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HIMSS11 Thoughts – Day 2

Posted on February 21, 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.

Hopefully none of you were expecting Meaningful Use Mondays. We’re taking the week off thanks to HIMSS, but there will certainly be some meaningful use discussion in my day 2 experience at HIMSS11.

I must admit that my morning was a little disappointing. I’d wanted to see Reich speak, but it ended up being too early for me. So, I followed what he said on Twitter. I’m afraid to say that following it on Twitter might possibly have been better than being there. There’s something really cool about the Twitter back channel conversation at a conference.

I was excited to go to the session Dr. No: The Response to HITECH, but it was a dud for me. Maybe it means I’m just too involved with the HITECH act that she didn’t offer me much to chew on. Plus, the presentation was pretty dry and flat. Oh well, at least I could enjoy the interesting Twitter chatter about the social media session by Mayo Clinic. Makes sense that Twitter would go wild during a social media session.

Next I attended the HIT X.0 presentation with John Glaser and Aneesh Chopra. Aneesh brought the rock star energy like usual, but John Glaser was pretty terribly boring. It’s not a good sign when the most memorable part of their presentation was Aneesh calling him Johnny G. I also was glad that they had the Twitter comments on screen. Too bad they were too strict with the filter of it, but baby steps.

Lots of interesting content from my meeting with GE healthcare. I loved how organized and professional they were about it all. Plus, their government liaison made an interesting comment about how the time frame for delivering meaningful use stage 2 details (Summer 2012 I think) and when hospitals need to show meaningful use stage 2 (October 2012 I think) is too compressed.

I also got a chance to look at the GE Centricity Advance iPad app. They’re following the same iPad EMR strategy I suggested previously where you only implement a subset of the EMR functionality on the iPad and as native iPad app that maximizes the iPad interface. I see most EMR vendors doing the same.

I had a very interesting chat with Jonathan Bush from Athena Health. I was excited to meet with him since you never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. I took a video of him where I did a “Tell me something I don’t know” with the most common HIMSS buzzwords. Once I get home, I’ll upload the video and post it on the blog.

After that I met with Rohit Nayak, from MedPlus (Quest Diagnostic’s EMR company that offers the Care360 EMR). Another day I’ll do a post to talk more about the Care360 positioning and what makes them unique. It’s really fascinating to see how a lab company is attacking the EMR market. It’s pretty unique.

Care360 recently made an announcement about Care360’s participation with Microsoft HealthVault and the Direct Project. Aneesh actually made the prediction in the session mentioned earlier that by the end of 2012 80% of doctors will have a direct project address. Rohit agreed that it was possible and that Care360 would be playing a major part. He even said that Aneesh was considering a leaderboard for which company assigns the most direct project addresses. I’d be very interested to see that happen. It’s amazing how having your name on a leaderboard will motivate companies.

After this I met with a whole set of people from Henry Schein (which offers the MicroMD EMR). The dynamics of a large successful company with an EMR division (similar to Quest) I find really interesting. Plus, Henry Schein has had their Practice Management software for a long time (14,000 PMS users).

I was impressed by MicroMD’s approach to marketing their software. They acknowledged that it’s hard to be all things for every type of potential EMR user. So, they’re all about focusing on those specialties where their EHR fits well.

I was interested in how they were approaching meaningful use. Similar to how they’ve done ePrescribing tracking, they’re meaningful use certified EHR will be reporting back how many of their users are meeting the meaningful use requirements. I’m hopeful that once they start collecting this information in full, that they’ll share that information on here. They sounded open to the idea. It would be quite interesting to know which meaningful use measures doctors were generally finding hard to meet.

I already wrote about my time at the MTIA name change. Go and read it if you’re someone that transcription is dead.

