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NBA Implements Cerner EHR – NFL Implements eCW

Posted on December 17, 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.

Over the past couple weeks, a number of major athletic organizations have announced that they’re standardizing their healthcare documentation using EHR software. The NBA is using Cerner’s EHR and the NFL is using eCW’s EHR.

At first blush these announcements remind me of Walmart selling eCW at Sam’s Club and Costco selling Allscripts EHR. Everyone wondered why Costco and Sam’s Club were selling EHR. The obvious answer was that it was a great PR move by eCW and Allscripts. Although, I did hear about one doctor that hijacked an EHR selection process thanks to a Costco mailing. I think that’s the exception.

While big popular sports organizations like the NBA and eCW might be great PR for a company, it is really interesting to consider the unique healthcare needs of a sports league. The first thing that came to my mind was actually whether the teams would want to have their athletes’ health data on one platform. Often, the health of their players is part of their strategic advantage. Certainly there are a lot more rules about disclosure of injuries, but teams still play the injury card before games, in trades, and when signing new players. I imagine the staff doctors for the teams have to be careful how and what they document in the EHR if it’s going to be available to other teams. And we thought privacy was an issue in general EHR use. It’s much more complicated when you have millions of dollars riding on a player.

From a big data perspective, I’m interested to see if either of these leagues will be able to leverage the EHR data they collect in order to deal with the long term health issues of players. This is particularly true in the physically brutal NFL. I’m sure readers are familiar with the long term concussion questions and research that’s happening with the NFL. Not to mention the ongoing battle against the use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. Can a unified EHR help to provide a basis for research and understanding of the health consequences of playing in the NFL?

When I start to think about all the medical devices that are coming out, they’re really interesting in an NFL context as well. Imagine all the health data from various devices being sucked into the league’s EHR. When I talked with FitLinxx at the mHealth Summit, they said that the Boston Red Sox used their activity tracking device the year they won the World Series (Seems like Boston might want to consider using it again). From what they described, The Pebble (their activity tracking device) was a great way for the trainer to keep track of compliance with the fitness regiment they suggested. Should this data be in the league’s EHR? I can see health reasons to do so, but it does go back to the question of teams’ competitive advantages.

I bet device makers would love to compare professional athlete’s use of their devices against all of the other data that’s being collected by regular users. Would make for some pretty compelling charts if I could compare my health indicators against Lebron James or Peyton Manning.

What’s also interesting to consider about a major sports league using an EHR is a connected PHR. In these situations you want your players to be well connected to the doctor and you have a real financial interest in their compliance with doctors orders. PHR in this case could make a lot of sense. Although, I wonder if many prima donna athletes would balk at the idea. Well, at least they can have their agent or assistan log in for them.

I do wonder what special features Cerner and eCW were asked to do for the NFL and NBA. Of course, not much of it would likely be useful for the rest of us.

Dell EMR

Posted on September 10, 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.

Today, CNET posted an article that talked about a Dell EMR. Yes, we’re talking about the Dell that makes computers (and sells everything else under the sun).

We’ve known for a while about Dell’s partnership with eCW and Walmart-Sam’s Club to sell EHR, but the thing that’s interesting about the CNET article is that it calls it “Dell’s EMR software.” I’m certain that Dell didn’t create it’s own EMR software package. I assume it has to just be eCW’s EMR right?

To add to the fun, I even found the page http://www.dell.com/emr which talks about Dell’s foray into the EMR world. However, on that page it links to the Sam’s Club/Walmart/eCW EHR partnership as well.

I have a feeling that the CNET article is just an extension of Dell’s partnership with eCW and Walmart. I’m sure eCW wants to market their EHR as much as possible and Dell is a respected brand on which to market your product.

UPDATE: The following is an excerpt from Healthcare IT News about the Dell EMR:

The Round Rock, Texas-based computer maker on Thursday introduced an electronic medical record system for hospital-affiliated physician practices. The intent, said Dell executives, is to accelerate the sharing and meaningful use of digital patient information among hospitals and physician practices.

Dell executives say their EMR solution is sponsored by hospitals for their affiliated physicians and designed to make it affordable and practical for physician practices to transition from paper to electronic records.

So, it looks like it’s hospitals that will choose to partner with Dell in order to get doctors to buy an EMR from Dell? It still doesn’t say where Dell got this EMR. I think we can rule out them developing their own. So, the question remains: Is this an extension of the partnership with eCW or did Dell purchase another EMR software company?

