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CommonWell and Healthcare Interoperability

Posted on October 6, 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.

Healthcare Scene sat down with Scott Stuewe, Director at Cerner Network and Daniel Cane, CEO & Co-Founder at Modernizing Medicine, where we talked about Cerner’s participation in CommonWell and Modernizing Medicine’s announcement to join CommonWell. This was a great opportunity to learn more about the progress CommonWell has made.

During our discussion, we talk about where CommonWell is today and where it’s heading in the future. Plus, we look at some of the use cases where CommonWell works today and where they haven’t yet build out that capability. We also talk about how the CommonWell member companies are working together to make healthcare interoperability a reality. Plus, we talk a bit about the array of interoperability solutions that will be needed beyond CommonWell. Finally, we look at where healthcare interoperability is headed.

In the “After Party” video we continued our conversation with Scott and Daniel where we talked about the governance structure for CommonWell and how it made decisions. We also talked about the various healthcare standards that are available and where we’re at in the development of those standards. Plus, we talk about the potential business model for EHR vendors involved in CommonWell. Scott and Daniel finish off by talking about what we really need to know about CommonWell and where it’s heading.

CommonWell is a big part of many large EHR vendors interoperability plans. Being familiar with what they’re doing is going to be important to understand how healthcare data sharing will or won’t happen in the future.

How Can Small Practices Thrive with MACRA?

Posted on June 29, 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.

UPDATE: In case you missed the live interview, you can watch the recorded conversation below:

2016 July - How Small Practices Can Thrive with MACRA - Headshots

On Thursday, July 7, 2016 at 3:30 PM ET (12:30 PM PT) I’ll be hosting a live video interview with the Chief Medical Officers of both Modernizing Medicine and Kareo. All of healthcare has been hit with the MACRA legislation and many talking heads are saying that MACRA is going to be a challenge for small practices. In this discussion, we’ll talk about how small practices can thrive within the changes that MACRA provides.

The great part is that you can join my live conversation with this panel of experts and even add your own comments to the discussion or ask them questions. All you need to do to watch live is visit this blog post on Thursday, July 7, 2016 at 3:30 PM ET (12:30 PM PT) and watch the video embed at the bottom of the post or you can subscribe to the blab directly. We’ll be doing a more formal interview for the first 30 minutes and then open up the Blab to others who want to add to the conversation or ask us questions. The conversation will be recorded as well and available on this post after the interview.

Here are a few more details about our panelists:

We hope you’ll join us live or enjoy the recorded version of our conversation. Plus, considering the length of the MACRA legislation, we welcome you to come and provide your insights into what the MACRA legislation means for small practices. We hope this will be an open discussion of the legislation and what impact it will have on small practices. Dr. Giannulli and Dr. Sherling are very well versed on the topic and will provide some tremendous insight into what to expect from MACRA.

If you’d like to see the archives of Healthcare Scene’s past interviews, you can find and subscribe to all of Healthcare Scene’s interviews on YouTube.

Finally, if you’d like to learn more about MACRA for small practices, I’ll be doing a detailed webinar on what we know about MACRA on July 13th at 1 PM ET (10 AM PT).

More EHR Consolidation – Modernizing Medicine Acquires gMed

Posted on July 22, 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.

I’ve been writing and tracking the EHR consolidation world for a long time. It’s always fascinating to me to see how various EHR companies merge, shut down, or build their own little (and sometimes big) empire. Today I was greeted by the announcement that Modernizing Medicine had acquired gMed. I found the announcement pretty ironic since I keynoted both companies EHR user conference last year. So, I know both companies really well.

On face, they are both companies in southern Florida and so that’s going to make the transition a lot easier. Not to mention the competition for talent in the area as they grow will be a lot easier with the combined company. I talked to Dan Cane, CEO and co-founder of Modernizing Medicine, and Joe Rubinsztain, MD, CEO and founder of gMed, today about the acquisition. They told me that the combined companies will have roughly 10,000 specialty providers and 420 employees. Plus, Dan Cane commented that they expect to add over 50 to that head count over the next little while. Dan also noted that if you use meaningful use attestation data (which is a decent, but faulty proxy for EHR market share) then it puts the combined companies in the top 15 of EHR vendors. That’s pretty interesting considering they only serve a handful of medical specialties.

