Free EMR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to EMR and HIPAA for FREE!!

Managing Pain With New WebMD App

Posted on October 18, 2012 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.

Yesterday, I received an email from WebMD with news of a new app. It caught me eye, so I decided to look a little more into it.

The app is called Pain Coach, with the subtitle “A Better Day Starts Here.” For anyone that deals with any type of chronic pain, that is definitely a tempting proposition.

When a person goes to the doctor for any type of persistent pain, the doctor is ineveitably going to ask “So, where does it hurt?” Having been in this position myself, I usually draw a blank and give a very generic area — which could indicate a whole variety of problems. This app would be great for a doctor to “prescribe” to a patient who might need a little help pinpointing exactly where the pain is, what the triggers are, and how to describe that pain to the doctor. It would definitely make doctor’s appointments go smoother, in my opinion.

So let’s take a look at what this app actually has to offer.

First off, it is only available for the iPhone — sorry Android users (myself included!) The email I got listed the following features:

  • Doctor-approved information customized to your condition
  • A personal journal that tracks your pain level on scale of 1 to 10, as well as your symptoms, treatments, and triggers. Email a PDF report of your pain history in time for your next doctor visit.
  • Goals to help you manage your pain.
  • Hundreds of daily tips to help you achieve your goals

Here a few screen shots, provided by iTunes:

This shows a basic summary of a particular day. There is definitely a lot of detail, probably more than most doctors really would care about…but it seems pretty easy to track.

This looks like the pain identification center…once again, it has lots of details. I think pinpointing specific times and dates can really show specific triggers for pain.

 

 

And finally, here’s a picture of a graph that can be created to map pain over a certain period of time. I imagine this might be something a physician would be interested in.

As with most mobile health apps, this is a great idea . . . if people actually remember to use it beyond the first few days after the initial download. I’ve been thinking a lot about a post over at Happy EMR Doctor about patient engagement. What is it going to take for patients to actually use medical apps on a long term basis? Either way, I think this is a neat app, and I hope it becomes available for Android phones soon!

This app is absolutely free, and can be downloaded for free here from the iTunes app store.

Inaccurate EMR Data, Patient Engagement, and Studycure: Around Healthcare Scene

Posted on September 23, 2012 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.

EMR and EHR

Primary Docs See Hope For Stronger Financials With EMR

A recent study revealed that 51 percent of doctors felt the EMRs would help solve their problems. In fact, some believe that it will help them financially as well. Their theory? Better coding and documentation will lead to more efficiency and reduction of costs. Is this a worth-while belief, or are these doctors setting themselves up for disappointment?

EMR Data Often “Innaccurate” Or “Missing”, Study Says

EMR adoption is expected to reach nearly 80 percent of healthcare organizations by 2016. This may come as a relief to some who believe that EMRs eliminate data errors that come with paper-based systems. However, EMRs may not be as accurate and complete as everyone might hope. Symptoms on patients who die quickly may not be recorded, and accuracy can depend on if a patient was treated at night or during the day. Teamwork may be the solution to eliminating EMR-based errors.

Hospital EMR

Your Facebook-like Health and Status Feed

Should healthcare practices integrate a social media-like system, incorporating real health time and status feeds, into clinical workflow? In theory, it would be a great idea. However, as with Facebook and Twitter, not every status gets read. This may get information out quickly, but maybe not to who needs to see it.

Happy EMR Doctor

Patient Engagement in the Digital Era

Patient Engagement has gone from eye-to-eye contact to Googling health questions. While this may seem like patient engagement is becoming less personal, it can be positive. Patients can be more involved in their health care, and take control of it. Dr. Michael West discusses that and more in his article this week.

Smart Phone Health Care

Studycure: Experiment Your Way to Better Health

Need some extra motivation to meet goals? Studycure is part social experiment, part motivation, and aims to help people meet their health goals. By implementing a texting program that sends reminders throughout the day and questions concerning your goal, it analyzes after a certain period of time if the methods used to meet a goal are being met. Goals are customizable, can be shared with friends and family, and others goals can be tracked and used as inspiration.

“The Freedom of No Meaningful Use Is Bliss”

Posted on October 23, 2011 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.

Today’s short Sunday post comes from Dr. West who blogs over at Happy EMR Doctor. The following comment was made on one of our Meaningful Use Monday posts.

“So glad I’m having nothing to do with the MU program. The freedom is bliss.”

I wonder how many other doctors share Dr. Wests view. Although, more interesting might be EHR users that are jealous of his view. Of course, the interesting thing in all this is that Dr. West is a real fan of EHR software and uses one in his practice. It’s just the government meaningful use requirements that he’s not doing.

Eloquent EMR and EHR Notes

Posted on October 2, 2011 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.

