Allscripts’ CEO’s Stunning Take On Obama’s EMR Plans

Posted on January 28, 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.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article on electronic medical records, they talk about Allscripts’ CEO’s take on the governments planned $20 billion investment in EMR.  Here’s a portion of the article:

Glen Tullman, chief executive of the health IT outfit Allscripts-Misys Healthcare and an advisor to the Obama campaign on health information technology issues, argues that that any legislation should first help doctors buy and install electronic medical records, then give them financial incentives to actually use them in a way that could reduce waste and improve care. “That one-two punch would dramatically change the adoption rate for physicians,” he said in an interview with the Health Blog.

I’ve talked about Obama EMR many times before on this blog and over the next 6 months I expect I’ll talk about it a lot more.  This could be the most significant change in health care IT that we’ve ever seen.

However, it should scare all of us that Obama’s health information technology advisor is the CEO of Allscripts-Misys Healthcare any EMR vendor.  I know Obama’s from Chicago, but could this be a more blatant conflict of interest?  Why not call in the tobacco companies to see if they think that smoking will help improve the condition of America.  I’m pretty sure I know there answer.  Why would an EMR company be any different?

Even more interesting is this quote from the same Wall Street Journal article on EMR:

He[Glen Tullman] points to the success of a similar incentive program, courtesy of Medicare, to get more doctors to use electronic prescriptions — Allscripts’ other big business besides electronic health records. 

I just wanted to thank Glen Tullman for pointing out that not only does he have a huge conflict of interest in regards to EMR adoption, but he’s also had success influencing other Medicare legislation for which he would be even more biased (Allscripts being the most widely used e-prescribing software).  This sure doesn’t sound like the CHANGE that Obama’s been talking about.  Sounds like business as usual to me.

I can understand why Obama would want to talk to some of the main EMR vendors out there.  It would be interesting and insightful to hear their biased point of view.  However, I’m talking about a discussion with these EMR vendors.  I’m not talking about having them as an advisor to Obama.  Are there really no unbiased consultants that can inform Obama on the challenges of EMR implementation?  There has to be something better.

I just think that Obama and the US governemnt don’t have anyone telling him the true realities associated with EMR implementations.  Nothing proves this more than the idea that the government will probably use CCHIT certified EMR as a criteria for who will get some of the $20 billion allocated to healthcare in the economic stimulus package.

The crazy part is I feel like I shouldn’t blame Obama for these decisions.  I hope and think that he’s trying to make the best decisions he possibly can with the limited information he’s receiving on the subject.  Does anyone have Obama’s blackberry number?  I’d like to send him a short message with my thoughts on his proposed investment in EMR.

Thinking along those lines, I think I might send a tweet to John Culberson, Congressman from Texas.  Talk about someone who’s really trying to listen to the people and have an open dialog about subjects.  I’ll let you know how that goes and if he even cares about electronic medical records.