I’ve recently written about the power of a specialty EHR company and both of these companies had been executing the specialty specific EHR approach with great success. Who doesn’t like a piece of software that’s customized uniquely for their needs?

I asked Dan and Joe about the future plans for the two software platforms. They’re cognizant that gMed has been so successful in the marketplace because of the tight integration between its PM, EHR, and endoscopy report writer. So, I got the feeling that Modernizing Medicine will be very careful to not “disrupt the apple cart.” Although, I think Modernizing Medicine is keenly interested in taking gMed’s 18 years of experience in gastroenterology and incorporating that knowledge and expertise into the Modernizing Medicine technology. So, I think we’ll see this play out slowly and once Modernizing Medicine has caught their product up to gMed, we’ll see them sunset the gMed software. That could be a year or two at least.

There’s one caveat to all of that though. First, gMed has a PM and Modernizing Medicine doesn’t have one. I asked if Modernizing Medicine would start using the gMed PM. They won’t (at least for now) and I think that’s because Modernizing Medicine wants a truly integrated PM if they’re going to roll out their own PM. Plus, gMed’s PM has so many gastro specific features that I’m not sure it would be a good fit for a dermatologist (one of Modernizing Medicine’s best specialties). My guess is that Modernizing Medicine will utilize gMed’s PM experience to finally roll out their own PM, but we’ll see. They certainly have plenty to tackle when it comes to gastro EHR and deciding what they want to do with the endoscopy report writer which is very popular and important part of what set gMed apart from other EHR vendors.

I respect both gMed and Modernizing Medicine. So, I’m really interested to see what’s going to happen with the combined companies.

Healthcare IT Marketing

Posted on November 20, 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.

I’m excited to tell you that we’ve officially announced the 2nd Annual Health IT Marketing and PR Conference happening May 7-8, 2015 in Las Vegas. We’ll do a full post in the future describing all the details, or you can check out the HITMC conference website for many of the details as well. It’s going to be the greatest gathering of healthcare marketing and PR executives that’s ever been done. People’s response to the first event has been amazing and I believe what we have planned for the second year will be even better. We hope we’ll see you there.

Here at EMR and HIPAA, we continue to grow and reach amazing new milestones. We just passed 10 Million pageviews on just EMR and HIPAA. We’ve done 2142 blog posts and you’ve contributed 9598 comments during that same time. Plus, I’m really excited that the Healthcare Scene blog network has over 29,500 Healthcare Scene email subscribers. I appreciate every reader that trusts us to provide thought leadership on the healthcare IT industry. We’ll keep doing everything we can to provide you value every day.

As part of our regular content, we’ve been working really hard on a number of amazing sponsored blog post series. They’ve been very well received by readers. I previously highlighted the content series that have been sponsored by Medical Management Corporation of America and The Breakaway Group. I’m sure that many of you have also enjoyed the recently started Cost Effective EHR Workflow Series that’s being sponsored by ClinicSpectrum. I’m looking forward to the amazing content these sponsored series provide readers.

Since our last post recognizing companies who support the work we do, we’ve had all of these great companies renew their sponsorships:
Ambir – Advertising since 1/2010
Cerner – Advertising since 9/2011
Canon – Advertising since 10/2012
gMed – Advertising since 8/2013
Colocation America – Advertising since 10/2013
Modernizing Medicine – Advertising since 1/2014

I’m extremely proud of those advertisers who’ve supported us for such a long time. Hard for me to believe that Ambir, for example, is about to reach their 5 year mark advertising on EMR and HIPAA.

