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Of Meaningful Use – I wouldn’t remove anything!

Posted on February 5, 2014 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.

The following is a guest blog post by Joel Kanick in response to the question I posed in my “State of the Meaningful Use” call to action.

If MU were gone (ie. no more EHR incentive money or penalties), which parts of MU would you remove from your EHR immediately and which parts would you keep?

Joel Kanick
Joel Kanick
President and CEO of Kanick And Company and Lead Developer and Chief Architect of interfaceMD

In fact, the pursuit of Meaningful Use (MU) certification has given our company many new ideas that allowed us to go above and beyond the bar MU already set.

Initially, doctors bought into EMRs for the financial incentive. Now that they are educated consumers, they want everything that was promised to them to work for them. Doctors have learned that EMRs are only one small part of the Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) puzzle. They need help putting the rest of the puzzle together.

No one is complaining about MU regarding the direction it is taking healthcare or HIT industries.

Any complaining that comes from a vendor is usually because their technology is outdated and behind the technology curve. They are angry because MU is calling them out. So, shame on vendors for becoming rich, fat and lazy, and not keeping with current technology.

Of the complaints I hear from providers, there are two scenarios:

First scenario: the providers who resent the government telling them how to practice medicine. However and upon deeper review, these providers already ask and track most of all these data points. They just don’t like the way it has been required and thus crammed into their current systems. I understand their anger, they were not consulted as to how to fit all this into their workflow and so it is cumbersome to use.

Second scenario, the providers’ office is still using fax machines, some required by their EMR vendor. They are still dictating (PCs, iPhone apps, phone recorders) all their exam data and still relying on paper charts. In practices of all sizes, providers complain of MU because they don’t want to change how they operate their business. After all, they have been doing it this way for many years, successfully. They complain of this change because they fear the unknown.

They are doctors; highly skilled and highly educated in medicine but not in business or technology. I see so many doctors closing their privately held medical practices to join a group practice or a hospital setting. Most will freely admit that it’s because they don’t want to address the fear and go through the anticipated pain of migrating to a paperless environment. They don’t know how to choose or maintain the system, with or without MU.

What I know MU is positively doing:

  • Setting a standard language (ie: XML)
  • Setting a standard format (ie: HL7)
  • Setting a secure communication channel (ie: Direct Protocol)
  • Requiring patient portals to potentially aid in convenience to the patient and lower the workload on office staff
  • Creating a standard method to share data electronically (ie: CCDA)
  • Demanding security and encryption and planning for emergency scenarios
  • Utilizing eRx to reduce fraud, abuse and increase safety in drugs that are prescribed
  • Reducing paperwork (eg: lab requests), speeding-up information delivery (eg: lab results electronically instead of by paper delivery)
  • Promoting communication to educate patients
  • Demanding reconciliation of data when exchanged between two organizations to make certain correct information is gained

Selfishly, from my point of view, the largest complaint regarding MU2 is that it requires all pertinent health information be exported and imported in a standard format allowing providers to easily change EMR vendors. This MU requirement should scare some EMR vendors!

Effectually, MU is pushing change and as a result it is getting a bad rap.

See other responses to this question here.

The Healthcare Industry Must Not Embrace Technology, Rather Seize It

Posted on October 15, 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.

The following is a guest blog post by Joel Kanick from interfaceMD.
Joel Kanick - interfaceMD

Five years ago, you wouldn’t have been able to convince me that technology would let us take a picture of a check with our cell phone and immediately deposit that check into our bank account. But that and more is today’s reality.

From no envelope deposit ATMs and in-car navigational directions, to online transfers and picture messaging, technology changes have simplified processes for both consumers and businesses. Moreover, while time saving, many technology upgrades have reduced the chance for human error.

As most industries harness technology, implement ways to streamline a task at hand, enhance the experience for the consumer, and cut internal waste and cost, the EMR industry lags with such innovation as it still tries to put a square peg into a round hole.

Imagine, you ask a teller to transfer money from one account to another and she instructs you to fill out a transfer request, one for the account the money is going into and one for the account the money is coming out of. She then explains that she will fax it over to the transfer department and in several hours you should have access to your funds, barring any glitches.  As a consumer, you wouldn’t accept this system. What if the fax jams, what if the fax gets mixed in and picked up by the wrong person, what if the fax is hard to read and the wrong amount is transferred, what if the fax number dialed is wrong and the fax never gets there?

Why is the healthcare industry, as a whole, still faxing when reliable, secure and quicker technology exists?

A cable company gives its consumers the ability to turn on lights, unlock doors and adjust heating systems in their homes with a touch of a button from their cell phone or laptop by simply logging into an account. Do all EMR systems allow patients and doctors access to past medical history? While the unfortunate answer is no, I will state for the record as an IT expert, it is not difficult to create a channel of communication between collaborating doctors, a doctor and patient or a doctors’ office and its lab partners.

If we can post a status with our phone and immediately 200 of our closest friends know we are enjoying the weather in Punta Cana, why can’t an EMR system permit the doctor to collaborate about the patient as well as permit a patient to fill out necessary forms electronically prior to the appointment or electronically in the waiting room? It could and should.

Both the EMR vendors’ and EMR users’ technology must be as current as other systems used daily, with the same intuitive ease of use.

The auto industry has technology that alerts its users, via in-car audio or email, prevent maintenance needs or pertinent real-time issues–enabling drivers to react sooner or avoid harm’s way. Similarly, utilizing the same technology would give our doctors’ the means, with an EMR system, to send secure email or text alerts regarding preventative appointments, necessary tests or prescription refill needs warding off health issues and unnecessary costs. EMR vendors have technology available to employ systems that can monitor the offices’ servers to prevent crashes and valuable down-time. Does yours?

Coupling technology at hand with genuine care is the only route to substantial meaningful use achievement.

Joel Kanick, President and CEO of Kanick And Company is the architect and chief developer of interfaceMD. For more than two decades, Mr. Kanick’s professional career in the computing services industry has included: project management, network administration, application development, and both business and Healthcare IT consulting. This unique combination of technical expertise, project management skills and business sense positions him as an asset to his clients’ business directives and technology goals. Mr. Kanick became a Certified HIPAA Professional (CHP) in 2002.

Full Disclosure: interfaceMD is an advertiser on this site.