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Is mHealth Poised to Explode? Infograph Showing Growth of mHealth

Posted on July 31, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

The more that I discover, the more I love infographics. There’s just something about them that draws me in. I mean, some of the information listed on different infographics would probably be less-than-interesting presented by itself, or jumbled together with a bunch of other textual facts. However, adding some pictures and some colorful text makes it so much easier to read.

I found this as I was perusing Pinterest (it’s not just for finding meals, or sewing projects. A post on mHealth in Pinterest coming soon.) As you can see, this infographic poses the questions “Is mHealth poised to explode?”

These stats are crazy. There are more than 10,000 health apps in the iTunes App store? Sure, some of those are useless, but even after weeding those out, there’s so many. I think mHealth has a huge potential to change the way we view and access health care. The possibilities are endless! It was interesting, however, that 88 percent of doctor’s want their patients to monitor vital stats at home. How accurate could this be? This raises the question, will people actually do that? People don’t always do what their doctor’s advise, either because they don’t feel like it, or they forget. So what makes doctor’s think patients will actually track their vital stats? Maybe if they are using a mobile app, it will be easier, especially if there are reminders embedded into the app.

I’m interesting in finding out more about the apps listed at the end of this. They all seem pretty cool, and show just how innovative mHealth is becoming. Look for some posts on those in the future.

I definitely agree with the 40 percent of doctors that believe mobile technology will reduce the number of visits to the doctor. I’ve seen this to be true in my own life, as I’ve been able to find answers to some of my questions without having to call and bother my doctor in the middle of the night, or going to the doctor unnecessarily. If mHealth can safely reduce the number of visits to the doctor’s office, I feel like everyone would benefit: Less people would be paying unnecessary co-pays, doctor’s offices would be less crowded, resulting in less waiting time for patient’s that actually need to be there.

I love this time that we live in there. There are so many opportunities available, and ways to better how we live. To answer the questions asked by this infograph, we are just at the beginning of the mHealth explosion. It will be exciting to see what will come about in the near future.

Meeting the Future Challenges of the NHS: Roland Rott

Posted on I Written By

Roland Rott, head of Ultrasound IT explains how software has quickly become the driving force in ultrasound innovation and why cloud computing, social media and mobile technology are creating new paradigms, driving increased efficiency and connectivity among physicians and influencing how doctors and patients interact with each other.

 

 

Watch the video.

PHR Are Like Early Email

Posted on 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.

In response to Anne Zieger’s post on PHR, John Tempesco offered this powerful insight that’s worth sharing:

PHRs will become popular when the patients don’t have to enter most of the data themselves. As more and more EHRs and HIEs begin to automatically interact with PHRs and patients have one central place to go for all their health information, they’ll catch on. Having a PHR now is like the early adopters of cell phones or email – there are few people to have conversations with.

It’s a really interesting comparison to email in the early days. I unfortunately wasn’t on email early on so I can’t say exactly what it was like, but I’ve heard stories. The interesting thing is that HIE’s seem to be suffering some of the same problem. HIE’s are often like early email since only a few people are on board with it. Plus, imagine if email required some sort of third party agreement to let you email each other?

EHR software on the other hand could become widely adopted and connected to a PHR. The biggest problem there is the major lack of standards for sending that health information. Until we solve the standards problem, I don’t think a PHR will be able to connect to the hundreds of EHR software vendors.

MU Attestation Audits – Meaningful Use Monday

Posted on July 30, 2012 I Written By

Lynn Scheps is Vice President, Government Affairs at EHR vendor SRSsoft. In this role, Lynn has been a Voice of Physicians and SRSsoft users in Washington during the formulation of the meaningful use criteria. Lynn is currently working to assist SRSsoft users interested in showing meaningful use and receiving the EHR incentive money.

Lynn Scheps is Vice President, Government Affairs at EHR vendor SRSsoft. In this role, Lynn has been a Voice of Physicians and SRSsoft users in Washington during the formulation of the meaningful use criteria. Lynn is currently working to assist SRSsoft users interested in showing meaningful use and receiving the EHR incentive money. Check out Lynn’s previous Meaningful Use Monday posts.

