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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.

UPDATE: Big Winners from Obama EHR Stimulus (HITECH)

Posted on December 10, 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.

I figured it was about time for me to do a post updating one of my top posts from 2009. This was a post I posted on February 19, 2009. It was REALLY early on in our understanding of the HITECH act and EMR stimulus incentive program. In the post, I predicted the Big Winners of the Obama EHR stimulus program. Let’s take a look at this list, see if anything’s changed and look at new additions to the list.

First, I loved the premise of my original post that with the government spending $36 billion (in the previous post the estimate was $20 billion) there have to be some people who dramatically benefit from the spending.

Here’s a look at my original list of Big Winners and my thoughts today:

  • EHR Vendors – In the short term I think that EHR vendors have taken a real hit. While we waited for the government to define meaningful use and certified EHR there was a dramatic slow down in EHR adoption. Now that we’re coming out of that funk I can see a lot of excitement and energy out of the EHR vendors. I predict this HIMSS is going to be absolutely electric. It’s easy to note that interest in EHR software has increased thanks to the stimulus money. This interest is going to spill over to every EHR vendor out there. Some will do better than others, but all will start seeing some sales now. Long term, those that provide the best service to these initial adopters (or cash out first) will be the long term big winners.
  • Health Care IT Consultants (ohhh…maybe I should become one) – First, I’m not likely to become a consultant any more than I am now. This blogging gig is far too good. Although, I’ll keep that in my back pocket. Me aside, the good healthcare IT consultants I know have a lot of work. Some have changed their names to meaningful use consultants or EHR certification consultants, but overall they’re doing well. A bunch are also working at RECs which doesn’t seem like a bad gig at all (as long as they meet their targets).
  • Existing EHR Users – I still see them winning. The doctors I know with an EHR are loving the idea of the EHR stimulus. First, it doesn’t matter too much to them if they get it or not. Second, they see it as something that likely won’t take that much effort beyond what they’re doing now. We’ll see if they change their minds once they get into the nitty gritty details of meaningful use. They might find changes for meaningful use harder than they think.
  • CCHIT (if they get chosen) – Well, CCHIT wasn’t chosen. Although, CCHIT made a really smart move to do the Preliminary ARRA certification as a way to basically lock in most of the top EMR vendors to their EHR certification. I guess I don’t see CCHIT as the big winner, but still a winner. EHR certification is still a requirement and will be for a while to come, so they still are in business. They just finally have some competition.
  • Hospital Systems – There’s just far too much money available for them to ignore the EMR stimulus. Not to mention the penalties are meaningful at the scale they have. I guess I can see this going both ways. Those hospital systems with great leaders and effective organizations are going to do very well. Those with less effective leaders and poorly run organizations are going to have issues.
  • Health and Human Services (HHS) – Maybe I should have said ONC or the healthcare IT portion of HHS. It’s an exciting time for healthcare and I think Blumenthal has worked hard to do things right. It is government work, but I applaud what seems to be some real sincere effort.
  • Obama’s HIT Donors – I’ll leave this one alone.

Now for a quick look at the other winners that I might not have considered almost 2 years ago:

  • IT Companies – I’m not sure why I didn’t consider this, but I’m amazed at how many IT companies out there are helping with EMR implementations and their businesses are benefiting from the EMR stimulus.
  • HIE – It’s a bit early to tell exactly how this is all going to play out, but the EMR stimulus and meaningful use requirements have extended the life of a bunch of HIE companies. Not to mention many have been acquired because of all the activity. It’s a good time to be an HIE company.
  • Trade Organizations – I think many organizations have seen all this buzz around EMR as a great opportunity for them to expand their services. It’s amazing how many different trade organizations have gotten their hands into the EMR world.
  • EMR Bloggers – Let’s just say, the EMR stimulus money has worked for my family. I’m thankful for that!

