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Quest EHR Lab Interfaces

Posted on March 7, 2012 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.

While at HIMSS I had the pleasure of spending some time talking with Rohit Nayak, VP of Physician Tech Solutions at Quest Diagnostics. Not only is Rohit a very nice gentleman, but he also provides a number of really interesting perspectives on the healthcare industry. Quest is obviously known in the lab world, but as I mentioned last year, Quest is shifting from being a lab company to a technology company. This is clearly seen by their Care360 EHR product.

At one point, Rohit and I started talking about Quest’s approach to interfacing with EHR software. When you consider that Quest has the lab results that many EHR companies want and now Quest is offering their own EHR it makes for an interesting situation. Rohit told me that Quest has 120 EHR interfaces. He told me Quest’s approach was to be open when it comes to sharing data.

Before I talk more about these interfaces, I think it’s worth commenting on the 120 EHR interface number. The number of EHR vendors is often debated and discussed. I personally like to use the 300 EHR companies number. I’ve seen some go as high as 600 EHR companies, but I think those people are counting any software regardless of if it offers a comprehensive EHR product. For example, they might include an ePrescribing app which is part of an EHR, but I wouldn’t count it in my number.

With that as background, I find the 120 EHR interfaces with Quest quite interesting. Outside of some very localized EHR companies, you’d think that most legitimate EHR companies would have been almost forced to build an interface with Quest. Although, someone did recently tell me that Quest and LabCorp only have 7% of the lab market so maybe I’m overstating EHR vendors need to interface with Quest. I’d be interested to hear from EHR vendors who don’t interface with Quest and why they haven’t yet done so.

Heading back to interfacing with Quest, I was interested in how Care360 EHR users that don’t use Quest for their labs would be handled. Say I was a doctor who used LabCorp for my labs, but wanted to use Quest’s Care360 EHR. Would Quest support a lab interface from Care360 to LabCorp? Rohit told me that Quest would have no problem integrating Care360 with Labcorp, but that LabCorp wouldn’t let them do it. Don’t you love competition?

Of course, I only had the chance to talk with Quest about this topic. I don’t remember ever even seeing LabCorp at HIMSS. Considering LabCorp hasn’t taken the EHR route directly that could be why. I’m not sure many LabCorp users would want to use the Care360 EHR, but it is interesting to consider.

Rohit and I also started an interesting discussion about how well EHR software is consuming the Lab data that’s being sent across these lab interfaces. I’ve asked him to do a guest post on the subject, so I hope to bring you that in the future. You can also check out this 5 EHR Questions with Rohit Nayak video I did while at HIMSS as well.

Care360 EHR, MedPlus and Quest Diagnostics

Posted on March 8, 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.

While some might consider the following commentary an ad for Quest Diagnostic’s Care360 EHR, it’s not. I don’t even have them as an advertiser. Plus, you could easily submit a number of other companies name in the place of Quest. However, the following were some thoughts I had after talking with the people behind Care360 EHR at Quest.

First, let me clarify some name issues so we’re all on the same page. Quest Diagnostics is the company. It’s publicly traded on the NYSE with the ticker DGX. Most of you will know about Quest since they’re one of the leading lab companies in the US. MedPlus is the subsidiary within Quest that covers the healthcare IT portion of the company including their EMR software. Care360 is the name of their SaaS EHR software which they sell. Although, Care360 is also used to provide lab results amongst other functions as well.

Now why am I talking about Care360 and Quest? I find it completely fascinating that a company like Quest is part of the EHR landscape. Certainly we have plenty of large and even many publicly traded companies that already provide an EHR, but I see some potential differences between Quest and many of these companies.

One of the biggest fears that doctors have when selecting an EHR company is that they’re afraid of how long that company will be around. Even in the cases of very large companies, there’s still the fear that the large EHR company might get bought out or merged into another company and the EHR software will be left on life support (see Misys being bought by Allscripts for an example). This is a reasonable fear that should be considered during the EMR selection process.

I believe that Quest and Care360 EHR has a distinct advantage in this regard. Quest is not likely to go out of business or even sell off their EHR software to another company. In fact, their Care360 EHR is so tightly coupled with the rest of Quest’s lab services, I’m not sure it would even be possible for Quest to sell off their EHR software if they wanted to do it.

That’s not to say that something couldn’t happen to Care360 that would make Quest change their direction. They could essentially “sell” their users to another EHR vendor through some sort of referral process or they could just choose to shutdown that division of the company because it wasn’t profitable. However, you can be quite sure that they’ll be interested in the transition process. At least if you’re a Quest lab customer. They’re not going to want to lose lab customers because they decided to stop doing EHR.

This is only one factor related to selection of an EMR (see my free EMR selection e-Book for more). There should be some discussion related to how tied you are to Quest if you use their EHR. For example, I can’t remember if Care360 has an interface with LabCorp or not. You might even ask yourself if a Lab company can make great EHR software. They also don’t have a practice management system, but said they’d consider creating one in the future.

It’s like most things in life. There’s pros and cons to everything. You could certainly argue some of the other benefits of going with Quest and Care360 EHR. For example, Quest’s been doing the SaaS based model with their Care360 lab results for a while on a very large scale. They have some expertise in that regard which they can carry over into their EHR product.

Now the question I’m interested in finding out is, what is Labcorp’s approach to EHR?

Different Methods to Become a Top EMR Company

Posted on December 20, 2010 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.

A few months ago, the blogger over at Health Finch wrote blog post which analyzes 3 of the top health care IT companies and how they were started. It is very interesting to see the evolution of the large health care IT companies. Here’s the summary of the 3 companies Health Finch looked at:
Epic Systems – Started with Scheduling and Billing
Cerner – Started as a Laboratory Information System
McKesson – Started dong Rx Management

As a PS to the post, they point out Epocrates working on the same model with their Epocrates EMR. That is one of the most interesting things I’ve noted when attending the various EMR related conferences that I attend. There’s a whole variety of ways that EMR companies are approaching the market.

Another example of this trend is the Care360 EHR from Quest. Think about all the benefits that Quest has over many other providers. Sure, the most obvious one is that they have easy access to the lab data. You can be sure that an interface with Quest labs will be free (unlike most other EMR vendors). Although, certainly it also could be a challenge if you want your EMR to interface with another lab. That could be interesting.

However, Quest has a number of other advantages over a new EMR company. They have an entire sales force (which I think they prefer to call consultants) that already have existing relationships with thousands and thousands of doctors. Quest could literally only sell EMR software to their existing lab customer base and do fine. Of course, that’s probably not the best strategy, but that’s a powerful advantage over the other EMR companies.

There are a ton of other companies that we could talk about. Those entering ePrescribing first. Those transcription companies that are offering an EMR solution. I find it absolutely fascinating. So, if you know of others, I’d love to hear your EMR vendor’s story in the comments.

Suffice it to say that we’re in the middle of an all out war by EMR vendors. The good part is that it’s not likely to be a winner takes all affair, but there will be many many EMR vendors that will end up on the winning end.