RECs Cart Before the Horse

Posted on May 25, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Sorry if you’re bored, but I’m still completely obsessed interested in the RECs and how they’re using millions of government dollars. From what I’ve seen most RECs are really getting the cart before the horse.

From what I’ve seen most (if not all) of the RECs are out their doing RFPs with various EMR vendors and they are trying to narrow down their list of EMR vendors that they’ll support. Ok, yes I know they’re going to support all EMR vendors, but there’s going to be a different level of support for those EMR vendors for whom the RECs do group purchases with and “promote” in their REC.

I just don’t see what kind of RFP a REC could be sending to an EMR vendor. How would an EMR vendor even respond? Does the RFP say, we need an EMR vendor that can support big clinics, small clinics, solo docs. We need an EMR vendor that supports every specialty. We need an EMR vendor that supports…oh wait, the RECs don’t really know what type of clinics are going to be interested in our services and so how can they select an EMR?

Should RECs ask their constituents which EMR software they should try to support instead of the RECs unilaterally making a decision?

Let me offer a simple plan that would be much more effective:
1. Educate the providers in your area on the EMR selection Process. Use vendor neutral materials (Shameless Plug: like my EMR selection e-Book) to teach physician’s offices the best way to select an EMR.
2. Let them all go through the EMR selection process with the best practices the REC provided and take a survey of which EMR software each clinic selected (possibly their top 2).
3. Based on their decisions, negotiate with the EMR vendors that have a large number of clinics interested in using their software.

Not only would the RECs be getting GREAT feedback from end users on the right EMR vendors they should be talking to, but it would also put them in a great negotiating position with the EMR vendor. They would go to the EMR vendor with a list of clinics interested in that software product.

The biggest question with this plan is will the government stimulus money allow these RECs to go through a process like this?