By definition, attestation is based on the honor system—that is, at least until you find yourself the subject of an audit. CMS has launched its anticipated program, and some physicians who have received an EHR incentive payment recently received a letter from the designated auditing firm, Figloiozzi and Company

Although there is no way to predict which physicians will be audited, providing the information requested should not be too onerous a task for those “lucky” ones who are tapped. Providers are being asked to show proof that they possess a certified EHR and to substantiate the data they reported for the core and menu measures—specifically, via “a report from their EHR system that ties to their attestation.” Since all certified EHRs generate an automated measure calculation report and a clinical quality measure report, that documentation should be readily accessible. It would not surprise me if they are also asked to provide documentation of the security and risk analysis that the practice conducted to ensure HIPAA compliance. For suggestions regarding the type of data to retain to support your attestation, see the Meaningful Use Monday post, MU Attestation: Save Your Documentation.

Based on material published by the auditors and by CMS on its EHR Incentives website, it does not seem that the audits will be so detailed as to require site visits or reviews at the patient chart-level. My sense is that CMS is looking to identify failures to comply with the major requirements—adopting and using a certified EHR to meet the meaningful use measures and reporting accurately on the data generated by that EHR. 

(If you have been audited and would like to share your experience, please post a comment.)

5 Must Have Mobile Apps for Runners

Posted on I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

There are a lot of apps out there for runners. The question is, which ones are worth downloading? I’ve gone through quite a few different map trackers and I think I have a pretty good idea of my favorite ones. However, there are also a lot of other great apps that extend beyond map trackers. So here is a round-up of apps every runner should download:

1. Instant Heart Rate: Keeping your heart rate within an appropriate range for your age, height, and weight is essential in obtaining an optimal workout. Heart rate monitors can be pricey, however, so not many people have one. Luckily, there is a heart rate monitor that is available for your phone! Instant Heart Rate, which has an almost 5-star rating from almost 81,000 reviews. The description in the Google Play Store says that its “accuracy is constantly tested by fitness coaches, nurses, doctors, EMTs, and 5 million users.” It’s very simple to use — the user just puts their finger onto their phone’s camera and the heart rate will display in a few seconds. It’s actually a pretty neat app, and I like using this a whole lot more than trying to find my own pulse. If you are looking to optimize your runs (or other workouts!), this is a great app to have on your phone.

Download for Android phones here for free

Download for the iPhone here for .99

2. MapMyRun: This app is one of my favorites, and is part of the MapMyFitness suite. It simply tracks where you run using real-time GPS. I’ve found it to be very accurate, and I love being able to see exactly where I ran and how far I ran for. It can be connected to your MapMyRun.com account, which is an awesome website in itself. I like being able to search other runners routes that are near you, because it helps me find some variety. If you like bragging about your workouts, you can post directly to Facebook how fast and how far you ran. However, if your MPH is rather embarrassing like mine, you can just leave that information out! There are a lot of GPS running trackers out there, but I’ve found this one to be the easiest to use, and the cleanest interface.  It also tracks calories burned, information on nutrition, and more. Another very popular one is RunKeeper, which boasts of having no advertising.

Download for Android phones here

Download for the iPhone here

3. Adidas miCoach: One of the hardest parts of running, at least in my opinion, is getting the motivation to do it. Quite often the thought goes through my head “Go outside in the hot, sweat a ton, and feel sore the rest of the day or stay home in my air conditioned house and catch up on my reality TV shows”, and I want to pick the latter. However, that’s not a good way to stay in shape. So, for anyone out there who needs an extra boost, the Adidas miCoach is a great app. It uses real-time voice coaching to encourage and educate you on parts of your workout, lets you select a workout plan that is ideal for your personal  goals and body type, and many other interesting features. It even has a “shoe usage” feature that sends you alerts on how worn out your shoes are getting. So if you want your own personal trainer talking you through your runs, this is a great app to have.

Download for Android here

Download for iPhone here

4. Daily Ab Workout: A person can’t be in truly great shape just by running. You have to eat right, get enough sleep, and incorporate other workouts as well. Having a strong core is essential for running, so the Daily Ab Workout app is great to use in accordance with any running regimen. It has three ab work outs that last between 5 and 10 minutes each, and the reviews rave about it. Unlike a lot of apps similar to this on smart phones, there are full-length videos included, not just pictures or written instructions. It’s add free and has different workout modes you can select from. I haven’t used this app extensively yet, but I plan to in the future. Either way, I think it’s another app anyone who is committed to getting in better shape and becoming a better runner should have.

