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Open Source Software and the Path to EHR Heaven (Part 2 of 2)

Posted on September 20, 2018 I Written By

Andy Oram is an editor at O'Reilly Media, a highly respected book publisher and technology information provider. An employee of the company since 1992, Andy currently specializes in open source, software engineering, and health IT, but his editorial output has ranged from a legal guide covering intellectual property to a graphic novel about teenage hackers. His articles have appeared often on EMR & EHR and other blogs in the health IT space. Andy also writes often for O'Reilly's Radar site (http://oreilly.com/) and other publications on policy issues related to the Internet and on trends affecting technical innovation and its effects on society. Print publications where his work has appeared include The Economist, Communications of the ACM, Copyright World, the Journal of Information Technology & Politics, Vanguardia Dossier, and Internet Law and Business. Conferences where he has presented talks include O'Reilly's Open Source Convention, FISL (Brazil), FOSDEM, and DebConf.

The previous segment of this article explained the challenges faced by health care organizations and suggested two ways they could be solved through free and open source software. We’ll finish the exploration in this segment of the article.

Situational awareness would reduce alert fatigue and catch errors

Difficult EHR interfaces are probably the second most frustrating aspect of being a doctor today: the first prize goes to the EHR’s inability to understand and adapt to the clinician’s workflow and environment. This is why the workplace redounds with beeps and belches from EHRs all day, causing alert fatigue and drowning out truly serious notifications. Stupid EHRs have an even subtler and often overlooked effect: when regulators or administrators require data for quality or public health purposes, the EHR is often “upgraded” with an extra field that the doctor has to fill in manually, instead of doing what computers do best and automatically replicating data that is already in the record. When doctors complain about the time they waste in the EHR, they often blame the regulators or the interface instead of placing their finger on the true culprit, which is the lack of awareness in the EHR.

Open source can ease these problems in several ways. First, the customizability outlined in the first section of this article allows savvy users to adapt it to their situations. Second, the interoperability from the previous section makes it easier to feed in information from other parts of the hospital or patient environment, and to hook in analytics that make sense of that information.

Enhancements from outside sources could be plugged in

The modularity of open source makes it easier to offer open platforms. This could lead to marketplaces for EHR enhancements, a long-time goal of the open SMART standard. Certainly, there would have to be controls for the sake of safety: an administrator, for instance, could limit downloads to carefully vetted software packages.

At best, storage and interface in an EHR would be decoupled in separate modules. Experts at storage could optimize it to improve access time and develop new options, such as new types of filtering. At the same time, developers could suggest new interfaces so that users can have any type of dashboard, alerting system, data entry forms, or other access they want.

Bugs could be fixed expeditiously

Customers of proprietary software remain at the mercy of the vendors. I worked in one computer company that depended on a very subtle feature from our supplier that turned out not to work as advertised. Our niche market, real-time computing, needed that feature to achieve the performance we promised customers, but it turned out that no other company needed it. The supplier admitted the feature was broken but told us point-blank that they had no plans to fix it. Our product failed in the marketplace, for that reason along with others.

Other software users suffer because proprietary vendors shift their market focus or for other reasons–even going out of business.

Free and open source software never ossifies, so long as users want it. Anyone can hire a developer to fix a bug. Furthermore, the company fixing it usually feeds the fix back into the core project because they want it to be propagated to future versions of the software. Thus, the fixes are tested, hardened, and offered to all users.

What free and open source tools are available?

Numerous free and open source EHRs have been developed, and some are in widespread use. Most famously is VistA, the software created at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and used also by the Indian Health Service and other government agencies, has a community chaperone and has been adopted by the country of Jordan. VistA was considered by the Department of Defense as well, but ultimately rejected because the department didn’t want to invest in adding some missing features.

Another free software EHR, OpenMRS, supports health care in Kenya, Haiti, and elsewhere. OpenEMR is also deployed internationally.