Today I came across a tweet by the infamous @kevinmd that struck me. I think it really caught my attention, because I’ve been:
1. Reading a lot of complaints from people about the verbose EHR note
2. Seeing a lot of relatively new EHR software demo EHR notes that aren’t verbose at all.

Here’s the tweet:
@kevinmd – Kevin Pho, M.D.
The loss of eloquence in EMR notes is.gd/Tqf6Y3

The article linked at the end of that tweet is a pretty interesting read. The author compares the eloquence of a dictated note versus one from an EMR. It was an interesting read since the author was a self proclaimed lover of their EMR. However, they weren’t a big fan of the EMR notes (unlike the Happy EMR Doctor who had someone praise his EMR note).

What I’ve been seeing lately in the EMR world is a revolution around the quality of the EMR note. I’m not yet ready to declare the verbose, lengthy, unreadable EMR notes dead yet, but this revolution in quality, relevant note creation will get us there. I look forward to the day when I can post “Death of the Long, Unreadable EMR Note.”

Interview of the Happy EMR Doctor – Dr. West

Posted on June 2, 2011 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.

Hi Dr. West, could you tell us your educational background and EMR experience?

I completed my fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. I began using an electronic medical record when I opened my practice in December 2009.

1. You’re on your second EMR after a failed EMR experience. I know you can’t reveal the name of your first EMR vendor, but what went so wrong?

Lots of things, but mainly it was the fact that it didn’t perform as the vendor described it would. Different parts were always malfunctioning. For example, the History of Present Illness section of my notes would sometimes get deleted when we tried to format the notes for faxing to a referring doctor. Different buttons on the screen which were supposed to be for functions were never functional. You would click them and nothing would happen. The accounting part of the software would not allow patients to be issued refunds in the case of overpayment, and so our financial books could not be kept accurate. Etc, etc.

2. What frustrated you the most about your first EMR?

That the company would make promises to fix it and never completely get it done. When one fix was completed, another part of the system would develop a new bug that was not there before. I think they were amateurs who basically got in over their heads and could not dig themselves out of the hole.

3. I know you are very happy with your current Free EMR, Practice Fusion, but after your failed EMR experience did you want to quit using EMRs all together? If not what or why were you still convinced there had to be a way to make EMRs work for your practice?

No, we had heard stories of other companies who had needed to change vendors and were prepared to keep on our mission of being an electronic practice. But it was indeed a scary time because we had just gotten burned with our first vendor. That said, I can see how many doctors who are less certain about the EMR concept for their practices may not have tried again at that point.

4. What do you think other doctors and healthcare professionals should avoid so that their initial experience with EMRs are less traumatic and more rewarding?

I think they should avoid rushing into a relationship with an EMR vendor; they should avoid signing a contract that does not include a satisfaction and money-back guarantee; and they should avoid continuing with an EMR vendor that has not provided a system to their satisfaction after an introductory period.

5. What should doctors and practice managers be looking for in their pursuit of finding an EMR that fits their needs?

I recommend searching for a vendor that is willing to let a provider test drive the EMR in the provider’s practice for an introductory period before committing to it. I think that a month would be enough time to find out all the problems, if any. There may need to be a deposit for this, but that should be fully refundable. They should be looking for a vendor that does not have a lot of very specific hardware requirements since hardware is not easy to return in the case where a provider needs to switch to an different EMR vendor.

6. What specific questions should other practices ask before signing a contract to have an EMR software package installed?

I think many of the answers are in my answer to question 5.

7. American Medical News reported the results of a recent study conducted by UC Davis which connected decreased productivity with EMR systems because of a lack of customization for given specialties. Was this an issue for you?

No. Practice Fusion is designed such that you can build your own templates to include whatever you like in the notes. After you create your own templates to your liking, I found that I could see patients faster and complete their notes sooner than before. All of my daily notes are essentially done by 5 pm.

8. Did you try other EMR software in between your first disastrous EMR experience and your current EMR?

We interviewed other vendors and viewed demos, but we had no other EMR in practice.

9. If you did, could you tell us about why you chose not to use them and could you tell us what the Practice Fusion EHR had that enticed you to go with them?

We went with Practice Fusion because it was free and web-based. Therefore it could be tried and discontinued, if necessary, without additional cost to us.

10. You’ve commented on your time being freed up because of using EMR, what was the most time consuming element in your pre-EMR life that no longer exists in your current, happy, para-EMR life?

If you mean before using any EMR whatsoever, then I would say charting in general. At Hopkins you had to dictate all your notes, spend additional time reviewing and editing them, and then sign. Now, using customized templates that I designed myself, that is all gone.

11. Besides Practice Fusion being free, can you tell those who might want to test the waters what you like the most about it?

