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Starting the Health IT Ball Rolling

Posted on April 4, 2013 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.

Early on in my EHR implementation experience I had an enlightening moment. In the clinic I was working at, we decided to just do a partial implementation of the EHR software in order for us to replace the scheduling and billing side of our current processes. The clinic was using some old scantron like billing technology that needed to be replaced quickly. So, instead of leaving behind the paper charts, we decided to start by just implementing part of the EHR to start.

As part of this partial EHR implementation we had the clinicians entering the diagnosis and charge capture into a note in the EHR. After a couple weeks of doing this, I was sitting with one of the providers and she said, “John, why can’t I just enter my note right here where it says subjective and objective instead of in the paper chart?” After hearing this, I went to the director’s office and told her what I’d heard. We realized it was a tremendous opportunity for us to finish the full EHR implementation.

It was quite an interesting realization to have them driving us to implement more of the features. I think we see this phenomenon in other areas as well.

I was talking with the hospital CTO of Intermountain, Fred Holston, about their new mobile CPOE app they built together with MModal. I asked if he was concerned about adoption of the CPOE app. It seemed that it was possible that they built an app that doctors would just choose not to use. Fred made some suggestions about why he thought this wouldn’t be an issue, but then he offered an even more valuable insight. Fred suggested that their bigger concern wasn’t whether doctors would use the CPOE mobile app. Instead, they were more concerned that once they rolled out the CPOE mobile app that doctors would start asking for a whole laundry list of other features and applications that were similar to it. Were they ready for that onslaught of requests?

Yesterday, I got a demo of the latest version of the Sfax secure faxing software (Full Disclosure: Sfax is an advertiser on this site.). During the demo, I asked about another possible feature and a really good comment was made, “Once you roll out new features, people start asking for even more features.” We then had a nice discussion about how the product development process is never done.

In some cases, the desire for more features can lead to really unhappy users. If we’d not finished the full EHR implementation quickly, no doubt those providers would have hated the product. If Intermountain doesn’t add more of the requested capabilities to their CPOE mobile app, then their users will be unhappy that the app can’t do more. If Sfax doesn’t continue to add features to their product their users will grow unhappy with the service.

However, the opposite is also true. This desire to use technology in new ways can be a real driver of adoption. We didn’t have to sale the providers on the finishing the full EHR implementation. They’d already sold themselves. Sometimes you just have to get the ball rolling when it comes to health IT. Once the ball is rolling, just be ready to keep up with with the new ideas that start coming as people see new possibilities.

The Health IT Tablet Shift and Some Hope for Windows 8

Posted on March 20, 2013 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 the most amazing shifts that we’ve seen in healthcare is the acceptance of the tablet form factor. I’ve been fascinated with tablets since they first came out. The idea was always great, but in implementation the idea always fell apart. Many a sales rep told me how the tablet was going to be huge for healthcare. Yet, everyone that I know that got one of the really early tablets stopped using it.

Of course, the tablets that I’m referring to our the pre-iPad tablets. As one Hospital CTO told me at HIMSS, “the iPad changed tablets.

It’s so true. Now there isn’t even a discussion of whether the tablet is the right form factor for healthcare. The only question I heard asked at HIMSS was if a vendor had a tablet version of their application. In fact, I’m trying to remember if I saw a demo of any product at HIMSS that wasn’t on a tablet. Certainly all of the EHR Interface Improvements that I saw at HIMSS were all demonstrated on a tablet.

As an extension of the idea of tablets place in healthcare, I was also interested in the healthcare CTO who suggested to me that it’s possible that the Windows 8 tablet could be the platform for their health systems mobile approach. Instead of creating one iPad app that had to integrate all of their health system applications, he saw a possibility that the Windows 8 tablet could be the base for a whole suite of individual applications that were deployed by the health system.

I could tell that this wasn’t a forgone conclusion, but I could see that this was one path that he was considering seriously when it came to how they’d approach mobile. I’m sure that many have counted out Microsoft in the tablet race. However, I think healthcare might be once place where the Windows 8 tablet takes hold.

When you think about the security needs of healthcare, many hospital IT professionals are familiar with windows security and so they’ll likely be more comfortable with Windows 8. Now we’ll just have to see if Windows 8 and the applications on top of it can deliver the iPad experience that changed tablets as we know them.