In summary, a doctor will be buying an EMR sponsored by their hospital association who has an associate with Dell who has an association with some EMR software? Sounds like the perfect recipe for finger pointing.

EMR Interoperability and Working Together

Posted on August 30, 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.

I recently got the following email which highlights my point that the EHR stimulus money should have been focused on things like interoperability standards and not funding EMR adoption the way it is doing it. He also makes some interesting comparisons worth considering:

I see an uncoordinated money pot out there, attracting uncoordinated work on EMR. — about as effective technically as HDTV (since mid-80’s), W3C, the space station. Non-profit efforts seem to generally fail, or to work so slowly as to be irrelevant.

EMR standardization would likely benefit from an authoritative organization (similar to IEEE) that would work with existing systems as provided by Kaiser, Walmart, GE, etc. and grind out a solution acceptable to these and other major (and minor) players. Then a de facto standard would exist in a well-defined form, and other players would join the effort.

I may be wrong, but I don’t see this happening. Everyone seems to be drawing out the money and just going on their separate ways. People like me that try to help doctors into the electronic age thus have to develop their own protocols, as anything resembling a portable data standard simply doesn’t seem to exist.

Of course, whenever I think about and post something like this, I feel like it’s too late too change anything. The legislation is what it is and we have to make the most of it. It’s just really sad to consider what it could be.

I guess maybe the message to consider is that we can still start having EMR working together even if it’s not government funded.

Sam’s Club Listing for eCW and Dell EMR Package

Posted on May 8, 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 of you may remember my rather detailed coverage of the impact of Walmart offering an EMR through Sam’s Club and in partnership with eClinicalWorks and Dell. For those that missed my comments, I wrote about the details of the Walmart EMR offering, and then A Doctor’s Perspective on Walmart EMR and eCW and Dell’s perspective on Walmart EMR.

I saw the Walmart EMR listing on the Sam’s Club website a while back, but didn’t have a chance to post it. It’s really interesting to see an EMR listed at Sam’s Club. I also find it interesting to see that they chose to market it as an EMR and not an EHR. I think this actually is a pretty smart move since I think most doctors still call it an electronic medical record or EMR. Those of us in the industry sometimes get caught up in the difference between EMR and EHR, but I think doctors don’t really care about the difference.

I still don’t think that this is much more than the opportunity for eCW and Dell to market their products. However, it is really interesting to see an attempt to commoditize the price of an EMR. As I look through the prices, I think that anyone that tries to buy this package through Sam’s Club is going to be hit by a bunch of hidden costs. Everything from the cost of travel for the eCW trainers to the upgraded hardware support from Dell. At the end of the day, I don’t think it will save doctors anything.

Turns out that the website states: “Availability of this offering is currently limited to Virginia, Illinois, and Georgia with anticipated nationwide coverage by the end of the year” I’d love to hear from someone who has taken the bait and purchased the Walmart EMR from Sam’s Club.

CVS Joins Google Health

Posted on April 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.

The more I consider what Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault are doing, the more I think that they just might have found the real solution to interoperable health records. I’m still holding out final judgment, but I’m really impressed with some of the things there doing.

For example, Techcrunch reported that Google Health just recently partnered with CVS for Google Health to connect with CVS to try and create a comprehensive pharmacy history. Considering Google had previously signed up Longs Drugs and Walgreens, Google is making good head way towards this goal. No doubt Google Health is also in discussions with Wal-Mart and Target, two of the other major players in this space.

Of course, the next step is to get patients to actually start adopting this technology. I can’t see many pharmacists pushing this feature. In fact, I’m guessing this might be an annoyance for them to have to support. Patients are going to have to force the issue if they want to use this. At least until there’s widespread adoption.

We’ll also leave the privacy issues of these connections for another day as well. Either way, these types of partnerships are like gold for Google Health. It creates a good foundation to build their product. I just still like to see more connections with EHR software vendors. I haven’t seen as many of those happening as I’d like to see.

Thoughts on Walmart, eCW and Dell EHR – eCW and Dell’s Perspective

Posted on March 14, 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.

I previously posted a summary of the Walmart EHR package with eCW and Dell.  Then, I followed it up with a doctor’s persctive on Walmart EHR.  At the end, I promised to follow up with a post on the Walmart EHR deal from Walmart, eCW and Dell’s perspective.

