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Value to EMR Vendors of EMR Data Liberation

Posted on February 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.

My last post on EMR companies holding practice data for ransom was very popular and had some very interesting discussion in the comments. Honestly, every EMR vendor should be considering the impact of the choice to not liberate the data in the EMR.

No, I’m not talking about being loose with the data. HIPAA will come back to bite you if you do that. Plus, no doctor will want to use your system. What I’m talking about is making the data in the EMR available to the doctor. In fact, if your a doctor or practice manager reading this post, you should make this a requirement of the EMR vendor you select. If you already have an EMR vendor, you should work to have them incorporate this feature in their EMR ASAP.

Lest you think that I’m just being pro doctor and not considering the EMR vendor, let me provide you some business reasons why an EMR vendor would want to create a plan to make the data in their EMR available to their doctor in a liberated format.

As one EMR vendor put it:

Bottom line, its a good business practice to provide the data in an accessible manner to the client when and if he/she wishes to move on to another EHR.

Let me add the following:

If you don’t hold the EMR data ransom then you will have a better image in the community.

1. If someone wants to leave and you make it hard, word will travel that you held them ransom and others will be afraid to choose you because they know they’ll be locked in. We all know how tight the medical community is.

2. If you free the data, users will trust you more cause they know they can leave at any time. Plus, they see you’re doing what’s best for the customer. This narrow minded focus on the customer’s needs will certainly carry over into other areas of your application and lead to happy customers who can leave, but won’t have any reason to leave.

3. SaaS EHR vendors in particular should offer this service. One of doctors biggest complaints about SaaS EHR is their fear that their EMR data isn’t stored in their office. What easier way to allay this fear than to provide them a regular copy of their data?

Do NOT underestimate the power of your image with the customer. It leads to happy long term customers, but also leads to future customers. I saw a recent study (which I can’t find right now), but it was amazing to see the amount of influence that other colleagues EMR recommendations made on a doctor’s EMR selection decision. Providing doctors their EMR data which may lose you a few customers along the way, but it will retain and find more customers than you lose.

EMR Stimulus Question and Answer: What if my EMR Vendor Doesn’t Certify?

Posted on December 2, 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.

Pamela sent me the following EMR stimulus question in response to my post about Doctor’s having no choice with meaningful use:

Can we show meaningful use without a certified EMR or would we still be penalized since our EMR vendor has no intention on becoming certified?

The current HITECH law requires meaningful use of a certified EHR. So, you have to use a certified EHR to get the EMR stimulus money and to avoid the Medicare penalties. They have been looking at doing site certifications so you could show that you’ve put together everything to satisfy the certified EHR portion. However, so far I’ve only seen the site certification really apply to hospitals. I haven’t seen a site certification for smaller doctors offices (yet?).

Just be aware that some are suggesting that the penalties will never be imposed. Basically, they say that ONC will just keep delaying those penalties for one reason or another and that they’ll never actually be enforced. Plus, don’t be surprised if they make exceptions for certain medical specialties. For example, if not a single chiropractor (or some small number) shows meaningful use of a certified EHR, then it seems reasonable that ONC could look at making an exception for those specialty groups.

It’s also worth taking a look at this post I did which gave an example of the EMR stimulus Medicare penalties. They don’t amount to as much as you’d think.

I imagine we’ll see quite a few faced with this situation. This will become even bigger when some EMR vendors decide to deal with meaningful use stage 1, but choose not to prepare for meaningful use stage 2. Allscripts will be doing this with their now sunsetted EMR acquisition, Peak Practice. Basically, they’re going to make it work for meaningful use stage 1, but then users will have to switch to a different Allscripts EMR for meaningful use stage 2. That will make for a tough decision for someone who has to switch EMR software to get more stimulus money and avoid the penalties.

I have a strong feeling that EMR and HIPAA is going to make a switch from talking about selecting and implementing EMR to switching EMR software over the next 5 or so years. Not a fun subject for providers to consider, but many are actually doing it now.