Download for Android here for .99

Download for iPhone here for .99

5. Epic Runner: After all the training and hard work that comes with running, it’s nice to see those efforts pay off. What better way than running in a 5K, half-marathon, or even marathon. While finding a race can be done online, this app makes it easy to find races and get a running plan that is customized for that date. It shows you a map of the races you have found in your area, and also has a fitness couch incorporated. One of the neatest features, in my opinion, is Running Calculator. It basically takes your running stats from previous runs and predict race results according to that, even down to racing categories such as age and sex. This app does cost money, but seems pretty handy.

Download for Android here

Run Tracker:

Keep you well-rounded: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tinymission.dailyabworkoutpaid&feature=related_apps#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEwOSwiY29tLnRpbnltaXNzaW9uLmRhaWx5YWJ3b3Jrb3V0cGFpZCJd

EHR Mouseclicks, #HIT100 Interview, EMR and Doctor-Patient Relationships, and Sleep Rate: Around Healthcare Scene

Posted on July 29, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

I apologize for not having a weekly round-up last week — my family and I were in Southern Colorado, and while the owner of the lodge we were staying at said there was Internet available, that didn’t prove to be completely true. So for the next two weeks, these posts will have a combination of two weeks’ of posts. There were some great posts recently, and I’d hate for anyone to miss them!

EMR and EHR

Too Many EHR Mouseclicks and Keystrokes – A Solution for EHR Vendors

Critics of EHRs claim that there are too many mouseclicks/keystrokes involved to consider it efficient. However, there are ways to overcome this complaint. If vendors would focus on making their product respond consistently, and physicians get the training they need, this hurdle can be overcome. It may take awhile for this point to be reached, but it is possible.

EMR Advocate Tops the #HIT100

The #HIT100 list aims to recognize great #HITsm and #HealthIT communities on Twitter. This week, the #1 person on the list, Linda Stotsky (@EMRAnswers), was interviewed by Jennifer Dennard. She gives her thoughts on social media and health IT, and how it’s affected her career. Stotsky also reflects on the the value that the #HIT100 list brings to the health care community.

The Intersection of EMRs and Health Information Management

While researching for a discussion she was going to moderate on the exchange of personal health information with an ACO at Healthport’s first HIM Educational Summit, Jennifer Dennard stumbled upon some interesting information. This post contains some of her thoughts, and includes a list of the top 10 trends impacting HIM in 2016. At the conclusion of her article, she asks questions concerning Meaningful Use and the relationship HIM professionals have with EMR counterparts.

Happy EMR Doctor

How an EMR Gets in the Way of Doctor-Patient Relationships

While happy with his current EMR, Dr. Michael West talks about the “darkside” of EMRs. He says that he has to pay more attention to his computer than maintaining eye contact with his patients, but this is a problem that will be difficult to resolve. Although he could just jot notes down and update the EMR later, he feels this would be more time consuming and less accurate. Is there are a solution to the barrier created between doctors and patients when an EMR is used?

Smart Phone Health Care

SleepRate: Improves Your Sleep by Monitoring Your Heart

Everyone has trouble sleeping every now and then. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to figure out why. SleepRate, a cloud based mobile service, may be the solution. This service tracks and analyzes the users sleep patterns, and, from that information, gives suggestions on how to improve sleep. It does this by monitoring your heart using a ECG.

App Helps Potential Skin Care Victims Track Moles

1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their life. With a chance this high of getting this terrible disease, it’s more important than ever to monitor moles and other skin lesions. An app created by the University of Michigan Health System, UMSkinCheck, makes that monitoring easier. The app sends reminders about skin checks, and allows the user

EMR Thoughts
Digital Health Takes Off in 2012

Digital Health is growing more and more. Rock Health Weekly reported that there is 73 percent more funding for it this year than at this time last year. The yearly funding report by Rock Health Weekly was recently released, and there were several interesting findings in it. Digital Health isn’t going anywhere.

Hospital EMR and EHR

The Meaningful Use Song (To The Tune of “Modern Major General”)

If you need a little pick-me up, or a smile to end your week, don’t miss this video. The “Meaningful Use Song” includes commentary on MU, written by Peggy Polaneczky, MD, to a catch tune.

