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An Example of EHR as Database of Healthcare

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One of my favorite interviews at mHealth Summit was with Alan Portela, CEO of AirStrip Technologies. I’d definitely heard good things about AirStrip, but I must admit that before our meeting I didn’t have a very good understanding of what AirStrip was really all about. I was pleased to learn that they are well deserving of the hype. I believe AirStrip will do wonderful things to help make healthcare data mobile and AirStrip is lucky to have Alan Portela leading the company. Alan is unique when it comes to healthcare IT leaders in that he understands the healthcare culture, but also has a unique vision for how healthcare can embrace the future.

The core of what AirStrip has done to date has been in OB and Cardiology. In fact, each of those areas is worthy of their own post and look into how they’ve changed the game in both of those areas. The OB side speaks to me since we recently had our fourth child. I can imagine how much better the workflow would have been had my wife’s OB had access to the fetal waveforms (CTGs) on her mobile device. Instead, it was left to the nurse to interpret the recordings and communicate them to the OB. There’s real power for an OB to have the data in the palm of their hand.

Similar concepts can be applied to cardiology. Timing is so huge when it comes to the heart and there’s little doubt that mobile access to healthcare data for a cardiologists can save a lot of time from when the data is collected to when the cardiologist interprets the results.

The real question is why did it take so long for someone like AirStrip to make this data mobile. The answer has many complexities, but it turns out that ensuring that the data displays to clinical grade quality is not as easy as one might think. An ECG waveform needs to be much more precise than a graph of steps taken.

While both of these areas are quite interesting, since I’m so embedded in the EHR world I was particularly interested in AirStrip’s move into making EHR data mobile. They’ve started with Meaningful Use Tracker, but based on my conversation with Alan Portela this is just the beginning. AirStrip wants to make your important clinical information mobile.

I pushed Alan on how he’ll be able to do this since so many EHR companies have created big barriers to being able to access their data. Turns out that Alan seems to share my view that EHR is the Database of Healthcare. This idea means that instead of the EHR doing everything for everyone, a whole ecosystem of companies are going to build amazingly advanced functionality on the back of the EHR data and functions.

In AirStrip’s case, they want to take EHR data and make it mobile. They don’t want to store the data. They don’t want to do the advanced clinical decision support. Instead, they want to leverage the EHR data and EHR functionality on a mobile device.

One key to this approach is that AirStrip wants to be able to do this for an organization regardless of which EHR you use on the backend. In fact, Alan argues that most hospital organizations are going to have multiple EHR systems under their purview. As hospitals continue to consolidate you can easily see how one organization is going to have a couple hospitals on Epic, a couple on Cerner, a couple on Meditech, etc. If AirStrip can be the consistent mobile front end for all of the major EHR companies, that’s a powerful value proposition for any hospital organization.

Of course, we’ll see if AirStrip gets that far. Right now they’re taking a smart approach to mobilizing specific clinical data elements. Although, don’t be surprised when they work to mobilize all of an organization’s healthcare data.

AirStrip is just one example of a company that’s using EHR as their database of healthcare data. I’m sure we’re going to see hundreds and thousands of companies who build powerful applications on the back of EHR data.

December 13, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

CCHIT Certification Thoughts

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I just came upon a blog post on the TempDev blog that talks about the expansion of CCHIT certification into a number of new specialty categories. It’s really interesting to look at the list of new categories:

  • Behavioral Health
  • Clinical Research
  • Dermatology
  • Oncology
  • Advanced Interoperability
  • Advanced Quality (in reference to Quality Measures)
  • Advanced Clinical Decision Support
  • Long Term Care
  • OB/GYN

As noted by Ben, these are in addition to the HIE and PHR categories added for 2009. Well, I never back away from a discussion about CCHIT. I just wonder why the Senate hasn’t called me up to a hearing to talk about CCHIT certification. Of course, my friend Al Borges would do much better than I, but I digress.

After reading through Ben’s post about the expansion of CCHIT I had to leave a few of my thoughts on the subject in the comments. I thought most of my readers would find it interesting and so here’s some off the cuff thoughts on CCHIT certification that I left in the comments:

You are dead on when you say that CCHIT is a powerful driver in the EHR marketplace. It’s a really tough decision for EMR companies to decide whether to spend money on CCHIT certification or not. Not because CCHIT certification will make their product any better. The biggest advantage CCHIT certification offers is in your ability to market/sale your EMR system. That fact can’t be argued. It’s just unfortunate that the public isn’t better informed about the meaning of CCHIT certification.

I do think that over time CCHIT certifications will be so old that EMR companies are going to have to avoid the discussion of with CCHIT certification year they have or something like that. This will lead to consumers being unhappy with the process and lead to more troubles in the future.

The problem is that CCHIT hasn’t create a sustainable certification model for most EHR companies. I even hear that CCHIT might not have a sustainable certification model themselves despite their incredibly high rates for certification. At least that was what I read when I heard that CCHIT was going back to the government for more funding.

I still think the biggest problem is that most people see certification as a strong indicator of whether the EMR is usable or not, but CCHIT doesn’t test that at all. I’m considering some options to measure that and even possibly pursuing a PhD in health informatics where I’d like to study the subject. We’ll see.

It will be interesting to see how many specialties actually certify in these categories. My guess is that it will be the same Jabba the Hut EMRs (my term) that did the original CCHIT certification.

I guess you know where I stand on this issue.

Watch for more discussion about CCHIT, because I think it’s important to share my views on the subject considering it could be a major part of what I call the Obama EMR stimulus package.

February 2, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.