What free and open source software has accomplished in these settings is just a hint of what it can do for health care across the board. The problem holding back open source is simple neglect: as VistA’s experience with the DoD showed, institutions are unwilling to support open source, even through they will pay 10 or 100 times as much on substandard proprietary software. Open Health Tools, covered in the article I just linked to, is one of several organizations that shriveled up and disappeared for lack of support. Some organizations gladly hop on for a free ride, using the software without contributing either funds or code. Others just ignore open source software, even though that means their own death: three hospitals have recently declared bankruptcy after installing proprietary EHRs. Although the article focuses on the up-front costs of installing the EHRs, I believe the real fatal blow was the inability of the EHRs to support efficient, streamlined health care services.

We need open source EHRs not just to reduce health care costs, but to transform health. But first, we need a vision of EHR heaven. I hope this article has taken us at least into the clouds.

Open Source Software and the Path to EHR Heaven (Part 1 of 2)

Posted on September 19, 2018 I Written By

Andy Oram is an editor at O'Reilly Media, a highly respected book publisher and technology information provider. An employee of the company since 1992, Andy currently specializes in open source, software engineering, and health IT, but his editorial output has ranged from a legal guide covering intellectual property to a graphic novel about teenage hackers. His articles have appeared often on EMR & EHR and other blogs in the health IT space. Andy also writes often for O'Reilly's Radar site (http://oreilly.com/) and other publications on policy issues related to the Internet and on trends affecting technical innovation and its effects on society. Print publications where his work has appeared include The Economist, Communications of the ACM, Copyright World, the Journal of Information Technology & Politics, Vanguardia Dossier, and Internet Law and Business. Conferences where he has presented talks include O'Reilly's Open Source Convention, FISL (Brazil), FOSDEM, and DebConf.

Do you feel your electronic health record (EHR) is heaven or hell? The vast majority of clinicians–and many patients, too, who interact with the EHR through a web portal–see it as the latter. In this article, I’ll describe an EHR heaven and how free and open source software can contribute to it. But first an old joke (which I have adapted slightly).

A salesman for an EHR vendor dies and goes before the Pearly Gates. Saint Peter asks him, “Would you like to go to heaven or hell?”

Surprised, the salesman says, “I didn’t know I had a choice.”

Saint Peter suggests, “How about this. We’ll show you heaven and hell, and then you can decide.”

“Sounds fair,” says the EHR salesman.

First they take him to heaven. People wearing white robes are strumming harps and singing hymns, and it goes on for a long time, till they take him away.

Next they take him to hell. And it’s really cool! People are clinking wine glasses together and chatting about amusing topics around the pool.

When the EHR salesman gets back to the Pearly Gates, he says to Saint Peter, “You know, this sounds really strange, but I choose hell.”

Immediately comes a clap of thunder. The salesman is in a fiery pit being prodded with pitchforks by dreadful demons.

“Wait!” he cries out. “This is not the hell I saw!”

One of the demons answers, “They must have shown you the demo.”

Most hospitals and clinicians are currently in EHR hell–one they have freely chosen, and one paid for partly by government Meaningful Use reimbursements. So we all know what EHR hell look like. What would EHR heaven be? And how does free and open source software enable it? The following sections of this article list the traits I think clinicians would like to see.

Interfaces could be easily replaced and customized

The greatest achievement of the open source movement, in my opinion, has been to strike an ideal balance between “let a hundred flowers bloom” experimentation and choosing the best option to advance the field. A healthy open source project encourages branching, which lets any individual or team with the required expertise change a product to their heart’s content. Users can then try out different versions, and a central committee vets the changes to decide which version is most robust.

Furthermore, modularization on various levels (programming modules, hooks, compile-time options, configuration tools) allows multiple versions to co-exist, each user choosing the options right for their environment. Open source software tends to be modular for several reasons, notably because it is developed by many different individuals and teams who want control over their small parts of the system.

With easy customization, a hospital or clinic can mandate that certain items be highlighted and that safe workflow rules be followed when entering or retrieving data. But the institution can also offer leeway for individual clinicians and patients to arrange a dashboard, color scheme, or other aspect of the environment to their liking.

