Changing EMR Vendors Development Roadmap

Posted on September 7, 2010 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 perfect world, an EMR vendor would be completely focused on the customer in developing their EMR software. They’d be very deliberate in their development process where they’d consider feedback from existing users while still finding the perfect balance of planning for future needs and satisfying the current needs. It’s a pretty simple concept to talk about the customer driving the development of EMR software. Yet, it’s much harder to actually do.

What makes this even more difficult is the EMR stimulus money. Ok, not the money itself, but the regulations around becoming a certified EHR and doctors needing to show meaningful use. Instead of EMR vendors focusing their development effort on what is best for the customers (doctors and patients) they will instead be focusing their development on a set of criteria that the government has imposed on them and doctors.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. It’s from an email I received from an EMR vendor:

At least I have a target that I can aim for. Up to now, it has just been a matter of speculation. Whether I like the criteria or not, it is now definitive and the arguments of whether it really makes a doctor productive are now academic.

Unfortunately meaningful use has started to dominate the EMR landscape and there’s no end in sight. Instead of having EMR vendors focus on creating innovative products that solve customer needs, they’ll have their focus (at least temporarily) moved to the list of government requirements. Oh, and the good news is that this is just stage 1 of the meaningful use guidelines.

If we assume that the meaningful use guidelines are the way that EMR software should be developed, then we should end up with a good result. If the meaningful use guidelines point to the wrong targets, then we’re going to have a set of EMR software that no one really wants to use.

Then there’s the reality. Meaningful use does have some good components that will benefit EMR development and healthcare in general and has a number of components that don’t make much sense at all. The problem I have is that the good components were things that EMR software were doing already. So, what are we really achieving?

Are there any EHR vendors left that plan to pave a development road map that doesn’t fulfill all of the meaningful use requirements?