A big thanks also goes out to our new sponsors. If you enjoy the content we create, take a minute to check out these companies and see if they can help you in your business:

HIPAA Secure Now! – I’ve written regularly about the need to do a proper HIPAA Risk Assessment in order to avoid any HIPAA penalties and to meet the meaningful use requirements. While you can do the HIPAA risk assessment in house, there’s some real value in having someone outside your organization being the one doing the HIPAA Risk Assessment. Avoids a conflict of interest. If you’re looking for someone to help you with your MU risk assessment, check out what HIPAA Secure Now has to offer.

Blue Horseshoe Network – I think their ad says it all. “Just Call Justina” if you need support for your EHR Go-Live, EHR Training or EHR optimization support. I’ve had a chance to interact with Justina myself and she’s got a lot of energy and passion for the work she does. Check out what Justina and Blue Horseshoe Network can do to help you in your EHR efforts.

Canon – You’ll see that Canon was listed in our renewing advertisers, but I wanted to highlight them here as well since they just started a big email sponsorship campaign with us. Canon is doing a lot of work to bring their fully integrated scanning solutions to healthcare organizations. We appreciate their support of our site and now our email lists as well.

You can get more details on how to get your company added to this list of EMR and HIPAA supporters. Just drop us a note on our contact us page. We’re happy to talk with you and your company about our sponsored content, display ads, email marketing, and webinar options. I think you’ll be impressed by the fully integrated email, SEO, display, and social marketing campaigns we provide.

Fun Friday Video from ZDoggMD

Posted on October 3, 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 famously funnier than placebo and CEO of Turntable Health, ZDoggMD, has put out a great new healthcare parody video to Garth Brooks, Friends in Low Places. The video is called “Friends with Low Platelets.”

Turns out, I just discovered that ZDoggMD and I will be sharing the same stage at the Modernizing Medicine EHR user conference, EMA Nation, as part of my Fall Health IT conference schedule. I’ll let ZDoggMD go for the funny talk and I’ll take a more emotional storytelling approach. Should make for a great event.

Side Note: It’s great that Las Vegas is finally being recognized for it’s amazing Healthcare thought leaders (ZDoggMD and myself are both in Las Vegas). Ok, Las Vegas isn’t a hub for healthcare. We’re definitely punching above our weight class, but there’s something to say about Las Vegas doing interesting things in healthcare and health IT.

Practical Application of Watson with EHR

Posted on July 24, 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.

Ever since Watson made its debut on Jeopardy, I haven’t been able to not check out what Watson was doing next. No doubt what Watson did on Jeopardy was impressive. However, it’s one thing to do what it did on Watson. It’s another thing to commercialize the Watson into something useful.

I’d long been hearing that Watson was going to be great for healthcare IT and that healthcare would really benefit from the technology. However, everything I saw felt very conceptual as opposed to practical and implemented. So, I was really interested in talking with Modernizing Medicine about their EHR integration with Watson.

You can find my interview with Daniel Cane and Dr. Michael Sherling, Founders of Modernizing Medicine, talking about Watson and some of the other cool ways they’re trying to help doctors make use of the data in an EHR in the video below. Plus, we even talk ICD-10 and MU 2 delay as well.

Note: Modernizing Medicine is a Healthcare Scene advertiser.

2000+ EMR and HIPAA Blog Posts and 9.5 Million Pageviews Later

Posted on May 22, 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.

We just passed 2000 blog posts on EMR and HIPAA (officially this is blog post #2009) and we’re right at 9.5 million pageviews since we first started this blog. Plus, to round out the numbers, we just passed 12,000 (officially 12,065) comments on the blog as well. I’m honestly not really sure how to process these numbers. Not to mention that nearly 5000 email subscribers get their “daily cup of EMR and HIPAA” in their inbox 6-7 days a week.

Over the years we’ve had a number of writers contribute amazing content to the site, but most of our regular writers contribute to another Healthcare Scene website like EMR and EHR. I’ve generally reserved EMR and HIPAA for the content that I write and so 1705 of the blog posts were written by me. Not too bad for a little over 8 years of writing. I think I’ve accomplished some good.

