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Meaningful Use and Certified EHR’s Impact on EMR User Interfaces

Posted on May 31, 2011 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.

In a previous post, Anthony made this basically off the cuff comment which hit me:
“many a time, the functional requirements take priority over UI”

We see this all over the software development world. In fact, it takes a really unique company to be willing to keep UI over functionality. Ask any salesperson and they’ll tell you that new functions are easier to sell than a great UI. So, it makes sense why this happens. Unfortunate, but makes some sense.

However, this comment also had me asking myself the question, “I wonder how many meaningful use and/or EHR certification requirements caused issues with an EMR UI?

I’ve already had a few EMR demos where I said, what’s that button/function doing there. The response was, oh that was to meet meaningful use/EHR certification requirements. I’m sure many other doctors that use an EMR have seen the same thing. They wonder why an EMR has certain functions since they don’t provide better patient care. Certainly meaningful use and EHR certification is likely to blame for a lot of these possible UI issues. However, I’m sure that many more have to do with EMR software vendors that want to be all things to everyone. When you go down that path, it’s hard to maintain a great UI.

I’ve been starting to think more and more about various EMR UI. Especially with the recent launch of an EMR screenshots website. I’m grateful for the EMR vendors that have been great about sending over their screenshots. It provides an interesting view into the various EMR UI’s. I’m hoping to do some future posts where I take one or more of the screenshots and analyze some of the details. We’ll see how well that goes with an EMR screenshot.

‘Watson’ Analytics to Being Used to Increase Smartphone, EHR capabilities

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I for one thought it was really cool that they developed a computer system that could outperform people on Jeopardy.  I am not ready to have my own robot at home, though that would reduce the housework I would have to do, but I love to see people trying to push their limits, and develop things that have never been done before.  That is exactly what the people at IBM are doing.

The full article can be found here, but here are some of the most amazing things that they are developing based on the “Watson” technology:

IBM has doubled the number of healthcare solution architects and technology specialists working at the Solutions Center, tasking them with helping physicians connect smartphones, tablets and other devices to EMRs while also helping healthcare providers build new solutions for remote patient monitoring.

Meanwhile, more than a quarter (27 percent) of specialists and primary care physicians use a tablet PC or similar device nowadays. As clinicians adopt smart devices at five times the rate of the general population,

Using clinical voice recognition from Nuance Communications and medical terminology management from Health Language, IBM is working to improve the mobile EMR experience through voice recognition and technology that provides understanding of medical text, similar to the way Watson analyzed hundreds of millions of pages of text from books, encyclopedias and periodicals to compete on Jeopardy!

With the rapid adoption of electronic medical records and other health IT applications, the amount of data associated with health care providers in North America is expected to reach close to 14,000 petabytes by 2015.

Now for those of you, like me, that don’t know how much a petabyte is, it is equivalent to 1024 terabytes which is equal to about 13.3 years of HDTV content.  It is incredible how fast this industry is growing.  Information has always been the source of power in healthcare, and now we are in a position to use more, and more accurate, information than ever before.  What is truly incredible is that most of it can be accessed in the palm of your hand.

Memorial Day

Posted on May 30, 2011 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.

I always love the Holidays and Memorial Day is no different. I love the idea of looking back at those people who have since passed on. I love repeating the memories and stories of these people and remembering the lessons they taught us. Plus, I love to honor the troops who make everything we have possible.

In a recent call with my mother we of coursed talked about the progress of my blogs and the Healthcare Scene blog network. My mother has very little technical prowess and is one of those people who feels a little bit scared and nervous to use technology. I think she still thinks she’s going to break something and so she sticks to her same routines every time she’s on the computer. So, needless to say, she doesn’t have a great understanding of what I really do. She understands that they’re websites and somehow I make money from advertisers on the site. That’s alright by me, her 5th grade students are lucky to have her as a teacher.

In my conversation with my mom wondered what type of conversation my grandfather and I would have if he was still around. My grandfather is someone that I knew very well, loved deeply, and I even lived and worked (in their massive yard) with him and my grandmother for a summer. Before he retired he worked with radiology equipment. I believe he’d go around to doctors offices, hospitals, etc and sale them radiology equipment.

I can imagine he’d be amazed at the advancements that have been made with digital imagining in radiology. I’m sure we could have some interesting conversations about the potential for transferring digital images electronically, storing those images in a PHR, and other related PACS technology. I imagine he’d be amazed at how far we’ve come since he was working in the field. Certainly we still have a long ways to go, but looking at it this way I have to appreciate the technological advancements we’ve made.