From The Horse’s Mouth: What Scribes Are For

Ever wonder what a scribe does, and if they are really even needed? This post includes quotes from Scott Hagood, the director of business development for PhysAssist Scribes. This is a great position for pre-med students, and with the growth of EMR, the field for scribes continues to develop and expand as well.

Highlights From This Weeks #HITsm Tweet Chat

Posted on July 27, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Every week, HL7 Standards, hosts a #HITsm Tweet Chat and poses four questions “on current topics that are influencing healthcare technology, health IT, and the use of social media in healthcare.” It’s always a great discussion and also a great chance to meet a wide variety of people that are passionate about healthcare IT.

In case you missed it, or are curious about what went on this week, we’ve put together the list of topics with some of the best responses for each topic. There were some interesting topics this week, as well as some great responses. If you have any opinions on any of these topics, feel free to continue the discussion in the comments. This chats take place every Friday at 11AM CST. You’ll find members of Healthcare Scene regularly participating in the chat under some of the following Twitter accounts: @techguy, @ehrandhit, @hospitalEHR, and @smyrnagirl.

Topic One: The future of telehealth — What can increase innovation and acceptance? What barriers exist?

Topic Two: A survey reports that physicians are having mostly positive EHR experiences. What will it take for the good reviews to outnumber the negative?

Topic Three: Costs of Care — Does technology focused on reducing medical costs distract physicians from providing the best possible care?

Topic Four: How can health technology — both for provider and the for patient — be ‘humanized’ to earn users’ trust?

Grab Bag:

Hospital CIO Interview – Will Weider

Posted on July 26, 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.

When I first started blogging, I came across a hospital CIO blog called Candid CIO that is written by Will Wieder, CIO of Ministry Health Care. Six years later he’s still my favorite hospital CIO blogger out there. My only complaint is that he doesn’t blog enough (understandably so). I’ve never had a chance to meet Will in person, but I hope to one day have that opportunity.

Will recently commented on one of my posts. After seeing his comment I had the genius idea to ask him for an interview. I’m not sure why I hadn’t thought of it before since we go so far back, but when you see the content of the interview you’ll see why I’m planning to reach out to more CIOs. I hope you enjoy Will’s comments as much as I did.

You have a great CIO blog at CandidCIO.com, what made you start blogging and why do you continue blogging today?
Thanks. I originally started the blog for two reasons. Firstly, I follow tech trends and like to try anything that is emerging. So, I started this blog a long time ago. Secondly, I always desired an outlet where I could express my views of healthcare IT. At the time I started the blog a lot of the HIT press was driving me crazy with superficial stories that didn’t explore difficult questions. One would get the impression that every single IT project ever started was a worthwhile success. So, I wanted to be able to challenge conventional wisdom.

Today there are many great blogs and thousands of voices on Twitter.

Do you think other CIO’s should blog?
I hope that they do, because we have a lot to learn from each other. But it does take time, I have found it impossible to post consistently these days. I am big fan of tech blogger, John Gruber. His posts are almost always two or three sentences. I used to always write long posts. Recently I am mostly writing shorter posts that matches what I would like to read, given my attention span.

How do you deal with the challenge of a blog and Twitter account making you “too” accessible as a CIO?
People generally respect boundaries. Part of my life is to ignore cold callers (unless they are serendipitously offering something on my priority list), I would love to get back to every person that wants to meet me for lunch and talk about my organization’s prioirites, but there isn’t enough time in the day to respond – let alone have all those meetings. I have met a lot of great people on Twitter and I have hired a few, all of those have turned out great.

What’s the biggest issue on your plate as a hospital CIO today?
Managing demand. The best part of being a health care CIO is that there are so many great new solutions that solve business problems, especially in the clinical arena. The worst part is that everybody wants those solutions and they want them now. Even if senior management makes some hard decisions about priorities, the managers that submitted projects that didn’t make the priority list are disappointed and frustrated. I would feel the same way (and do feel the same way when my projects don’t make the cut).