Then, off to HIStalkapalooza. I was actually surprised that the event was pretty empty. Much nicer than last year where you basically couldn’t move. Plus, it was great to see the ESD people and see them get featured for their great set of shoes. They also loved the special ESD HIMSS top 10 shirt I was wearing. It was perfect for the event. Here’s what was on the shirt:

The Top 10 REAL Reasons I’m at HIMSS Orlando:
#10 Disney World totally beats Coke World.
#9 Orlando won’t have snow like Atlanta did last year.
#8 ESD’s plantable seed card which turned into a real dill plany for ccooking. The swag that keeps on giving!
#7 I’m secretly hoping Colbie Calliat will do an encore performance this year.
#6 I need to walk off those holiday cookies.
#5 I hope I get scanned by the RFID devices and magically transported to a tropical island.
#4 Booth Babes!
#3 Can you say parties?
#2 I’m just here for the food.
And the #1 reason….Anything for the EMRandHIPAA.com fan girls.
Enterprise Software Deployment – We Implement IT

I thought about going to a couple other events, but just opted to come back and write a few blog posts. Lots lots more planned tomorrow. Be sure to find me at HIMSS tomorrow so you can win a free HD TV.

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.

Workforce and Regional Extension Center Challenges in HITECH Act

Posted on November 10, 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.

I just read one of the best blog posts I’d read in a long time. So much so that I just had to post part of it a link to it on my site. The post is called “Far From Shovel-Ready” by Anthony Guerra. I think you all should go and read the entire post. It’s well thought out and well written. I don’t know Anthony Guerra personally, but our paths have regularly crossed on the internet. I hope one day to have the pleasure of meeting him (maybe at HIMSS?).

His blog post starts out with this statement, “Legislation that took weeks to write will wreak havoc for years.” I’m not quite as certain as Anthony that it WILL wreak havoc. However, I’ve been warning of the possibilities of problems for a while now.

He describes the main points of his post like this:

My unpalatable HITECH morsel of the moment centers, generally, around the lack of healthcare IT workforce necessary to make the legislation’s goals a reality and, more specifically, the bizarre market dynamics that will be precipitated by the half-baked Regional Extension Center (REC) farce.

You can read the article for the rest of the details. However, those interested/worried/concerned about the workforce shortage in healthcare IT will enjoy this part of the article:

This means the fight for healthcare IT talent, which everyone agrees is heating up, will get doubly vicious, with hospitals, large practices, vendors and consultancies — and now 70 RECs — competing on what will be an uneven playing field for scarce talent.

Why uneven? Because the RECs will be able to pay fantasy wages, taxpayer funded wages, to woo the cream of your healthcare IT workforce.

At the recently held annual CHIME conference, I spoke to the CEO of a boutique HIT consultancy who said he, “needed 50 people TODAY,” but had no idea where they would come from. John Glaser, Ph.D., CIO at Partners Healthcare and senior special advisor to ONCHIT, recently wrote that those who employ healthcare IT talent must be sure their wages are fair and their work fulfilling, as poaching season is fast approaching.

Obama and Congressional Leaders Can’t Overlook EMR Failure Rates

Posted on January 29, 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.

“If it’s [EMR investment and implementation] too hasty, you can create so many bad experiences that people say…’My data’s a mess and my patients are angry,'” Mr. Glaser said in a recent Wall Street Journal article on the possible wasted investment in EMR. 

The scary thing is that John Glaser, chief information officer for Partners Healthcare, is probably right.  I know that President Barack Obama wants to “wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its costs.”  I want to do that too.  In fact, I think we’d all like for that to happen.  Unfortunately, I think we have to seriously ask ourselves if the current electronic medical records offerings can raise health care’s quality and lower its costs.

I think there are two points that have been proven time and time again in implementing an electronic medical record in a doctor’s office.

Point 1: A Well Implemented EMR Yields Great Results – Hundreds (possibly thousands) of doctors can attest to how happy they are using an EMR.  My personal finding is that the key to a successful EMR implementation is deeply related to how well a clinical practice is run before implementing an EMR.  In fact, I believe an EMR will exacerbate any problems a clinic may have been experiencing pre-EMR.  However, many clinics have shown that when done right there are tremendous benefits associated with an EMR.