My brother David (who has been writing on EMR News, Smart Phone Healthcare, EMR Screenshots and EMR videos) is in the process of becoming a pilot in the Air Force. He’s always wanted to be a pilot and so I’m really happy that he’s getting the chance to live his dream.

I honor him and all of our military troops who allow us to have the freedoms we have. It’s sad to think that in some countries a blog like this (or at least other blogs) might not be possible or might be filtered. We’re lucky to live in a land where freedom of expression is not only accepted, but encouraged.

My brother, David, posted the following status on his Facebook page:
“Instead of focusing on having a long weekend or that SWEET deal at the store, try doing something that a Marine/Sailor/Soldier/Airmen who gave the ultimate sacrifice can no longer do – in THEIR memory. Go for a walk and enjoy your family because somebody has given their life so that YOU can still enjoy this precious luxury that we often take for granted. Thank you to those who have served or are currently serving.”

On that note, I’m going to go take my wife and kids out on a hike, or throw a dance party, or something fun in honor of all those troops who’ve sacrificed so that we could have that right. I hope you do the same this Memorial Day.

CDC Flu App Challenge Submission: Child Flu HQ

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About a month ago I wrote about the CDC Flu App Challenge which encouraged developers to use all of the new technology out there to develop an app that helped educate people on flu prevention and treatment.  The competition stopped accepting submissions last week, but I found one of the submissions that looks interesting.  From their submission website:

Child Flu HQ is a mobile application designed help keep parents educated and informed on the best ways to keep their children away from the flu. The applications, available on iTunes and the Android market (coming soon), are focused on pediatric flu education, and allow parents to personalize the application to their specific child.  Child Flu HQ then sends regular reminders and information to the parent with push notifications.  Information is directed to the parent from both physician resources as well as from the CDC.  The app also addressed the need of the physician who is confronted with a child with possible influenza. The App uses the CDC RSS Feed of Influenza updates, as well as the RSS Feed of Influenza podcasts.  Additionally, the App intends to use some CDC video content as well.

You can also find screenshots on the above website.

Healthcare IT and Active Patient Care – EMR and HIPAA Video Series

Posted on May 29, 2011 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.

The following is the fourth video in my inaugural run of EMR and Healthcare IT related videos. In this video I talk about some of the ways healthcare IT can help a patient be more active in their care. I’m sure there’s a number of e-Patients out there that can hop in and add a lot more to the discussion I start in this video. I must admit that as a relatively healthy individual I have a hard time really getting into the active patient (e-Patient if you like). However, I love the idea of patients being respectfully involved in their patient care.

The following video is in response to this question:
How can Healthcare IT help patients take a more active role in their care?

View the Healthcare IT and Active Patient Care Video Here

EMR Scanning and Chart Retention – EMR and HIPAA Video Series

Posted on May 27, 2011 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.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I decided to try out some videos related to EMR, EHR and healthcare IT. I’m still not sure if it’s a good idea or not, but I created 4 videos in my inaugural experience. I just used a simple web cam to create the videos since I was also streaming it live on uStream. Maybe next time I’ll set up my HD camera and do it that way.

Either way, here’s one of the videos I recorded where I respond to the following question:
Once converting paper to digital in an EMR, how long do providers plan to keep their charts?

Full Dislaimer: I’m not a lawyer, so be sure to consult a lawyer for legal advice:-)

If you like the video, be sure to check out one of the other videos I posted on EMR and EHR about EMR Data Sharing.

Let me know what you think of the videos. Should I do more? Should my face not be on video ever again? Are there other questions you’d like me to answer?

mobileStorm Launches First HIPAA-Compliant, Cloud-based mHealth Communication Platform; Announces Humana as a Beta Client

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So I don’t usually like posting full press releases, but this one is significant enough all by itself that I feel like it can stand on it’s own feet.  It does have huge implications though so I may very well write something more on it later.

mobileStorm, an 11-year veteran of mobile messaging, announces “mobileStorm for Healthcare,” a patent-pending platform for Healthcare Payers, Providers, Software Solutions and Mobile App Developers, enabling the secure sending of PHI to smart phones.

