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Quest EHR Lab Interfaces

Posted on March 7, 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.

While at HIMSS I had the pleasure of spending some time talking with Rohit Nayak, VP of Physician Tech Solutions at Quest Diagnostics. Not only is Rohit a very nice gentleman, but he also provides a number of really interesting perspectives on the healthcare industry. Quest is obviously known in the lab world, but as I mentioned last year, Quest is shifting from being a lab company to a technology company. This is clearly seen by their Care360 EHR product.

At one point, Rohit and I started talking about Quest’s approach to interfacing with EHR software. When you consider that Quest has the lab results that many EHR companies want and now Quest is offering their own EHR it makes for an interesting situation. Rohit told me that Quest has 120 EHR interfaces. He told me Quest’s approach was to be open when it comes to sharing data.

Before I talk more about these interfaces, I think it’s worth commenting on the 120 EHR interface number. The number of EHR vendors is often debated and discussed. I personally like to use the 300 EHR companies number. I’ve seen some go as high as 600 EHR companies, but I think those people are counting any software regardless of if it offers a comprehensive EHR product. For example, they might include an ePrescribing app which is part of an EHR, but I wouldn’t count it in my number.

With that as background, I find the 120 EHR interfaces with Quest quite interesting. Outside of some very localized EHR companies, you’d think that most legitimate EHR companies would have been almost forced to build an interface with Quest. Although, someone did recently tell me that Quest and LabCorp only have 7% of the lab market so maybe I’m overstating EHR vendors need to interface with Quest. I’d be interested to hear from EHR vendors who don’t interface with Quest and why they haven’t yet done so.

Heading back to interfacing with Quest, I was interested in how Care360 EHR users that don’t use Quest for their labs would be handled. Say I was a doctor who used LabCorp for my labs, but wanted to use Quest’s Care360 EHR. Would Quest support a lab interface from Care360 to LabCorp? Rohit told me that Quest would have no problem integrating Care360 with Labcorp, but that LabCorp wouldn’t let them do it. Don’t you love competition?

Of course, I only had the chance to talk with Quest about this topic. I don’t remember ever even seeing LabCorp at HIMSS. Considering LabCorp hasn’t taken the EHR route directly that could be why. I’m not sure many LabCorp users would want to use the Care360 EHR, but it is interesting to consider.

Rohit and I also started an interesting discussion about how well EHR software is consuming the Lab data that’s being sent across these lab interfaces. I’ve asked him to do a guest post on the subject, so I hope to bring you that in the future. You can also check out this 5 EHR Questions with Rohit Nayak video I did while at HIMSS as well.

Covered Entity Is the Only One with “Egg on their Face”

Posted on February 28, 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 first started writing this blog about six years ago, I named it EMR and HIPAA. I was working to implement an EMR at that time (this was well before EHR became in vogue) and I knew that HIPAA was a major talking point in healthcare.

Over time I’ve learned that doctors care enough about HIPAA to make sure that they don’t hear about it again. Up until now, that’s worked pretty well for most doctors. There haven’t been many HIPAA lawsuits and the government has mostly only investigated reported incidents.

We started to see a shift in this with the passing of the HITECH act which many described as giving “teeth” to HIPAA. I think we’re just now starting to see some of those teeth coming to bear with things like the OCR audits that 150 HIPAA covered entities will experience this year. That’s still a pretty small number, but the experience of those 150 is teaching us and the government a lot about areas where healthcare institutions have done a good job with privacy and security and where they likely are weak.

While at HIMSS I had the pleasure to have a brief conversation with CynergisTek CEO and chair of the HIMSS Privacy and Security Policy Task Force, Mac McMillan. I love talking with people like Mac since he is an absolute domain expert in the areas of privacy and security in healthcare. You just start him talking and from memory he’s pouring out his knowledge about these important and often overlooked topics. I loved what he had to say so much that I asked him if he’d do a series of blog posts on the OCR audits which I could publish on EMR and HIPAA. He said he was interested and so I hope we’re able to make it happen.

One simple thing that Mac McMillan taught me in our admittedly brief conversation was the changing role of the business associate in healthcare. In the past, most covered entities kind of hid behind their business associates. Many did little to verify or keep track of the policies and procedures employed by their business associates. With the new HITECH rules for disclosure of breaches and the OCR audits, covered entities are going to have to keep a much better eye on their business associates.

Mac then pointed out to me that the reason covered entities have to take on more responsibility is that they’re the ones that are going to be held responsible and take the blunt of the problem if their business associate has a privacy or security issue. I see it as the Covered Entity will be the one with Egg on their Face.

I don’t think we have to take this to an extreme. However, there’s little doubt that covered entities could do a much better job evaluating the privacy and security of their business associates and hold them to a much higher standard. If they aren’t, I wouldn’t want to be there for the OCR audit with them.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 NPRM

Posted on February 24, 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.

Yep, that’s the major noise you heard at HIMSS today. The Meaningful Use Stage 2 NPRM sucked the life out of HIMSS today it seems. It was funny seeing many of the major EHR vendors scrambling to get their thoughts on MU stage 2 out. I’m not sure what’s the big rush.

You can also get the meaningful use stage 2 fact sheet on CMS.gov.

I will refrain from any rush to judgment about meaningful use stage 2. It’s not going to be implemented for quite a while, so we have time to digest it properly. I’m sure we’ll cover meaningful use stage 2 a lot more to come in the future.

Until then, I’m ready for my post-HIMSS recovery. Although, both keynotes look pretty interesting tomorrow.