provider and a Facility as a Provider? I can’t answer this. Only the Feds know at this time.”

I’ve talked to some other Long Term Care EMR companies and they have the same questions. Looks like the problem is that we just don’t know. Although, I’d argue that it’s likely that the Feds don’t know yet either.

Long Term Care EMR Market

Posted on September 7, 2009 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.

I’ve been doing some research recently into the long term care EMR market. There’s a number of reasons why I’m interested in this area. One of which was that I met someone at a Las Vegas EMR event who was from a long term care center here in Las Vegas. We didn’t get a chance to talk much, but I was interested to learn more about how EMR software was being used in the long term care market.

I also find this interesting since our EMR has added some new functionality related to extended care as well. We don’t use it in my clinic, but it really is a different model when you might not discharge the patient for a couple years versus a couple hours or less.

I know there are a variety of long term care facilities even including such things as adult day care which kind of fits into that same category also. Does anyone know more about this niche? Anyone know of EMR companies that are trying to serve this niche? I’d like to learn more about what’s going on.

A whole other EMR niche to add to my list of EMR specialties.

List of EMR Specialties

Posted on July 13, 2009 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.

No doubt many people that come to this website find my long list of EMR companies and are just in awe at the number of EMR companies on that list. That list was posted back in February of 2006 and so no doubt the list is missing a lot of newer EMR companies as well. What we do know is that there are somewhere between 300-400 EMR companies in existence right now.

As if that weren’t a big enough challenge, but I recently saw this list of medical specialties which I’ve pared down a little bit below:
Allergy and Immunology
Dermatology
Family Practice
Internal Medicine
Cardiology
Endocrinology
General Practice
Gastroenterology
Geriatric Medicine
Hematology
Infectious Disease
Nephrology
Oncology
Pulmonology
Rheumatology
Sports Medicine
Orthopedics
Obstetrics-Gynecology
Ophthalmology
Pediatrics
Physical medicine and rehab
Neurology
Psychiatry
Surgery
Urology
Behavioral health (Psychology)
Cardiovascular-Metabolic
Dermatology
ENT (ear/nose/throat)
Gastroenterology
Hematology and Oncology
Ophthalmology
Respiratory (pulmonology)
Urology
Vascular Surgery

36 different medical specialties (and I may have missed some) each with their own EMR needs. I’m sure the fact that there are so many specialties is not news to anyone in the medical industry. However, I’d never really seen the list and so when I saw it I realized what a vast challenge we have ahead of us.

Can you imagine HHS and/or CCHIT trying to certify the EMR needs for each of these specialties? By the way, this list doesn’t even include emergency room or long term care facilities which are kind of an EMR beast in their own right.

Yes, many could make the argument that there are many similarities between what’s done in all these various practices. Certainly this is true to a large extent. However, I’ve recently seen a growing trend with EMR companies becoming more and more specialty specific. Not the big EMR companies. They’ll also try to be all things for everyone. I’m talking about smaller EMR vendors which are carving out their niche in the EMR market by focusing on certain specialties.