Many of the enablers for this kind of agile, user-friendly programming are technical. Modularity is built into programming languages, while branching is standard in version control systems. So why can’t proprietary vendors do what open source communities routinely do? A few actually do, but most are constrained in ways that prevent such flexibility, especially in electronic health records:

  • Most vendors are dragging out the lifetime of nearly 40-year old technology, with brittle languages and tools that put insurmountable barriers in the way of agile work styles. They are also stuck with monolithic systems instead of modular ones.
  • The vendors’ business model depends on this monolithic control. To unbundle components, allow mix-and-match installations, and allow third parties to plug in new features would challenge the prices they charge.
  • The vendors are fundamentally unprepared for empowered users. They may vet features with clinically trained consultants and do market research, but handling power over the system to users is not in their DNA.

Data could be exchanged in a standard format without complex transformations

Data sharing is the lifeblood of modern computing; you can’t get much done on a single computer anymore. Data sharing lies behind new technologies ranging from the Internet of Things to real-time ad generation (the reason you’ll see a link to an article about “Fourteen celebrities who passed out drunk in public” when you’re trying to read a serious article about health IT). But it’s so rare in health care–where it’s uniquely known as “interoperability”–that every year, reformers call it the most critical goal for health IT, and the Office of the National Coordinator has repeatedly narrowed its Meaningful Use and related criteria to emphasize interoperability.

Open source software can share data with other systems as a matter of course. Data formats are simple, often text-based, and defined in the code in easy-to-find ways. Open source programmers, freed from the pressures on proprietary developers to reinvent wheels and set themselves apart from competitors, like to copy existing data formats. As a stark example of open source’s advantages, consider the most recent version of the Open Document Format, used by LibreOffice and other office suites. It defines an entire office suite in 104 pages. How big is the standards document for the Microsoft OOXML format, offering roughly equivalent functionality? Currently, 6,755 pages–and many observers say even that is incomplete. In short, open source is consistently the right choice for data exchange.

What would the adoption of open source do to improve health care, given that it would solve the interoperability problem? Records could be stored in the cloud–hopefully under patient control–and released to any facility treating the patient. Research would blossom, and researchers could share data as allowed by patients. Analytical services could be plugged in to produce new insights about disease and treatment from the records of millions of people. Perhaps interoperability could also contribute to solving the notorious patient matching problem–but that’s a complicated issue that I have discussed elsewhere, touching on privacy issues and user control outside the scope of this article.

The next segment of this article will list three more benefits of free and open source software, along with an assessment of its current and future prospects.

HIPAA Slip Leads To PHI Being Posted on Facebook

Posted on July 1, 2014 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

HHS has begun investigating a HIPAA breach at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center which ended with a patient’s STD status being posted on Facebook.

The disaster — for both the hospital and the patient — happened when a financial services employee shared detailed medical information with father of the patient’s then-unborn baby.  The father took the information, which included an STD diagnosis, and posted it publicly on Facebook, ridiculing the patient in the process.

The hospital fired the employee in question once it learned about the incident (and a related lawsuit) but there’s some question as to whether it reported the breach to HHS. The hospital says that it informed HHS about the breach in a timely manner, and has proof that it did so, but according to HealthcareITNews, the HHS Office of Civil Rights hadn’t heard about the breach when questioned by a reporter lastweek.

While the public posting of data and personal attacks on the patient weren’t done by the (ex) employee, that may or may not play a factor in how HHS sees the case. Given HHS’ increasingly low tolerance for breaches of any kind, I’d be surprised if the hospital didn’t end up facing a million-dollar OCR fine in addition to whatever liabilities it incurs from the privacy lawsuit.

HHS may be losing its patience because the pace of HIPAA violations doesn’t seem to be slowing.  Sometimes, breaches are taking place due to a lack of the most basic security protocols. (See this piece on last year’s wackiest HIPAA violations for a taste of what I’m talking about.)

