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Looking at EHR Internationally

Posted on August 24, 2016 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.

Today, I’m sitting in my hotel room in Dubai (Check out my full health IT conference schedule) looking out over this incredible city. This is the 3rd time I’ve come to Dubai to teach an EHR workshop and so I’ve had a chance to fall in love with some many things. Not the least of which is the people that come to participate in the workshop. Each time is a unique perspective with people coming from around the middle east including countries like Saudia Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and of course Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE to name a few.

There’s something incredible about coming to a place that is culturally so different and yet when I talk about EHR software it’s more alike than it is different. A great example of this is the often large divide between doctors and EHR implementers. It seems that everyone struggles to get doctors to take enough time to really learn how to use the EHR effectively. Then, despite not doing the training they complain that the EHR doesn’t work properly. If you’ve ever been part of an EHR implementation you know this cycle well.

What I find interesting in the middle east is that they don’t feel suffocated by regulations like we have in the US. There’s much more freedom available to them to innovate. However, there’s not the same drive to innovate here that exists in most US markets. It’s interesting to sense this disconnect between the opportunity to innovate and the desire to innovate.

I think there’s also a bit of a misconception about the region. From the US perspective, we often see these rich middle eastern countries and think that they just have as much money as they want and they can spend lavishly on anything. When you look at some of the amazing buildings or the indoor ski slopes in Dubai it’s easy to see how this perspective is well deserved. However, that’s not the reality that most of these healthcare organizations face. This seems to be particularly true with gas prices being quite low. In many ways, this is a similar to what many doctors experience. Doctors like to drive the Mercedes, but then complain that they aren’t really paid as much as people think. That creates a disconnect between what’s seen and the reality. I think the middle east suffers from this disconnect as well.

What’s most heartening about the experience of talking EHR internationally is that there’s one core thing that seems to exist everywhere. That’s a desire to truly make a difference for the patient. That’s the beautiful part of working in healthcare. We all have a desire to make life better for a patient. It’s amazing how this principle is universal. Now, if we could just all execute it better.

My Take on EHR in Dubai and the Middle East

Posted on September 2, 2015 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.

Yesterday I wrapped up a 2 day EHR workshop I taught in Dubai as part of the start of my Fall Healthcare IT conference season. This is the second time I’ve taught the EHR workshop in the middle east and it’s always a great experience for me to learn more about EHR in the middle east. This time we had attendees from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and a few regions of United Arab Emirates (UAE) including Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Plus, this time I was lucky to have the support of Nanette from The Breakaway Group as sponsor for the workshop. It’s always great when a sponsor of a workshop adds to the quality of the workshop for attendees. The Breakaway Group definitely did that for us.
ACS and The Breakaway Group at EHR Workshop in Dubai
As I think back on the experience, the message that resonates with me most is something Nanette said in the final roundtable discussion part of the workshop. She commented that all of the challenges that attendees were sharing were the same challenges that we face in the US when it comes to EHR and healthcare IT. She commented that she’d already heard all the same challenges before. So, it’s at least nice to know that people around the world are dealing with many of the same challenges.

A simple example of this was one lady in the workshop talked about the ego of many doctors and how that was an enormous challenge for her when it came to implementing the EHR. Those of us in the US can no doubt relate to this challenge. So, we talked in the EHR workshop about how you can use a physician’s ego to your benefit in an EHR implementation. That’s a powerful concept that applies world wide.

So, I certainly echo Nanette’s comments that even though we’re literally half way around the world in Dubai, the challenges associated with implementing and adopting EHR software are largely the same. No doubt there are some different dynamics associated with who pays for the EHR and the benefits gleaned from the EHR here in the Middle East, but the EHR selection and implementation challenges are very much the same.

One other thing I found interesting in this EHR workshop was the diversity of people that attended. We had a number of gentlemen from India who were working on EHR implementations in the UAE. We had a man from Austria that was working on a long term care EHR implementation. We had a gentleman and lady originally from Iraq and Syria that were working on EHR implementations in Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Dubai is certainly a melting pot of so many different cultures and that was reflected in this EHR workshop.

If you follow @ehrandhit on Twitter, then you might have seen my Periscopes from the EHR workshop in Dubai. I was a bit surprised how willing they were to hop on Periscope. They loved the experience and were happy to share their culture with the world. I look forward to the opportunity to come back again.

My Overall Take on EHR in the Middle East

Posted on May 28, 2015 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 you follow me on Twitter or on Facebook, then you’ve probably seen me posting pictures of my trip to Dubai. While I’ve been able to have a little fun and games on this trip, I spent most of my time teaching a 3 day EHR workshop to a group of amazing people from Saudia Arabia, Oman, and Pakistan. If you’ve never been out of the US and experience other countries, then I highly recommend it. It provides some amazing added perspective to your life.

Based on the surveys and feedback from attendees, I’d say the workshop was a success. I was surprised that I could talk about EHR for 3 days, but I didn’t have any problem. We’re going to shorten future EHR workshops I do to only 2 days, not because there isn’t enough content, but that after 2 days of talking about EHR you’re pretty well burnt out and can’t take in more information.

While I’m glad to hear that those who attended got value from the workshop, I must admit that I was grateful for the learning I took away from those in my class. It’s the truth of teaching. The students often teach the teacher as much as the teacher teaches the students. In fact, the last session of the workshop was an opportunity for the students to share their experiences and insights with EHR and to raise their challenges so we could collectively help each other. I love this type of community support. I’m hopeful it will continue well after the conference. Luckily with things like Twitter, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp, it’s easy for all of us from around the world to stay connected. Email’s not bad either.

While the middle east and each country in the middle east has some unique idiosyncrasies, I was most surprised by how similar it is in these countries when I compare it with my experience in the US. We like to think that it’s very different (and in a few cases it is), but there is more in common with implementing EHR than there is different when you look at EHR across the world.

For example, they still had doctors who didn’t want to train on the EHR and then complained that they didn’t know how to use it. The power of doctor peer pressure is just as strong internationally as it is in the US. EHR interfaces are as much a nightmare in the middle east as it is in the US. I could go on and on.

The thing I found most similar to the US was the people cared about the patients much like they do in the US. We generally have really amazing people working in healthcare and that appears to be true in the middle east as well. While we all understand the challenges we face in healthcare, the desire to provide great care to the patient is a universal desire.

I’m heading home tomorrow. I’ll be grateful to be home in my own bed and with my family. However, I’ve almost got a return trip planned for the end of August. Plus, my Saudi friends want me to come and share my insights in their country. Considering one of them has a jet ski on the ocean, that sounds pretty enticing. Not to mention my new friends in Oman offered to let me ride their camel if I visited them. I think we’ll stick to Dubai for now, but you never know where life will take me in the future. Maybe a future training I do will line up with HIMSS Middle East in December. Either way, I love that I’ve been able to learn about new EHR perspectives. It’s always enlightening.