I’m sure there are probably others I’m forgetting. I tried to convince myself that doctors and patients should make this list, but couldn’t find a way to do it. Certainly some doctors and patients are going to receive the benefits, but I fear that many practices are going to select the “Jabba the Hutt EMR software” that is large, powerful and difficult to use and regret it. I hope I’m proven wrong.

Big Winners of EMR Stimulus, Top EMR Companies and Effect of EMR Stimulus on EMR Adoption

Posted on June 13, 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.

Welcome to my Sunday look back on past EMR posts. Tonight, I’ll look at 3 posts that I remember quite well and have actually referenced a number of times. Let’s also take a look at what’s happened since I posted them.

Big Winners from Obama EHR Stimulus HITECH – I loved this post. It was a really really early look at which stakeholders would benefit most from the $18 billion of EMR stimulus money. I still think the list is pretty accurate. If you disagree with the list, I’d love to hear it.

Top EMR Companies Method of Selecting an EMR – This is the type of post that I love to write, but I’m not sure how many people love reading them. However, the comments did highlight one interesting theme. People really are looking for help in selecting an EMR. It really did give me motivation to finally start selling my EMR selection book. I also just recently started a page listing a number of different EMR selection websites. Hopefully both can add some value for users.

Effect of Stimulus Package on EHR Adoption – I think this was a somewhat pivotal post for me. I sadly articulated the lack of value of the EMR stimulus money and how I believed that it wouldn’t have the desired effect on EMR adoption. However, it also helped me to realize and conclude how important it is for doctors to take their time selecting the right EMR and not be distracted by the EMR stimulus dollars. Something that I’ve repeated a lot the past year and a half.

Rating Top EMR Companies

Posted on April 21, 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.

Lately I’ve been really intrigued by the concept of trying to rate the long list of EMR vendors in order to identify the “Top EMR Companies.” I guess I’ve been intrigued by this idea for a number of reasons.

First, tons of people are searching the internet and finding this website in their search for the top EMR vendors. Makes a lot of sense that doctors would want to narrow down their search for an EMR since it’s just unreasonable for them to try and review 300+ EMR vendors. Although, I do think it’s a little bit funny that they think they can just enter “top EMR vendors” into Google to find the answer.

Second, I’ve seen a number of groups touting an EMR vendor showcase with the “top EMR vendors.” The problem I have with this is that how can they say that they’re the top EMR vendors. More than likely these organization took the EMR vendors they had connections with and allowed them to present. In fact, in this case, I know one EMR vendor gets to present because they’ve made those connections. This is all well and good, but that’s not really “top EMR vendors” in my book.

Finally, a number of EMR vendors are interested in having some sort of “top EMR vendor” rating. Kind of a stamp of approval that they have a high quality EMR system. EHR certification has attempted to give this assurance. The problem there is that EHR certification doesn’t actually rate the top EMR vendor. It just tests a list of criteria which can easily be gamed and does little to measure the usability or actual clinical acceptance of that software product.

No doubt there’s a desire to try and have a “top rated EMR comany” list. The real question is how do you go about making a list like this?

I don’t know all the details around JD Power and Associates, but I think that many EMR vendors and physicians alike would love to give that type of stamp of approval that an EMR vendor’s software meets some standard level. However, I think just a general stamp with no other data just feels empty to me. It’s almost like you need to rate and provide qualitative feedback on various rating areas. Otherwise, the stamp of approval has little value to doctors and clinics trying to select an EMR.

Beyond that, it almost seems like there needs to be an evaluation or verification with existing users of the EMR. They’re the ones who really know how well an EMR functions, how responsive the support people are, and how usable the EMR system really is. Of course, this would require talking to multiple users of an EMR system and not just the company shills (excuse the term). Definitely a challenge.

Beyond that, it seems wrong to just provide a general rating for an EMR. For example, one EMR vendor might be great for general medicine, but might be horrible for an OB/GYN. It’s almost like you need to rate the EMR vendor based on various specialties to provide real value. Not to mention, adding in things like size of the organization, location of the organization, etc. There’s a lot of factors that would drastically change the rating of an EMR vendor.