I think this was a great move by eCW, Dell and Walmart.  Honestly, what do they lose by trying this out?

Let’s not go overboard here.  I don’t see this offering completely changing the landscape of EHR.  Walmart has done that in a lot of areas, but EHR is not going to be one of them.

However, Walmart could be a good lead generator for eCW and Dell.  Dell certainly has reached a point where they have a strong brand established and scale is their friend.  They want to distribute their product through as many low cost channels as possible.  If this is successful, Dell tablets (a new offering for Dell – second generation just came out for those keeping track) will be in a lot more doctors’ offices.  If it fails, then Dell still will have gotten some PR in front of doctors saying that Dell offers tablets for doctors.  Don’t believe this is happening?  Do a quick search on google news and see all the stories about Walmart EHR.  This blog post is another example of the free PR Dell is getting from this deal.

eCW isn’t quite the brand that Dell has become, but they do have a substantial install base.  Scale really is their friend.  The more EHR software they can sale, the better for them as a company.  EHR sales is a numbers game and the more doctors they have viewing their product the more doctors they’ll have buying it.  Plus, if someone is thinking about EHR at Walmart, then that’s a high quality lead.  The leads won’t be as high quality as say advertising on EMR and HIPAA (excuse the plug), but a lead’s a lead.

Walmart really seems to have nothing to lose in this.  I guess they’re giving up floor space for the product.  I wonder what this will look like at Sam’s Club.  If anyone sees it, take a picture and send it to me so I can post it.  I’m not sure Walmart’s internal projections, but they threw out the number of 200k health care providers are members of Sam’s Club.  I’m a member of Sam’s Club as well, but I can’t remember the last time I was there.  My wife usually takes care of it.  I’m pretty sure many of these doctors are the same as me.

I do think this is a really interesting news item for Walmart.  Walmart has been doing a ton of things in regards to health care lately and so offering an EHR didn’t suprise me that much.  We have Walmart Clinics.  Free or cheap Walmart drugs.  Now we have a Walmart EHR.  Once they offer the Walmart PHR to compete with Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault, then we can really start to wonder if Walmart just has so much money they don’t know what to do with it.

Thoughts on Walmart, eCW and Dell EHR – A Doctor’s Perspective

Posted on March 13, 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.

As promised, I wanted to share a few thoughts about the newly announced Walmart EHR package. I previously posted a nice summary of how the Walmart, eCW and Dell EHR will work. If you’ve never heard about the Walmart EHR, then go read that post and come back.

Offhand it would be really easy to criticize this move by Walmart (really Sam’s Club). I can just imagine doctors going down the aisle of Sam’s Club: toilet paper, candy bars, EHR software, oh yeah, I almost forgot the salsa. Honestly, does that sound right to anyone?

However, I’m certain that many people said the same thing about getting TVs, vacation packages and tires at Sam’s Club when they first started offering those items as well. Toilet paper, candy bars and disney vacation doesn’t sound much better.

All of this said, I still think the idea is crazy. I’m not talking about Walmart, eCW and Dell being crazy. I’m saying that any doctor’s office that chooses to buy this package at Sam’s Club is crazy. Let me explain.

I’ve often talked about your EHR becoming the life blood of your practice. Once you’ve implemented an EHR it becomes apart of almost everything you do in a clinic. I can’t think of any part of a clinical practice that isn’t affected by the implementation of an EHR. Doctors spend as much time on their EHR as they do helping patients.

Yes, I know it’s a sad reality, but it’s the reality. Other people might tell you different, but I don’t think they’re being very honest with you. Is this reason for concern? No, because you could have just as easily said that Doctors spend as much time in paper charts as they do helping patients. Why this is the case is the topic for another post. The point is that the EHR becomes the center of a practice. Still don’t believe me? Watch for a future post on the topic which will include more compelling reasons EHR’s the core of a practice.

Since EHR is the core of your practice, do you really want to get your EHR package at Walmart?

Seriously, think about that. You’re trusting your livelihood and happiness (yes, EHR affects both of those things) to a $25k package you bought at Walmart?

I’m not saying that eCW, Dell and Walmart aren’t great companies. eCW has an EMR product that’s been very successful and is an EMR that many should and would consider for their clinic. I love Dell products and recommend them to anyone. I just don’t see why you’d purchase it at Walmart instead of going directly to Dell and eCW.