Ultimately, some breaches will occur because a criminal outsmarted the hospital or medical practice. But sadly, far more seem to take place because providers have failed to give their staff an adequate education on why security measures matter. Experts note that staffers need to know not just what to do, but why they should do it, if you want them to act appropriately in unexpected situations.

While we’ll never know for sure, the financial staffer who gave the vengeful father his girlfriend’s PHI may not have known he was  up to no good. But the truth is, he should have.

EMR Market is Growing, But It’s Not What It Was

Posted on September 11, 2013 I Written By

James Ritchie is a freelance writer with a focus on health care. His experience includes eight years as a staff writer with the Cincinnati Business Courier, part of the American City Business Journals network. Twitter @HCwriterJames.

The EMR market is likely to grow at more than 7 percent per year through 2016, according to a new report.

The estimate comes from London-based research and advisory firm TechNavio. The company wrote in its analysis, “Global Hospital-based EMR Market 2012-2016,” that “demand for advanced health monitoring systems” and for cloud-computing services were major contributors to demand.

On the other hand, according to the company, implementation costs could be a limiting factor.

The TechNavio figure is actually a compound annual growth rate of 7.46 percent. That means substantial opportunity for the many companies referenced in the report, including Cerner Corp., Epic Systems Corp., AmazingCharts Inc. and NextGen Healthcare, to name a few.

Another research firm, Kalorama Information, in April reported that the EMR market reached nearly $21 billion in 2012, up 15 percent from the year before, driven by hospital upgrades and government incentives.

About 44 percent of U.S. hospitals had at least a basic EHR in 2012, up from 12 percent in 2009, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

In the United States, at least, future growth might require more resources and creativity to achieve. You might remember the recent post “The Golden Era of EHR Adoption is Over,” by Healthcare Scene’s John Lynn, positing that the low-hanging fruit for EMR vendors, the market of early adopters and the “early majority,” is gone, leaving a pool of harder-to-convince customers.

But the TechNavio report is broader, considering not only the Americas but also Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. That’s truly a mixed bag, as while health IT is at a preliminary stage in many developing markets, it’s highly advanced in countries such as Norway, Australia and the United Kingdom, where, according to the Commonwealth Fund, EMR adoption by primary-care physicians exceeds 90 percent.

When EMR initiatives get a firmer foothold in countries such as China, where cloud-based solutions could well prevail, growth rates for those areas might exceed — several times over — the overall figure predicted by TechNavio.

And in the United States, certain pockets, such as the rural hospital market, still present huge opportunity. Fewer than 35 percent of rural hospitals had at least a basic EMR in 2012, but the enthusiasm is clearly there, as that number was up from only 10 percent in 2010, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

It looks like it’s still a great time to be an EMR vendor. But it’s not the same market that it was even a couple of years ago, and success in the new era might require looking at new markets and approaches.

Benefits and Struggles of EMRs, and More – Around Healthcare Scene

Posted on June 9, 2013 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.

Are tablets going to take the place of traditional laptops and desktops? Well, Dr. Michael West seems to think so. He talks about his new-found love for his iPad mini, and how it fulfills all his current needs. Have you traded your desktop in for a tablet yet? The new Microsoft Surface is making me kind of want to!

Having a PHR on your phone doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, if your phone has a camera (what phone doesn’t nowadays?) you can create when quickly and easily. Here are five health-related snapshots you could keep on your phone to assist in a variety of situations.

If you have been following the Affordable Health Care Act, you’ll know that an optional Medicaid State Plan called Medicaid Health Homes was introduced. There are, of course, many questions that people have about this, including what kind of technology will be required for successful implementation. Lori Bernstein, president of GSI Health, addresses some questions and lays out the benefits that this new model has to offer in her guest post at EMR and EHR last week. what kind of technology will Medicaid Health Homes require to ensure successful implementation?

Paper to EMR is a necessary evil for for hospitals, therefore, it’s easy to justify the expense required to do so. But what about when you decide to switch EMRs. Is it justifiable? Not always. There is no ROI to switch from EMR and EMR, and it can be a big risk.