Every 3-6 months I like to also take a minute to thank the sponsors who support the work we do here at EMR and HIPAA. Without them, I wouldn’t have the time to do what I do and provide the value that we provide the readers of EMR and HIPAA.

Key Sponsors
At the core of supporting our website has always been our sponsors who put up their advertising on the site. Take a look at these companies who’ve sponsored the site and see if one of them can help you and your organization:

Ambir – Advertising since 1/2010 – If you’re looking for a workgroup scanner for your organization take a look at Ambir’s scanners. I have one on my desk at home and it’s worked great. Plus, Ambir is expanding what they do beyond scanners. At HIMSS I saw a demo of their new forms program for tablets that is really slick. You can basically take any paper form and make it so you can write on top of it. It’s a really slick product. I know they’re still adding a few features to the product. Once it’s out in the wild, I’ll do another post about it with more details.

Cerner – Advertising since 9/2011 – I really don’t think anyone needs an introduction to Cerner EHR. The Cerner Ambulatory EHR team has advertised with us for a very long time. One of the things that I find most exciting about the Cerner ambulatory EHR product is their mobile interface. It has some slick features and I think we’re just getting started with optimizing EHRs on tablets and other mobile devices.

Canon – Advertising since 10/2012 – Another company that really doesn’t need an introduction other than to say that this is the Canon scanners, not the Canon cameras. I have a Canon scanner on my desk at work and it’s worked wonderfully well for me. It saves me so much time to have a real workhorse of a scanner. A scanner is one of those essential EHR peripherals and that won’t likely change for a long time to come.

gMed – Advertising since 8/2013 – If you’re in gastroenterology, then you need to take a minute to check out gMed. I recently did a demo and I was particularly impressed with their Endoscopy Report Writer. I loved the way it integrated with external devices and the EHR for easy documentation. Along with being an advertiser, gMed has also invited me to be the keynote speaker at the gMed Summit 2014 (the gMed user group event). I’m really excited to share my insights into the future of EMR and healthcare IT with the gMed users. Those working in gastro should also download this gMed whitepaper: Independent Gastroenterology: A Look into the Future.

interfaceMD – Advertising since 9/2013 – Better than me trying to explain what makes the interfaceMD EHR unique, check out this video interview I did with Joel Kanick, interfaceMD’s founder. The video really shows what a unique approach they take to EHR. I’d describe their approach to EHR a little like having a private butler or concierge service at a hotel. They want to make everything as easy as possible for you and if something’s wrong they’ll take the blame for everything. I think it’s a smart approach that resonates with many doctors.

Colocation America – Advertising since 10/2013 – The demand for HIPAA compliant cloud hosting is only going up and up. Whether you’re a small practice, a large organization, a startup company or a publicly traded healthcare IT organization, you likely need a HIPAA compliant host. Colocation offers a wide variety of options for you to choose from.

Modernizing Medicine – Advertising since 1/2014 – I’ve written a number of articles that describe the Modernizing Medicine EHR much better than I do. Check out their unique EHR interface and their approach to ICD-10 (which I guess will now have to wait another year to be really valuable). I’ll be doing an interview on Thursday next week with Modernizing Medicine’s CEO, Daniel Cane and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sherling to talk about their new integration between IBM’s Watson with their EHR. Watch the @ehrandhit Twitter account for all the details.

VM Racks – Advertising since 1/2014 – Another HIPAA compliant host you should consider for your hosting needs. One thing I love about VM Racks is that they offer a free 30 day trial of their hosting. What better way to know if they offer a quality service or not than to try it for 30 days?

Quirk Healthcare – Advertising since 3/2014 – While Quirk Healthcare is a newer advertiser, the Founder of Quirk Healthcare advertised with us at his previous EHR consulting company as well. I know they originally cut their teeth on NextGen EHR, but their website says they’ve helped 100 providers go live in 4 months and generated over $2 million in meaningful use payments. They also blog regularly and put on webinars with the latest on meaningful use. When the ICD-10 delay happened they were one of the first that wrote about it. When meaningful use stage 2 was delayed, they were on top of it. I love that about them.