Of course, the other problem with the concept of “top EMR companies” is that any EMR company could be the top. What are they the top of? Are they the top implemented EMR vendor? Are they the top customer support EMR vendor? Are they the top specialist EMR vendor? Are they the top SaaS based EMR vendor? etc etc etc

Obviously, I don’t yet have all the answers to this problem. Although, I’m very interested in the idea. More importantly, I’m interested in finding ways to provide valuable information like “top rated EMR vendors” that could help doctors select the right EMR. Seems like RECs could benefit from this information as well.

HIMSS Healthcare IT Buyer’s Guide

Posted on June 9, 2009 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.

Many people have been coming to my site to figure out how they should select an EMR for their clinic. That’s such an important part of the process and hopefully something I write helps people to be more successful in that process. My favorite searches are those that say something like “top 10 EMR companies” As if Google will somehow send them the very best list of EMR companies out there. I’ve considered posting a list like that myself, but I just think there are more than 10 that are worth considering and they each have their pros and cons. How can I rank 2 EMR where one has better document management, but the other has better appointment integration. Plus, I think each clinical practice is so unique that what might be the top EMR for one practice might not even make the top 10 for another practice.

HIMSS has taken a different approach in creating their Healthcare IT Buyer’s guide. This guide they’re basically just a listing service for various healthcare IT companies including EMR and EHR companies. While I certainly think a listing of this nature is valuable (that’s why I started the EMR and EHR matrix of companies on the wiki) the problem I have with the list created by HIMSS is that you have to pay $395 a year in order to appear on the list. No wonder they only have 47 of the 300+ EMR/EHR companies. Plus, they even manipulate the placement on the list. Check out the pricing for better placement:
1st Place $1,500
2nd Place $1,250
3rd Place $1,100
4th Place $850
5th Place $500

Sounds like a good way for HIMSS to make money, but not a very good tool for those selecting an EMR. Instead, there are a bunch of free EMR selection tools out there that don’t have this bias in their listings. Try out those and you’ll be much happier with the results.

Top EMR Companies Method of Selecting an EMR

Posted on February 3, 2009 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.

Searches for Top EMR companies has been the biggest source of traffic to this site in the past month.  Users searching Google for this will be directed to my long list of EMR and EHR companies.  I feel a little bad that someone is searching for the top EMR companies and gets directed to a list of over 400 EMR companies (and that list is definitely old).  Hopefully as the EMR and EHR Matrix of Companies on the EMR and HIPAA wiki continues to fill out, it will be a better resource in finding the various EMR and EHR companies that exist.

What’s interesting is that my guess is that many of those looking for an EMR company don’t know how to start the EMR/EHR selection process.  They’re overwhelmed by the over 400 EMR and EHR systems available on the market today.  I have a feeling that this economic downturn will eliminate a number of these systems and EMR companies will continue to merge.   However, doctors will still be faced with the daunting task of sifting through the hundreds of possible options available to them.

I have a feeling this is why many doctors and those interested in implementing an EMR have turned to Google to narrow the list down for them.  They figure Google must have some information that will just show them a list of top EMR companies.  Of course Google doesn’t know any better, because honestly no one can make a universal list of the top EMR companies.  There’s just too many variables involved.

I do have some ideas of my own for making the selection process better.  I’m even seriously considering writing a short E-Book about the EMR Selection Prcess.   What do you think about that?  Is that something you’d be willing to buy?  What do you think it would be worth?  It would be a quick guide to helping people make the most of the sometimes difficult EMR selection process.  I’d also provide some tools for comparing the various EMR systems you learn about.  I’ll let you know as this progresses.

For those finding my site after searching for the “Top EMR Companies” I think you’re on the right track.  Check out my Theory of 5 EMR Systems and you’ll see that I’m a strong proponent of streamlining the EMR selection process.