To Wait or Not to Wait on Selecting and Implementing an EMR…

Posted on September 23, 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.

John Halamka recently posted the following about whether doctors and practices should wait to purchase an EMR. Here’s his response:

I’m often asked by clinicians and hospitals if they should wait to purchase an EHR because of the uncertainty regarding meaningful use and certification.

I tell them to move forward now.

The following is my response I made to him in the comments of his blog:

Thanks for sharing the timeline[also included in the blog post listed above and similar to my previous post on the EMR stimulus meaningful use and certified EHR timeline]. However, I do disagree with you that people should be selecting and implementing an EHR now. There’s no rush to do this. I can agree that users should start reviewing the various EHR vendors and technologies that are available so that they are familiar with the choices that exist. However, it’s premature for those users to actually select and implement an EHR.

Your suggestion of choosing a CCHIT certified EHR is also off base. The fact is that not even the onerous CCHIT certification criteria meets the meaningful use matrix that you reference. So, the certification criteria will change and it’s likely that not all CCHIT certified EHR will achieve HHS EHR certification (which is what really matters for the $$).

Instead, the wisest counsel that can be given to providers is to select an EHR based on which EHR software will best meet their business needs. If they do that, then whether they’re able to get the EHR stimulus money or not they’ll be happy with the decision they make. The EHR stimulus money will just be a nice bonus if it all works out well.

What do you guys think? Is the time now to purchase an EMR?