You can get more details on how to get your company added to this list of EMR and HIPAA supporters. Just drop us a note on our contact us page.

Whitepaper Portal
Along with our key sponsors that support the site, a few months back we launched our Healthcare IT whitepaper portal. It’s done phenomenally well as thousands of people have downloaded relevant whitepapers that can help them do their job better. For example, you’ve probably seen me mention this whitepaper that covers the 6 Reality Checks of HIPAA Compliance.

We’re working with a bunch more companies to get some more high quality whitepapers on the portal. So, watch for those in the future. Plus, we’re looking at sharing a few Healthcare Scene specific ones as well. If you’re a company that has an amazing whitepaper, feel free to reach out to us to learn about how you can get it on our portal.

Content Series
We’ve also started doing a number of special blog post series on EMR and HIPAA that are sponsored by the Medical Management Corporation of America and The Breakaway Group. I’ve really enjoyed both of these blog post series and it really shows the depth of knowledge that both companies possess. I really love this content sponsorship model where a company with extraordinary expertise can share their knowledge and experience with the EMR and HIPAA audience while they build some recognition for their companies. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have.

Reader Thanks
Thanks to everyone who reads the site regularly. We couldn’t do what you do without your support as well. We have some of the best readers on the planet. They’re not afraid to share their wisdom, correct us when we’re wrong and improve healthcare as we know it. I’m looking forward to the next 2000 blog posts!

A Look Back on My 2012 Christmas Wish List

Posted on December 26, 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.

Last year, I posted a healthcare IT Christmas Wish list. A year later, I thought it would be fun if I got what I wanted for Christmas last year or not (yes, it takes healthcare at least a year to grant wishes).

Here’s the list and my thoughts on how far we’ve come on each wish:

1. Open EHR Systems – We’re certainly not there yet, but I think there has been a sea change when it comes to opening up EHR software. I’m sure some could appropriately argue that we still have a long way to go, but let me give you some examples from Epic that give me cause for hope. First, this Epic Interoperability chart that Judy shared. Second, Kaiser joined the Epic network. Third, the Epic API.

It’s fun to use Epic as a proxy for openness because they’ve been so closed for so long. Judy Faulkner was after all the one that suggested that open EHR was an issue for patients. I’d love to see EHR more open, but I’m excited by the possibilities of open EHR. I believe this will have to happen and vendors who fight against it will be left behind.

2. Remove Healthcare’s Perverse Incentives – Sadly, I’ve seen almost no change to this yet. One area where I think this could be starting to change is around price transparency. There’s been a strong push to make healthcare pricing more transparent. As more and more patients have high deductible plans (like me), we start to shop around a lot more and be more interested in price. When we’re footing the bill, that price translates to our cost. This will cause companies to change how they do business.

3. Beautiful EHR User Interfaces – I’ve seen very little change in this regard. Sure, a few have rolled out an iPad interface, but I think they’ve missed out on the iPad Opportunity. Although, I recently saw the Modernizing Medicine iPad interface again in person. It’s so fundamentally different than every other EHR interface I’ve seen. While it demonstrates well the opportunity, it’s so fundamentally different that I’m not sure any existing EHR vendors can replicate it. I ask myself if we’ve spent billions of dollars on EHR user interfaces that can’t be what they should become.

4. More Empowered and Trusted Patients – I’m sure we’ll be battling this one for a long time to come. Although, the empowered patient is happening. Health information is available to everyone at the click of the mouse or a swipe of the finger. This shift is going to happen. There is nothing anyone can do to stop it. It’s more a question of whether people will embrace it or “kick against the pricks.”

Overall I’d say that we’re generally trending towards my wish list, but as is usually the case there is plenty more to do. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above items.