What are the top 3 hospital CIO issues you can see on the horizon?
1. Hone project management so projects are done more quickly and successfully (see above)
2. Security
3. IT Operations – as our doctors and nurses become increasingly more dependent on IT we need to improve our processes that drive system availability and response time.
4. Consumerization of enterprise IT (rise of the iPads)

How has meaningful use impacted your hospital for good and bad?
I have heard a lot of people state that Meaningful Use was a clinical project and that they expected the results to be really meaningful. That wasn’t our experience. We were already working on meaningful clinical IT projects. Much of the objectives were things we had done or started. Our focus was to stay the course and make a few modifications so we hit every objective as written.

Our internal customers (our management team, physicians, nurses, etc.) would probably say that Stage 1 Meaningful Use has been a non-event for them. I like to think that is a testament to the many things that we were doing right. For example, our hospital in Weston, WI is all-digital. There are no charts on the floor; there is not even a file room. It is the only Wisconsin hospital (except a Children’s Hospital) recognized by Leapfrog Group as having fully met the CPOE leap. So, Meaningful Use was mostly about taking the time to properly measure everything and create quality measures to the appropriate specification.

Do you follow the All in One or Best of Breed software approach and why?
I would have to describe us as a Best of Breed IT organization. Many of our admissions come from Marshfield Clinic doctors. The Marshfield Clinic developed their own EHR and have been perfecting it over the last 20 years. About 5 years ago we made the decision to use the Marshfield Clinic EHR in our Ministry clinics and to interface that EHR to our hospitals.

Sharing that EHR was in the best interest of our patients. Our primary care doctors, our hospitals and Marshfield Clinic specialists are all contributing to a common patient record. Once we made that decision for our patients, it was no longer possible to have an All in One solution (Marshfield Clinic does not have a Hospital Information System).

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about healthcare, what would it be?
Reduce costs. Quality improves year over year as medical knowledge increases, processes improve and new technologies (including information technologies) evolve. But the cost here in the US continues to skyrocket (18% of GDP, double that of the second most expensive industrialized nation). Frustratingly, there isn’t even agreement on why the cost is increasing. I want healthcare to be affordable to the working families here in Wisconsin.

Are you seeing and experience an experienced health IT staff shortage? How do you suggest people without healthcare experience get a health IT job?
More so in the technical areas where we are competing with all industries. We are able to recruit and/or develop applications analyst.

What’s your most important IT project today?
Ministry Health Care was traditionally a less consolidated organization that had 7 or 8 different IT departments. As a result of that we still have a lot of fragmented systems, 740 different applications running on 1,500 servers. Our environment is too complex and it makes us too inefficient. We have plans to greatly simplify that environment. But, it will take us several years and scores of projects to get there. This is paramount to our competitiveness.

From a more short-term perspective this ICD-10 thing is a complicated beast that must go well. After looking at the cost for our organization, and then extrapolating that to the entire industry, I don’t see how the money spent will be worth the value received.

Which IT project doesn’t get enough attention and why?
The need to abandon Windows XP by the time Microsoft ends support in April of 2014 is a ticking time bomb and I am not hearing anyone talk about it. We will spend more time and money (about $5M) on this than we spent working on Stage 1 of Meaningful Use.

Any final thoughts?
Two things: Firstly, I have a great job and I work with incredible people in IT and throughout Ministry. Secondly, the Packers are going to win the Super Bowl this year.

John’s Note: I’ll forgive him for his Packer fandom which is understandable for where he lives. Personally I just hope my Dolphins can turn things around.

EHR Incentive Inflates EHR Pricing

Posted on July 25, 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.

In a recent conversation I had, the question of EHR pricing came up. It was suggested in the conversation that EHR incentive money was inflating EHR pricing.

I wish that I had harder data on the price of EHR software. Unfortunately, there’s no really good source of EHR pricing across all the 600+ EHR comanies. At one point I considered the idea of creating such a resource, but the challenge of getting that type of information is ominous and might be impossible since many EHR vendors keep that information very close to the chest.

Since we don’t have the quantitative data that we’d love to have in this situation, instead let me offer some observational data on EMR pricing.

In my first couple years blogging about EMR software (I started EMR blogging 6+ years ago), I was able to witness a dramatic shift in the price of EHR software. The norm 6+ years ago was for an EMR for a small clinical practice to cost somewhere in the $30,000 range. For a larger group practice they were easily paying $100,000-200,000 for their EHR software. In almost every case this was a huge up front lump sum payment for the EHR software. Although, many of them conveniently offered financing for your purchase. These EHR were almost always an in house EMR software that needed a lot of up front costs for things like a server.

