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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.

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.

EMR Innovation and the Future of EMR – #HIMSS11

Posted on February 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.

Turns out that my previous post about lack of EMR innovation at HIMSS was a little more controversial than I expected it to be. Plus, I’m not sure that I communicated the entire message about EMR innovation and the future of EMR software in healthcare (I’m blaming the late nights and lack of sleep).

I’m still suffering the HIMSS hangover and on this too small to type well netbook, but let me try and add some more context to the previous post.

One person emailed me about my “disappointment with EMR software.” I’d be careful to characterize it as disappointment with the EMR industry. I’m really optimistic about the future of EMR. I still think they’re a great value proposition and that EVERY (leave a few rural settings aside) doctor should and will have an EMR and technology in their office. I guess the disappointment is mostly that meaningful use has killed some of the innovation that could have made EMR even more exciting.

One thing seems to be clear. Every EMR vendor that I talked to has conformed with the meaningful use guidelines. So, inasmuch as you see the meaningful use guidelines as innovative, EMR vendors are certainly hitting those guidelines.

Janice commented on my other post that she was optimistic because meaningful use gets content stored electronically and that will unleash the real power of technology. One thing that can’t be argued is the increased interest and focus on EMR software. That I believe will have a great effect on EMR software and I’m optimistic that doctors and clinics will generally do what’s right and best in selecting and implementing EMR software. Plus, while a little harsh to mention, doctors that are on their second EMR implementation do much better and rarely get it wrong the second time.

One vendor described it well when they mentioned that their original business was a great and useful service, but it wasn’t the heart of any clinics business. Thus their move to EMR (although, there were other reasons also). Either way, the message they sent was clear: EMR will be the heart of every medical practice.

With that message in mind, I want EMR vendors to take this to heart and improve their applications in innovative ways for both patients, doctors and healthcare in general. I look forward to seeing those iPad-onian innovations in EHR software. Just like none of us expected or predicted the impact of the iPad. I don’t know where exactly a similar innovation will come in EMR. However, I look forward to it and believe we’ll see many many iPad-onian innovations in healthcare IT.

EMRandHIPAA.com’s HIMSS11 coverage is sponsored by Practice Fusion, provider of the free, web-based Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system used by over 70,000 healthcare providers in the US.