Meaningful Use And Health IT Innovation

Posted on September 12, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Today I caught an excellent post on HIT Consultant by standards architect Keith Boone (aka @motorcycleguy on Twitter) on how Meaningful Use is affecting health IT. In his article, Boone argues that Meaningful Use requirements are stifling health IT innovation in some instances:

When you put an entire industry under the MU pressure cooker, the need to meet Federal Mandates overwhelms anything else.  The need to develop software that is able to support a large number of externally controlled mandates can, and in many cases, has resulted in bad engineering.  You can’t innovate well on a deadline.

Boone says he’s seen many instances where developers produce a capability that meets MU requirements but doesn’t meet the needs of the customer. He suggests, quite credibly in my view, that with Meaningful Use requirements dominating EMR development, that “neither developers nor end users really learn the lessons Meaningful Use is attempting to teach.”

That being said, he does cite a few instances where Meaningful Use has actually succeeded in supporting innovation, including:

* The Blue Button Plus supports a new, higher level of patient access to their data,and is built from components and requirements already present in Stage 2.

* The Query Health initiative, he suggests, has done innovative work that supports not only its stated focus (health research) but also automation of quality measurement using HL7’s HQMF.

But the bottom line remains — and this is me talking here, not Boone — that Meaningful Use will inevitably focus EMR vendors on developing to the standard, not coming up with neat innovations that may not meet the requirement. There’s just no way around it.

What we will see more of, meanwhile, is applications which serve as an extra layer or function to EMRs. As a recent story in MedCityNews notes, new EMR-related innovations range from Modernizing Medicine’s touch-based electronic medical assistant for specialists to healthfinch, a technology which standardizes care protocols for the 80 percent of stable patients they see so they can apply their time and skills to the sickest 10 percent to 20 percent.

Readers, what technologies are you seeing which enhance the experience of using an EMR?

Where’s the Imagery in EHR?

Posted on July 26, 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.

One of my readers recently asked me, “Where’s the imagery in EHR?”

It was a fascinating question. At the core of their question was the implication that there was real value in images that wasn’t being leveraged in EHR software. This is not to say that EHR software doesn’t do any imagery, but it could do so much more. Pretty much every EHR software I’ve seen has some sort of image documentation available. Sometimes it’s just uploading an image to the EHR, but in most cases you can incorporate an image into the documentation itself. Usually you can do some sort of Paint like editing of the image as well. Although, that’s about the extent of imagery in most EHR software.

Of course, when most people hear imagery and EHR, they likely think of DICOM images from radiology. This is definitely missing from most EHR software as well. The excuse is usually a mix of the DICOM images being too large and having the right software to view the DICOM images. With that said, I think this imagery will eventually be part of the images available in an EHR.

I’d love to see much more imagery available in the EHR. It should be as simple to add a photo into your EHR as it is to post it to instagram. We’re not there yet, but we should be. There are hundreds of situations in healthcare where an image provides incredible benefit to your documentation. Imagine having images or video from the Otoscope stored in the EMR. The technology is there to be able to store this type of imagery in an EHR. In fact, back in 2006 I predicted that one day an EMR would store a video recording of an entire patient visit.

Why don’t we see more imagery in EMR?

The simple reason we don’t see more imagery in EMR is that reimbursement doesn’t require it. In fact, you could make a case that reimbursement discourages the use of imagery in documentation. The same goes for physician liability. You can make a case that more imagery in an EHR can make for more physician liability. Unfortunately, healthcare is heavily influenced by both reimbursement and liability.

Meaningful use doesn’t do anything to encourage the use of imagery as well. In fact, the healthcare interoperability standards do almost nothing to consider the transfer of image based documentation. They basically didn’t take this into account, because so little documentation includes it.

There are a few EMR vendors that are taking imagery seriously. Modernizing Medicine’s EMA EMR is one example. They use images to document the whole visit. Although, ironically they take all this amazing image work and translate it into text because that’s what’s required for reimbursement. How twisted is that? Of course, the EMA EMR is designed for specialties that really benefit from images: dermatology, opthamology, optometry, plastic surgery, and orthopedics.

I’d love to see more imagery used in EMR. Unfortunately, I see nothing driving the use of images in EMR.