It’s very intuitive. I like to call it the Gmail of EMRs. I imagine that eventually nearly everyone will have an account.

12. Explain the benefits of customized templates and details regarding how you designed your templates?

Benefits include a more uniform approach to common problems, such as diabetes and thyroid nodules. All patients with these conditions follow a thorough and well-defined path of questions designed to gather the most meaningful and relevant information.

13. How have you handled the issue of making each record unique to your patients’ medical issues when using templates?

Well, you still have to add unique contextual details, and for this you have to type a sentence here and there. These can be as long or short as you like.

14. Medicare and Medicaid decided to eliminate consultation codes. Is that one of the reasons you have decided against taking Medicare patients?

Yes, but only one of many reasons.

15. Why did you opt out of participating in the EHR government incentive plan? Aren’t you forfeiting a substantial sum of money by not participating?

On the surface it would appear so. It’s been an issue of angst for me personally, and I may blog on this inner struggle in the future over at happyemrdoctor.com.

16. In a recent survey conducted by the AACE, it was revealed that because of Medicare’s decision to remove the code allowing the consult charge, 4 out of 5 endocrinologists were going to reduce the number of patients seen in their practice. Are you aware of any groups working to reverse Medicare’s decision? What impact will this have on the future of Medicare?

I previously blogged on this at Happy EMR Doctor.

As far as groups working to reverse Medicare’s decision, I am aware that AACE already sent CMS a letter, and I found this letter as well.

In making this change, Medicare will save a lot of money for itself and shift the burden of payments back to patients who cannot find a subspecialist within travel distance who will accept Medicare. They will be forced into paying out-of-pocket for needed medical services. What most patients don’t know is that, under current Medicare rules (unlike commercial insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield), patients cannot send in claims to Medicare for services rendered by doctors who have opted out of Medicare. To see an opted-out doctor, patients are forced to sign a Medicare contract stating that they will not send in any claims, despite having had necessary medical services. Medicare makes it more financially painful not to use their contracted doctors than do commercial carriers who have out-of-network options. As for the future of Medicare, I think that less doctors will be available in the system to supply demand to a growing number of baby-boomer Medicare patients.

Great EMR and Healthcare IT Content

Posted on March 3, 2011 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.

Today I’m happy to officially introduce readers of EMR and HIPAA to my latest project: The Healthcare Scene blog network. If you follow me on twitter (@techguy and @ehrandhit), then you’ve probably already come across one or more of the great blogs in this new healthcare IT blog network. I’m really excited with the group of bloggers that I have working on the network and the amazing content they’ve been creating and will create.

Before I introduce you to the various websites on the network, here’s a little background in why I decided to do this. As I looked at the various healthcare IT and EMR bloggers producing content, I was disappointed that many of them were creating great content that wasn’t getting nearly as much attention and traffic as the content deserved. Plus, many hadn’t benefited financially from all the great content they were creating. Combine lack of traffic with lack of financial rewards and these independent voices often disappear.

I saw this as a real opportunity to leverage many of the marketing and advertising tools that I’d created for EMR and HIPAA to the benefit of many others in the EMR and healthcare IT world. Plus, a number of my current advertisers told me that there weren’t enough online healthcare IT advertising options out there. I see this network as a real win for everyone. Independent bloggers can have their voices magnified while making money doing so. Readers and the EMR and Healthcare IT industry get more independently created content (including content by doctors). Healthcare IT advertisers will have more opportunities to advertise next to great content. I get to expand my network and work with a bunch of really smart people.

Now here’s a look at the websites that will be part of the Healthcare Scene blog network:

