Choosing the Finest EMR Out There – A Nice Sparring Partner

Posted on August 23, 2006 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 post of mine entitled EMR Blogs Popping Up Everywhere I’ve been enjoying some good dialogue with William Bryson from Innovative IT for Healthcare. I really enjoy finally having a sparring partner in the EMR blogosphere that can engage in a nice discussion.

In one of my comment responses to him I said, “Your post however doesnt tell me why Misys is so much finer than other EMRs.”

His thoughtful response was, “I dont know that I would ever make the claim that Misys is so much finer than other EMR. There are hundreds of products to choose from. With such variation in methods of care delivery and clinical workflow, saying that one EMR is the answer for everyone is foolish – so I wont say it.”

His response really made me think. Can you possibly choose the “Finest” EMR out there? If you are a doctor then this is a major hurdle to your EMR implementation. How do you know, as a doctor, that you are selecting the very best EMR out there? I’m not just talking about feature set, but I’m also talking about bang for the buck, usability, interoperability and the kitchen sink too. This is a really important decision which can drastically change the success of your practice.

Despite many organizations and awards committees giving out lists of top EMR’s, I don’t think you can say that one EMR is the best. It’s not like voice recognition software where you can unabashadly say that Dragon Naturally Speaking is the very best (Microsoft fans don’t cry to me about voice recognition in Vista, Yet). There are just too many EMR’s and too many ways of practicing medicine to declare a true winner. William Bryson compared choosing an EMR to picking a pair of jeans. I think a better comparison is like picking a favorite movie. Tons of organizations(cross reference CCHIT) put on large awards shows where they say which movies are the best. Are those necessarily the best movies? Sometimes. Sometimes not. It’s all about a person’s preference. In fact, many movies win tons of accolades even though I consider it absolutely wretched. I think a number of EMR’s fit in this category as well. Many awards, but nearly unusable.

Following this same analogy, does an EMR with a large install base make it the People’s Choice award winner?

The reality is that there’s no such thing as the best or “finest” EMR. Every EMR company is working in some shape or form, or they wouldn’t be in business. You, the doctor, should be looking to find an EMR that fits your style of work. I guarantee you that there are least 4 or 5 EMR’s out there that each and every doctor could make work with their practice. I’ll also guarantee you that each and every EMR implementation will require you and your practice to adapt and change something you do.

The real question you should be asking is, “Which EMR will allow me to be a successful doctor and medical practice?”

I’m not posting the answer to that question in this post, but I loved William Bryson’s response to me when I asked why Misys is so much finer than other EMRs.

Calyx[an EMR/IT consulting company] makes Misys [EMR] so much finer than other EMR (he says with a wink).

Thanks William for the great sparring partner.