A current pilot program is currently underway to help identify high-risk pregnancies by using an EMR. This pilot program is being led by researchers and people from Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Population Health IT to find hints in a mother’s health history to help determine if her pregnancy is high-risk. It’s a slow-moving project, but may prove to be worth it if it helps get mothers the help they nee.d

Healthcare IT and EMRs – Around Healthcare Scene

Posted on May 26, 2013 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 different challenges that come with creating PHRs, especially with adolescents. Certain aspects of PHRs can be hidden from parents, such a pregnancy tests or information on reproductive health. Boston Children’s Hospital has created a special adolescent PHR, that will allow parent’s access to certain files, while keeping some available only for the eyes of the the adolescent.

EMRs are created to increase efficiency of care, eliminate paper records, and optimize care. However, when a person wants to access medical records, they often have to wait days, if not weeks, for the results. Is there a way to have EMRs help patients easily retrieve medical records?

There are many great EMR bloggers out there. John took a trip down memory lane to remember the blogs he first read when he started blogging 7.5 years ago. Do you recognize any of these legacy EMR bloggers?

Do you consider EMRs to be “cool” in the world of Health IT? In this light-hearted post, Jennifer reflects on different parts of Health IT, specifically EMRs, and what she would define as cool. Be sure to chime in on this conversation.

Some people really love their EMRs (or, at least, try to convince themselves that they do!) Two physicians from North Carolina made this clever video, as a way to express some of their frustrations with EMRs in a lighthearted, and fun way. You definitely won’t want to miss this!

The latest innovation from Google may have a big effect on the future of healthcare. Google Glasses, though not created specifically for the healthcare community, could prove to transform healthcare as we know it. From helping medical students learn material, to assisting in the ER, the possibilities appear to be endless.

The Rise Of mHealth And EHR Use, And The World Of Telehealth – Around Healthcare Scene

Posted on May 12, 2013 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.

mHealth is on the rise, and it looks like usage of smart phones among physicians is following that same trend. A recent study shows that usage rose about nine percent in 2012, which shows that it is becoming more accepted in the medical world. It will be interesting to see if it increases even more this year (I have a feeling it might.)

Similar to the increase in doctors using smartphones, there has been a jump in EMR and HIE use as well. A survey from Accenture found that over 90 percent of doctors are using an EMR in either their practice or at a hospital, and over 50 percent are using an HIE. This increase was highest among doctors in the United States. Be sure to read more of the interesting facts this survey found about EMR and HIE use in the U.S., and around the world.

Even though 90 percent of doctors are using an EMR at one point or another, only about 55 percent have actually adopted an EHR into their practice. It can be nerve-racking trying to find the perfect EHR. If you are finding yourself at that crossroad, be sure to read these five tips from ADP AdvancedMD on how to have a successful EHR implementation.

Still, some of you may be hesitant to implement an EHR. You may ask, is it worth it? Does it takeaway from healthcare? There is debate from both sides, each with compelling arguments. John believes that technology is overall positive in any industry, and discusses his thoughts, and some of the challenges that faces the industry.

Telehealth and medicine is so huge, it can be hard to digest. Neil Versel recently attended the American Telemedicine Association’s annual conference in Austin, Texas, and saw just how huge this market was. Be sure to check out this video he created from his experience, and to perhaps get a better idea about the many types of telehealth. Similar to the increase in doctors using smartphones, there has been a jump in EMR and HIE use as well. A survey from Accenture found that over 90 percent of doctors are using an EMR in either their practice or at a hospital, and over 50 percent are using an HIE. This increase was highest among doctors in the United States. Be sure to read more of the interesting facts this survey found about EMR and HIE use in the U.S., and around the world.

With summer quickly approaching, it’s more important than ever to stay hydrated. But if you need a little reminder, be sure to look into the Jomi Band.  It gives you warnings when you might be on the brink of dehydration, and makes it easy to keep track of how much water you’ve consumed in a day’s time.

EHRMagic, EHR Certification, and the Great EHR Switch — #HITsm Chat Highlights

Posted on May 4, 2013 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.