  • Meaningful HIT News – This blog written by Neil Versel started in May 2004 and has over 500 posts. Neil is one of the only pure healthcare IT journalists out there and has been doing it for the past 15 years across more publishers than you can count, but most recently at Fierce Healthcare. I’m excited that Neil has chosen to move his blog to the HealthcareScene.com blog network. He’s a must read journalist for anyone in EMR and healthcare IT. I borrowed much of my writing style from Neil and so if you like this site, go and subscribe to Meaningful HIT News email list and you won’t be disappointed.
  • EMR and Healthcare IT News – The firehose of EMR and Healthcare IT news sent out by vendors. A great way for vendors to get their word out and for industry people to see the latest developments in EMR and healthcare IT. I’m looking to partner with healthcare IT PR firms on the site, so hit my Contact Us page if you’re interested.
  • Happy EMR Doctor – This blog first started out as a Doctor’s Blog guest post on EMR and EHR, but the content from Dr. West was too good. So, I rolled it off onto its own blog. Dr. West has been through a failed EHR implementation and now is using one of the Free EHR vendors. So, he has some interesting stories to tell.
  • Smartphone Health Care – I recently heard that there were something like 30+ mobile health conferences or conferences with a mobile health track in the past year. That seems like far too many, but it is quite clear that Smart Phones and other mobile devices are going to play a huge role in the future of healthcare. Consider this my foray into the mHealth world.
  • Wired EMR Practice – Many of you might remember that I already introduced Dr. Koriwchak’s blog on EMR and HIPAA earlier. Many of you subscribed to his blog and have seen the type of quality content he’s creating. I love doctor’s perspectives on EMR.
  • nextHospital – We’ll see how this blog evolves, but it’s the Healthcare Scene’s first blog that isn’t really IT focused. Written by Katherine Rourke (mentioned above), nextHospital will focus on the business of healthcare in hospitals.
  • EMR, EHR and HIPAA Wiki – Not a blog, but a pretty cool part of the network nonetheless. Be sure to add your EHR vendor if it’s not on there already.
  • EMR and EHR Job Board – Not a blog either, but this job board will be syndicated across all the HealthcareScene.com websites. So, it’s a great places to post or look for a job.
  • EMR and HIPAA – Hopefully it needs no intro if you’re reading this post. Let’s just say, 1000 posts, 4713 comments, and over 4 million pageviews.
  • EMR and EHR – Very similar to EMR and HIPAA, but only about 2 years old. 300 posts, 1092 comments and 700,000+ pagevies. Katherine Rourke, a healthcare IT journalist with 15+ years of experience, recently started posting on EMR and EHR and is a welcome addition to the site.

I’d say that’s a pretty good start. I’m in talks with a few more bloggers that may or may not join the network. I think there’s still some interesting niches that haven’t been filled. For example, a blog tracking publicly traded healthcare IT stock movements and other healthcare IT investment opportunities could be interesting. Either way, I’m excited to see all the great content that will be created on these sites. Much like this site, each site encourages you to respectfully comment, share the content, and join the conversation. Please let your voice be heard in the comments.

Yes, right now each site looks very much like the rest, but we’re just getting started. Over time I’ll work to give each blogger it’s own brand while also building up the HealthcareScene.com domain to better represent all the activity that’s happening on the network. I see it becoming a virtual hub of the best and brightest conversations happening in and around healthcare IT and EMR.

Let me know what you think of these additions in the comments or drop me a note on my Contact Us page.

MIA EMR Lovers

Posted on February 16, 2011 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.

The other night I was thinking (I tried not to hurt myself in the process) about the various EMR voices that are found online. There’s a number of really interesting people that need to be heard more than they are now. Tomorrow I’m going to have a post that talks about my efforts to help give more exposure to some of these voices, but one thing I realized yesterday was that the doctors that love their EMR aren’t generally found online.

It makes sense why many of the doctors who love their EMR don’t come online to discuss their EMR. They don’t really care. They’re happy with what they have and so they’re not online looking to find an EMR or to complain about the EMR that they have. I guess part of it might be that the EMR has become natural and so they don’t likely think to learn or share their experience with EMR.

It’s hard to blame these doctors from not participating with the discussion and make their voices. No doubt other doctors would be the beneficiary of these successful EMR doctors experiences more than the doctors who share their experiences. However, what that does is it slants the online EMR conversation to those who are looking for an EMR (and so they don’t have the experience to share) and those who are frustrated with their EMR and are looking for a place to either: complain, get answers and fixes or both.

We can certainly learn a lot from all of these groups of people, but its important to recognize where a person comes from when they’re making their comments. I love when someone says that they’re unbiased. Whether we like it or not, we’re all biased. Some more than others, but our personal experiences influence the way we think and act.

For example, I come from a generally pro-EMR perspective since I’ve seen first hand the benefits of great EMR implementations. Plus, I’m generally pro-IT and the benefits of technology in your life. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t understand the challenges associated with implementing an EMR. I also understand why some organizations shouldn’t implement an EMR yet. If you don’t have the organizational buy-in to put forth the effort to properly select and implement an EMR, then don’t do it. You’ll save your company and the EMR company a lot of heartache by just waiting.

Either way, I wish that more of those doctors who have an EMR and love it would make their voices heard online. That’s why I’m excited to be working with Dr. West on a blog he named the Happy EMR Doctor. Happy doesn’t mean that Dr. West doesn’t have things he wishes his EMR would do better. In fact, he wrote a post about “What I still can’t do on my EMR.” However, Dr. West is generally happy to have an EMR and I believe he’s going to help a lot of people by sharing his experience using it.

I’m especially excited to hear him talk about his first failed experience implementing an EMR (I guess he was the Unhappy EMR Doctor then). Hearing what he did different the second time will be interesting, informative and hopefully help others avoid his mistakes. I’m glad to be working with him to bring out another independent EMR voice. I guess you can call me the Happy EMR Blogger.