In those early years, we started to see a wave of mostly SaaS EHR software enter the market at a much lower price point. In most cases they were offering their EHR software for a small monthly fee (usually around $350-500/doctor). Of course at this same time a number of Free EHR software entered the market as well. Both of these entrances forced the price of EMR software to decrease dramatically. Sure, a few EMR software vendors pillaged a practice for an ourtrageous price, but for the most part the price of EMR software came down. Plus, the movement to the monthly charge pricing model for EMR software took hold. In most cases, EMR software vendors would offer a one time fee EMR pricing model along side a monthly per doctor EMR pricing model.

Over the past couple years I think we generally saw a leveling off of EMR pricing. However, I have seen one major thing happen with EMR pricing since the EHR stimulus money was introduced. The new bar for EMR pricing was set at $44k over 5 years. You can be certain that every EHR vendor has looked at their EHR pricing and compared it to the $44k over 5 years.

While I can’t say I’ve seen long time EHR vendors increase the price of their EHR to match the $44k of EHR incentive money, what I have seen is new EHR vendors pricing their EHR software accordingly. Instead of pricing their EHR according to market pricing, they’re generally inflating their EHR price to match the EHR incentive money. I believe this has driven the overall cost of EHR software up thanks to the EHR incentive money. Plus, it has held the EHR pricing of some EHR vendors higher than it would have been if the EHR incentive money weren’t there.

One other thing worth considering is the long term effect on EHR pricing because of the EHR incentive money. EHR incentive is creating an artificial pricing bubble, but eventually the incentive money will run out and I expect a number of EHR vendors to drop their price when that happens. However, what might have an even longer term impact on EHR pricing is the increased number of EHR vendors thanks to the EHR incentive money. Standard economics says more EHR competition leads to lower EHR prices.

What have you seen related to EMR pricing? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experience.

88 New ACO Organizations – What Does That Mean?

Posted on July 24, 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.

It has been a really interesting couple months for those interested in ACO’s (Accountable Care Organizations) and healthcare. I love how Gregg Masters of ACO Watch called the ACO the “Child of the ACA (Accountable Care Act).” He even declares the SCOTUS supreme court ruling as a big battle won for the ACO. I certainly can’t disagree with him when it comes to the government ACO initiatives. The loss of ACA would definitely hamper much of the government’s work on ACOs. Although, he also acknowledges that ACA is still up in the air pending the Presidential election. ACA is directly in the republican cross hairs.

Politics aside, the ACO program is going forward. CMS recently named 88 new Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) that will take part in the Medicare Shared Saving Program (Originally it was 89 ACOs, but one organization dropped out).

You can see the full list of ACOs on the press release linked above, but I really like this image that The Advisory Board Company put together that shows the location of the various ACOs across the US (click image twice for full size):

I think this represents a pretty good distribution across the country. However, there are a few things that I find a bit disturbing about the organizations participating in the government ACO programs. The first is that many healthcare organizations that you think would be perfect fit for an ACO aren’t participating. Kaiser and IHC come to mind. I’ve heard that both organizations are very interested in ACOs, but not the government ACO programs. I think this is a bad sign for the government sponsored ACO programs.

The second is that only five of the ACOs applied for the version of the Medicare Shared Savings Program where they have a chance to earn a higher share of any savings, but they’ll also be accountable for any losses if the cost o the care increases. You might take a look back at my ACO Risks and Reward post. These five organizations have gone all in with the ACO program. With that said, I wonder why only five of them chose to participate in it? Shouldn’t we want more organizations to have some accountability and responsibility if they don’t improve care and lower costs?

As I have pointed out before, the ACO movement is happening and is not likely to slow down. Even if ACA or other government legislation is repealed, the move to ACOs is going to happen. With that knowledge and some of the comments above, it makes me wonder if the government should be the one funding an ACO initiative. Will their involvement help or hurt the overall ACO movement?

I’ll be interested to see how it goes for these new ACOs. As we’ve seen with EHR and meaningful use, we’ll have to be careful to filter through the messages coming out of CMS about the success or failure of the ACOs. As they progress we’re going to have to reach out to the ACOs and hear the first hand stories. If you’re an organization that’s participating, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.