Point 2: A Poorly Implemented EMR Causes More Harm Than Good – Blame it on the software.  Blame it on the clinic.  Blame it on the technology.  Blame it on the health care culture.  It’s probably a mixture of all of these things that has caused so many EMR implementations to fail.  Regardless of the reason, all of these failed EMR implementations have shown the damage that can be done to a practice that fails in their implementation.  Unhappy patients.  Unhappy and frustrated doctors.  Thousands of hours evaluating, learning, training, testing and implementing down the drain.

It’s no wonder that the New England Journal of Medicine found that only 4% of U.S. physicians were using a “fully functional” electronic health record system.  The huge failure rate among physicians has created a fear in doctors that’s difficult to overcome.  Sadly I think it might take a generation for doctors to overcome this bias.

The reality is that implementation of an EMR CAN increase health care’s quality and lower its costs.  The problem is that most clinics haven’t yielded these promised benefits and most are living with failed EMR implementations.  The huge numbers of failed implementations can not be ignored.  Ignoring this will lead to even more failed implementations which could set the movement to digitizing patient records back years.

It’s not enough to poor money onto something without looking at and solving the reasons why so many people have failed in their implementation of electronic medical records.

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m not for investment in EMR and health care IT.  I think that help is needed and could be beneficial to the future of health care in the US.  I also really believe that EMR does open up a whole world of opportunities that we couldn’t consider without broad adoption of electronic medical records.  However, I don’t think enough attention is being paid to understanding what factors are important to implementing an EMR successfully.  By understanding these facets of implementation we can invest in electronic medical records that are actually being used and effective.  Otherwise, we’re just lining the pockets of the EMR vendors without any benefits to health care or doctors.

Detail’s of Obama’s EMR Stimulus Package

Posted on January 24, 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.

UPDATE: Check out more specific details on Obama’s EMR stimulus package.

UPDATE 2: Many of you will find my presentation on the ARRA EMR Simulus money of interest.

Details about Obama’s health care stimulus package are out. I prefer to call it Obama funds EMRs for medical practices. Here’s a summary of some proposed changes via HISTalk and John Glaser, VP and CIO at Partners HealthCare System (and thanks to Chris Paton for linking me there).

  • Provision of $40,000 in incentives (beginning in 2011) for physicians to use an EHR
  • Creation of HIT Extension Programs that would facilitate regional adoption efforts
  • Provision of funds to states to coordinate and promote interoperable EHRs
  • Development of education programs to train clinicians in EHR use and increase the number of healthcare IT professionals
  • Creation of HIT grant and loan programs
  • Acceleration of the construction of the National Health Information Network (NHIN)

He also adds. “All of these changes (and more) are accompanied by the infusion of $20B into the healthcare sector. To put this in perspective, in 2007 the HIT industry in the US was $26B (Gartner).”

It’s also important to note like John did that this is still just proposed legislation. In the next 30 days it will be turned upside down. However, what we can guarantee is that the government is going to make a huge investment in health care IT and in particular EMR and EHR software. Man, big EHR and EMR vendors must be licking their chops right now.

The funny thing is that I mentioned this investment in EMR to my wife’s OB/Gyn and she started to laugh. She said, “Like the government’s ever done anything to help the provider.” While I think the response was a bit jaded, you could tell that she sincerely felt like the government wasn’t going to help her get an EMR and honestly I don’t see her ever changing to one.

However, the perspective that the health care IT industry was $26B in 2007 and they’re looking at investing $20B really jumps out at me. It goes back to my thought that there aren’t enough health care IT, EMR, and EHR professionals out there right now. Can the health care IT market really support an infusion of $20B right now? I have my doubts. Of course, I don’t think that’s going to stop anyone in Washington. Plus, I find the possibilities for someone like myself who has experience incredibly exciting.

I’ll save my details response to these points for posts of their own, but it’s going to be a really interesting next couple months as we watch Obama’s investment in health care come to fruition. Of course, this assumes that the money doesn’t just get stuck in the political process and never actually makes it to the doctors who need the money to implement an EMR and EHR.