San Diego, CA, May 11, 2011 – mobileStorm, Inc. ( announced today at the WLSA Convergence Summit the official release of “mobileStorm for Healthcare,” a secure mobile messaging platform that allows HIPAA-compliant transmission of PHI (Protected Health Information) to members and patients via mobile devices and smart phones.  mobileStorm has developed this capability in response to the healthcare industry’s need to control escalating expenses in the U.S., which totaled $2.5 trillion, or 17.3% of our national GDP, in 2009 alone. Recent widespread technological adoptions such as EMRs (Electronic Medical Records) are assisting healthcare organizations by bringing their processes into the modern age. The mobileStorm for Healthcare platform can “mobile-enable” any system. The communication tools that mobileStorm provides improve the efficiency of treatment and improve the outcomes for providers, while reducing costs to the health plans through lower utilization.  The key to reducing utilization is through adoption of wellness programs and prescription adherence.

mobileStorm for Healthcare is a straightforward solution, allowing any developer or IT department to integrate with the mobileStorm for Healthcare API (Application Programming Interface) which can power secure communication between systems such as EHR, EMR, and disease/appointment management tools. The API automates the delivery of AppMail™ messages which utilize AES-256 encryption. AppMail™ can deliver individual health notifications (presentable HTML or plain text) in a one-to-one or one-to-many fashion. In addition, the API delivers real-time analytics on important metrics such as who has read a message and for how long. AppMail™ is delivered to a secure inbox that can quickly be created using mobileStorm for Healthcare’s SDK (Software Development Kit).

The API also enables transmission of Push Notifications and SMS messages in order to utilize cross-channel communication strategies that drive higher response rates. mobileStorm for Healthcare takes a member-centric approach by allowing people to log into any web-connected device containing the organization’s mobile app or mobile site and securely access their inboxes and PHI messages. For organizations without a mobile app or site, mobileStorm offers custom solutions.

“We have been providing communication solutions for over 11 years and in the healthcare vertical for the last three years. We firmly believe that mHealth technology represents the most important social, cultural, and business impact that mobile technology has produced to date,” said Jared Reitzin, Founder & CEO of mobileStorm. “As a Communication Service Provider (CSP), we have worked with thousands of clients in hundreds of different industries which has given us a unique perspective of how mobile affects an individual’s behavior. All of us are patients as well as members, so it’s exciting to see the healthcare industry realize the massive impact that mobile can have on our behavior.”

As part of the official launch of mobileStorm for Healthcare, Humana has agreed to become a Beta customer in order to strengthen their efforts to help Humana members achieve lifelong well-being. Christopher Nicholson, Humana’s director of strategic communications, says “Humana is excited about the messaging capabilities that the secure mobile messaging center will bring us.  This partnership will allow us to deliver on multi-channel goals where we have not had a solution in the past. The ability to reach members ‘where they are’ with relevant, personalized and proactive communications is critically important.  mobileStorm is a wonderful mHealth vendor who truly wants to help us succeed.”

Mr. Reitzin continues, “mobileStorm for Healthcare represents the culmination of our experience, and we are confident that it is the most advanced HIPAA-compliant mobile platform available. Our company’s mission is to help our clients communicate with as much relevancy as possible, and with this new offering, I believe we are one step closer to completing our mission.”

mobileStorm for Healthcare is being unveiled and demonstrated at the WLSA Convergence Summit in San Diego, California, on May 12, 2011.  For more information on this event or to schedule a meeting with a mobileStorm representative, visit

To find out more about mobileStorm’s patent-pending mHealth platform or HIPAA compliance, which will be complete in June 2011, please visit

About mobileStorm

Based in Los Angeles, California, with more than a decade of email and mobile messaging experience, mobileStorm has delivered billions of messages on behalf of thousands of premier customers such as Humana, NASCAR, American Idol, Kaiser Permanente, and Ashley Furniture HomeStore. As a Communication Service Provider (CSP), mobileStorm’s mission is to help companies communicate with as much relevancy as possible, allowing everyone to win, from the ISP or carrier who delivers a message to the consumer who desperately wants to engage with content that matters. mobileStorm backs up their web-based technology with expert advice and legendary customer service that drives ROI for its customers.

About Humana

Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the nation’s largest publicly traded health and supplemental benefits companies, with approximately 10.2 million medical members, 7.1 million specialty members, and operates more than 300 medical centers and 260 worksite medical facilities. Humana is a full-service benefits and well-being solutions company, offering a wide array of health, pharmacy and supplemental benefit plans for employer groups, government programs and individuals, as well as primary and workplace care through its medical centers and worksite medical facilities.

Over its 50-year history, Humana has consistently seized opportunities to meet changing customer needs. Today, the company is a leader in consumer engagement, providing guidance that leads to lower costs and a better health plan experience throughout its diversified customer portfolio.

Do You Trust the Cloud for EHRs?

Posted on May 26, 2011 I Written By

A blog post today by Microsoft’s Dr. Bill Crounse got me thinking again about the cloud.

