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Epocrates EHR Should be Free

Posted on September 14, 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.

I came across this article on Lab Soft News (he does great work) that talked about some Ethical Questions that related to Epocrates recently launched EHR software and their existing pharmaceutical relationships. Here’s one section from the post:

Very distressing to me, however, is the clear link of the company [Epocrates], and its software, to the pharmaceutical industry. … I have also reluctantly come to the conclusion that even apparently trivial advertising connections to Big Pharma can lead to mischief. I had previously thought that inconspicuous advertisements in EMRs by drug companies might be tolerated if the companies were to bear the costs of these systems. I now believe that allowing these companies even a tangential relationship to physician-office electronic medical records is too risky.

I’ll leave the highly discussed topic of pharmaceutical influence for another post and the comments section. However, when I read this I couldn’t help but wonder why Epocrates isn’t offering a Free EHR.

If you think about most Free EHR models, one of the core revenue paths is through advertising. Let’s not kid ourselves here. When they talk advertising, they’re talking about pharmacy ads. Sure, they might sell some other ads, but the majority of the big dollars for EMR advertising is from pharmaceutical companies.

With this understanding, doesn’t that mean that Epocrates relationships with these pharmaceutical companies would be perfectly positioned to execute on the Free EHR model?

I just checked the Epocrates EHR pricing page and it has the pricing as a $359 monthly subscription per seat. It’s also interesting that they’ve chosen to integrate with Nuesoft’s PMS which will cost $200/month per seat. They also require the purchase of the Epocrates EHR Quick Start Package. Not sure the cost on that. Sounds a bit pricey to me, but that’s a topic for another post.

I keep asking myself as I’m writing this post, Epocrates is perfectly positioned to execute the Free EHR Pharma advertising model and yet for some reason they’ve chosen not to do it. Remember, Epocrates has been executing the free software for Pharma advertising for a long time. Why did they choose not to do the same model with their EHR? Do they know something we don’t know?

I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I’m sure to ask them next time I see them. Maybe they’ll be at AHIMA or MGMA.

Greenway Medical Releases PrimeMOBILE app for Apple iPad

Posted on I Written By

One of the biggest advantages of EHR’s is the convenience that it gives doctors in all aspects of their practice.  In adding to the convenience provided by Greenway Medical’s PrimeSUITE 2011, they have now released their PrimeMOBILE app for the Apple iPad to complement the same app for the iPhone which was released last year.

This app helps streamline the medical process as doctors are able to more readily access patient information by providing patient summaries, the ability to graph patient vitals, place provider notations and access communications.

F. Jon Senkowsky, MD, a vascular surgeon in Arlington, Texas has been using the iPhone app for sometime now, and was allowed to use the iPad version for several months during its development.  He says, “It’s been very successful and very convenient for us, especially in the hospital setting where I don’t have to bring back a paper facesheet from patient encounters.  I can view images, CT scans, and current prescriptions, all in the patient’s room, and I can access my daily schedule as well.”

From the press release:

“We’ve heard from our customers about how much PrimeMOBILE for iPhone has been beneficial, so moving the application to the iPad was a natural evolution of our offering,” said Johnathan Samples, executive vice president of Research and Development at Greenway. “We want physicians, nurses, and administrators to be able to use every capability of PrimeSUITE regardless of where they are in the clinical sequence. If they want to check their schedule, lab results or charges it’s all right there. We want to make the entire office immediately accessible.”

By providing this app across the major Apple devices, Greenway is responding to the widespread use of these devices by medical providers.  They also plan to release similar applications for Android devices this fall.

The full press release can be found here.