Topic One: What lessons can be learned from the ONC’s decision to revoke #EHR Incentive Program certification of EHRMagic? #HealthIT

Topic Two: Does this action make EHR certification more meaningful or does it reduce confidence in certified products?

Topic Three: Who suffers the most from the ONC’s decision? The vendor or the physicians who purchased the product?

#HITsm T4: ”2013 is the year of the great #EHR switch.” With data migration and implementation hassles, is this truly a possibility?

EHR Debates and The Growth of mHealth – Around Healthcare Scene

Posted on April 7, 2013 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.

With the dissatisfaction that many have felt from EMR, providers and patients alike, outside healthcare companies are coming up with new ideas on how to help. Healthpons, a healthcare version of Groupon, recently launched and aims to help people find affordable care, and allow providers to market themselves. Is this “cash for care” model a trickle down effect of EMR Dissatisfaction?

Among the debates related to EHRs, one of the biggest is about purging data. On one side, people believe that all data from a person’s life in order to give the best care possible. Another camp believes that keeping EHR data opens up the door for the institution being held liable. What do you think?

Hospitals are implementing EMRs left and right. However, who is it that pays for it? Some argue that it’s the consumer, others sometimes even say it’s the insurance companies. In the end, it’s the hospitals themselves.

How do you measure the quality of a doctor? In same ways, it’s impossible. Ideally, there would be a way to determine whether the quality of care a doctor provides is worth the cost they charge. However, there are risks involved in this, and really, it’s hard.  Don’t we all want the best doctor possible, for the lowest price? How can we keep doctor’s accountable for the care they provide?

If you have a hard time deciding the quality of a doctor, why not take matters into your own hands? Most people know that Google contains a plethora of health information, and that smartphones have a variety of health-related apps. The digital health market is growing at a fast rate and more technology is being released each day. What do you think the future holds for mHealth?

The past few weeks, some well-known names in health IT have lost dear family members. Remember these people in your thoughts.

NetPulse, HIEs, and The Importance of Reliable EMRs — Around Healthcare Scene

Posted on March 24, 2013 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.

Have you ever wished that all your fitness and food trackers were in one place? Well, look no further. NetPulse is trying to do just that. The new platform is working with some of the hottest apps, as well as fitness equipment makers, to make taking control of your health easier and more convenient.

A group of researchers recently published an opinion in the Journal of the American Medical Association regarding cloud-based health records versus HIEs. The verdict? They feel that the cloud-based health records might be a better way of sharing health records. What they had to say was rather interesting, so don’t miss the recap of it over at EMR and EHR.

Still looking to use HIEs, rather than Cloud-based health records? The ONC has recently released a toolkit to help different healthcare professionals use them more efficiently. This toolkit includes several guides and a spreadsheet to help determine costs and savings that are associated with implementing an EHR.

For those that missed HIMSS, check out the video that John filmed of the Metro point of care solutions. It gives you a first person perspective of what you could have seen demoed at HIMSS if you were able to attend. Plus, it’s pretty cool to see the point of care and BCMA technologies in action.

It’s important for an EMR to be usable. However, this isn’t always the case, and it can be extremely frustrating. Dr. Shirie Leng, an anesthesiologist, is someone who feels that way. In a recent piece over at KevinMD.com, Dr. Leng discusses her EMR usability wish list. Be sure to check it out, and see if you agree. What is your usability wish list?

And, how smart is your current EMR? According to John, it might just be stupid. While they may have value, most EHR software is just full of dumb data repositories. Despite the negativity of this perspective, the future of EHRs does have hope. With the help of entrepreneurs innovators, current EHRs will be turned smart.

Finally, in order for EMRs to make the changes needed, to improve usability and become more “smart,” the vendors need to get it together.  KLAS recently put several popular EMRs head-to-head, reviewing their usability and efficiency. Although names weren’t listed, they found that some EMRs were very difficult to learn, and it’s not necessarily the physician who is using its fault. Perhaps it’s time that physicians and hospitals demand higher quality products.