Crounse cited a new CDW poll showing that 30 percent of healthcare organizations could be considered “cloud adopters,” and for good reason. “The flexibility, scalability and lower costs associated with moving certain line of business applications to the cloud are compelling, especially for an industry like healthcare. After all, the primary focus of hospitals and clinics is caring for patients, not running an IT empire. There’s not a CIO, CFO, CEO, COO, CNO, CMIO, or CMO who wouldn’t love to shift some of their IT spending to delivering better care to the communities they serve,” Crounse wrote.

They were more likely to turn to the cloud for “commodity” services such as e-mail, file storage, videoconferencing and online learning. “Moving your ‘commodity’ applications to the cloud is an excellent place to start,” Crounse said. “I’d suggest first reaching out to your health industry peers and professional organizations to get a better sense of who’s doing what. I think when you’ve learned about some of the best health industry practices in cloud computing, you’ll be ready to explore what might be possible in your own organization.

But the fact that 30 percent of healthcare organizations use the cloud means that 70 percent do not. I suspect a lot of hospitals and physician practices still run aging, legacy client-server management systems in-house, just because that’s how people did things when those systems were first installed. As they replace their legacy technology, expect more healthcare organizations to opt for cloud services for these commodity-type services.

And what about clinical services?

At HIMSS11 back in February, Athenahealth honcho Jonathan Bush, a longtime fan of the cloud, told me he wanted to lead the “Cloud Cavalry” into Las Vegas (there’s no better place for an over-the-top spectacle, of course) next winter for HIMSS12. (See the second video for that.) Athenahealth, which has a certified, cloud-based EHR, straddles the line between clinical and administrative, and it’s not alone. I can’t think of a single ambulatory EHR vendor that doesn’t offer at least a cloud option if not a full-fledged SaaS product.

But is the cloud truly reliable for critical applications such as inpatient EHRs? In the wake of April’s Amazon EC2 cloud outage, I can imagine more than a few CIOs, practice managers and, especially, physicians are a bit skittish now.

What do you think?

ScribeRight Transcription Agency: Bridging the Gap Between Transcription and EMR

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John Brewer of, had this to say: “Many of us (including myself) were quick to use transcription cost savings as a way to justify the purchase of an EMR. What…we’ve seen…is that transcription can still be a fantastic complement to an EMR system.”

This blending of EMR and transcription is what ScribeRight does best! Our platform was built specifically for such integration. Using a combination of services gives providers the most flexibility. It saves hospitals and clinics tons of money, improves patient care by ensuring quality documentation, helps turnaround time, and preserves the doctors’ quality of life.



Watch the video here.

Mobile Health Market Worth $2.1 Billion in 2011; Growth of 22% in Next Three Years

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Another focus of the report is the growth of mobile health and the key role it will play in various areas of healthcare delivery, including education and awareness, remote data collection, remote monitoring, disease and epidemic outbreak tracking, and diagnostic and treatment support.

The mobile health market has a year-over-year growth rate of around 17% since 2010 and is estimated to be worth $2.1 billion at the end of 2011. The report also said the mobile health market is expected to grow with a CAGR of nearly 22% from 2012 to 2014.

“The buzz surrounding mobile healthcare has steadily grown during the past two years. There’s no question that this area holds enormous potential in terms of improving patient care in the U.S.,” the report concludes.

The main driver of mobile health’s growth is the increasing adoption of smartphones during the past few years. According to the report, at the end of 2009, smartphone penetration was around 21% and is expected to be 50% by the end of 2011. Further, over 72% of physicians are smartphone users, and mobile health applications embedded in smartphones are a main reason for this increased usage.

Another trend of note is the adoption of Apple’s iPad tablets. More than 20% of U.S. physicians already have iPads, the report said.

“There are over 10,000 applications related to mobile health of which around 40% are designed for healthcare professionals, which includes remote monitoring and healthcare management applications. Even the Apple iTunes application store has about 6,000 mobile health applications,” the report said. –Source

I don’t know that there are very many industries out there that are projecting 22% growth in the midst of a major recession.  While that is quite impressive, there is something that I find even more amazing.  In an article I referenced last month they estimated the value of the mobile health market at $1.7 billion by 2014.  However, this article, written only six months later, estimates the value of the mHealth market at $2.1 billion by the end of this year.  Now you could attribute this to an uncertain future for mHealth, but I see it as a sign that the mHealth market is growing bigger and more rapidly than anyone could have expected.  I think this is another one of those technological booms that we will all underestimate.