Let’s just think this through. First, I’d expect that if I’m buying this EHR package through Walmart, then I’m getting a better deal than if I bought each of the items separately. This means less revenue for eCW and Dell from the start. Next, you take out whatever Walmart’s getting paid to make the sale. The question then remains, how can these companies sell their products cheaper than normal AND share the revenue with Walmart? The answer is easy. They’re going to find other ways to lower their costs.

Let’s think about ways that they can lower your costs:

First, they should have saved money trying to sale you the product.  In theory this is great.  Walmart’s taking care of the marketing and sales of the product, so that’s why the product is cheaper.  Of course, the doctors should be asking themselves if they want Walmart to be the one showing them how the Walmart EHR will work for them.  Ahh, but certainly Walmart won’t be the ones demoing the product to the doctors.  eCW will be taking care of all the demoing and “sales” of the product.  Well, there goes the money eCW was saving by using Walmart.   That basically relegates Walmart to a lead generated for eCW.

Second, eCW could enjoy economies of scale as they support more istances of EHR.  Let me translate what this means for you as a doctor: POOR Support.  Try supporting 25k physicians (number using eCW per NYTimes) spread across the country in every specialty imaginable.  It’s pretty much impossible to expect that eCW could provide personal and quality service to such a large user base.  Just think about how many people eCW would need to hire and train to be able to provide the type of support you’d like to receive if you’re a doctor implementing an EHR (eCW is hiring for those searching).  I’m pretty sure that calling them and telling them that you bought your EHR at Walmart is going to put you at the front of the support line.

EHR vendor support is so important to having a successful EHR implementation.  I’m familiar with a large eCW implementation that was having troubles getting the support they needed.  It seemed that this was probably due to the popularity of eCW.  Credit the eCW sales team for doing a good job selling the product, but if I’m a doctor I’m not throwing my ring into an EHR vendor that can’t support me because they’ve oversold.  Considering you’re buying a cheap (isn’t that Walmart’s motto?) Walmart EHR, don’t expect World Class support when you’re paying Walmart prices.

I could keep going with thoughts about this announcement.  Suffice it to say that from a doctor’s perspective I think you’d be crazy to take it.  Now, if separately you’ve made a decision to choose eCW and the Dell computers they offer and you can get it cheaper at Walmart, great.  However, what are the chances of that happening?

There’s so much more that should be said about this topic.  I’ll be following up with another post tomorrow about the Walmart EHR from an eCW and Dell perspective.  I think you’ll enjoy that post.

I probably should have also mentioned that eCW does have a strong community of users that can be leveraged for support as well.  The point of this post isn’t to lower eCW or Dell in particular.  This could have been any EHR software vendor and hardware vendor and I’d have said the same things.  And yes, I’m still very excited to try out the 2 new Dell dual touch tablets I ordered yesterday.

One final parting thought: if you buy the EHR package at Sam’s Club, does the Sam’s Club return policy apply?  Now that’s something that could change my mind.

Walmart, eCW and Dell EHR Package

Posted on March 12, 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.

The EHR world is abuzz with the Walmart announcement that it would be selling EHR software through their Sam’s Club division. In case you missed it, here’s the important details from the NY Times:

The company plans to team its Sam’s Club division with Dell for computers and eClinicalWorks, a fast-growing private company, for software. Wal-Mart says its package deal of hardware, software, installation, maintenance and training will make the technology more accessible and affordable, undercutting rival health information technology suppliers by as much as half.

They also make a projection of how much Walmart EHR will cost:

The Sam’s Club offering, to be made available this spring, will be under $25,000 for the first physician in a practice, and about $10,000 for each additional doctor. After the installation and training, continuing annual costs for maintenance and support will be $4,000 to $6,500 a year, the company estimates.

Walmart estimates that 200,000 health care providers are among the 47 million Sam’s Club members. I also found the following quote from the same article interesting as it talks about how Walmart got into the EHR business:

Wal-Mart’s role, according to Mr. Osborne, is to put the bundle of technology into an affordable and accessible offering. “We’re the systems integrator, an aggregator,” he said.

The company’s test bed for the technology it will soon offer physicians has been its own health care clinics, staffed by third-party physicians and nurses. Started in September 2006, 30 such clinics are now in stores in eight states. The clinics use the technology Wal-Mart will offer to physicians.

“That’s where the learning came from, and they were the kernel of this idea,” Mr. Osborne said.

I’ll save my commentary on this subject for tomorrow. There’s certainly plenty to say about it.