Plain vs. Sexy EHR Features

Posted on March 20, 2009 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.

One of the major challenges in comparing various EHR software has to do with comparing features. For example, think about the feature we call document management. I can pretty much guarantee you that EVERY EHR vendor out there can easily answer that they have a document management system. Honestly, most of them can do so without it even falling under what I’ve called EMR sales miscommunications. However, there’s an important question that those interested in using an EHR should consider.

Did you’re EHR make the feature sexy or is it just getting by?

Continuing with the document management example. Does your EHR software’s document management basically consist of uploading a document into the paper chart and possibly naming the file you uploaded? That’s a perfect example of an EHR that’s just getting by in regards to document management.

So, what would sexy document management look like? Sexy document management could consist of deep integration with your scanner and direct scanning into the paper chart. Documents could have tags available which down the road will help you filter the various documents according to those tags. Does your document management allow for electronic signing/stamping of the document. Of course, this would include full tracking of any additions made to the document. However, it would allow you to write on your documents similar to how you would have done in a paper chart.

Ok, so there’s probably a dozen other things that should be part of a sexy document management feature, but I think I’ve illustrated the point. You can easily see that one document management was just thrown in there on a whim. The other document management you can tell has been planned and is well thought out.

Comparing features to see who’s really thought through an important feature is a good way to help in the EMR selection process. It’s also a good way to think about how your EHR vendor can improve the EHR software you’ve already implemented.