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International EMR Adoption Graphic, Reverb Chamber, and Workflow

Posted on June 30, 2013 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.


This graphic seems to position the US in the lead position when it comes to EHR and HIE. Although, I’m not sure which countries they chose to include in the chart. As I recall countries like Norway and Denmark were way ahead of us and somehow they didn’t make it on the graphic. Plus, it looks like they used the very best numbers they could find for the US as opposed to realistic ones.


This tweet from Mandi reminded me that sometimes we live in a reverb chamber that the larger part of the healthcare community doesn’t hear. I think we’d all be amazed how many people in healthcare IT know very little about the workings of the healthcare IT market. They’re so focused on their jobs they see little outside of their healthcare organization. In fact, many are naive to even what’s happening within their own healthcare organization.

It’s still amazing to me how we have so many ways to connect and learn and yet many don’t seem to care.


If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time you’ll know the name Charles Webster, MD. He’s talking workflow everywhere he goes. What I haven’t figured out is if workflow is really the issue we’re not dealing with or if Dr. Webster just has workflow solutions and so everything he sees is a workflow problem. The proverbial “everything is a nail when you have a hammer.”

Health IT Costs, Health IT Adoption, HIE and CommonWell – Pre #HITsm Thoughts

Posted on June 28, 2013 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.

Last week I took the #HITsm Chat topics and created a blog post about Healthcare Unbound. I enjoyed creating the post so much that I decided to do it again this week. Not to mention I’ll be on the road to Utah during this week’s chat and won’t be able to participate. (Side Note: If you live in Utah and want to do lunch, I’d love to meet and talk EMR or health IT. I’ll be in Hawaii in July if you want to do the same.)

The chat topics make perfect discussion items. Plus, I love that I have more of an opportunity to really dig into the topics in a blog post. You can’t dig in quite as much in 140 characters.

Topic 1: Costs vs benefits. Will high costs always be the #1 barrier cited to #healthIT adoption?
We’ve seen an enormous shift in the cost of healthcare IT since I first started blogging about EMR 8 years ago. Cost use to be a much bigger issue when the cheapest EMR software you could find was about $30,000+ per doctor (in the ambulatory space). Plus, they expected you to pay the entire lump sum payment up front (many did offer financing). These days the cost of EMR software has dropped dramatically and fewer and fewer EHR vendors are using the lump sum payment model. This change means that costs are much more in line with a practice’s revenue.

These days, I’d say that those who use cost as the reason for not adopting health IT are really just using it as an excuse not to do it. There are a few rural providers where cost is more than just an excuse, but those are pretty few and far between. I’m not saying that cost isn’t an important part of any health IT project, but I’ve most often seen cost used as a mask for other reasons people don’t want to implement health IT. The most common reason is actually just a general resistance to change.

Topic 2: Why does ePrescribing have such widespread acceptance while #telehealth adoption is so low?
If providers could be reimbursed for telehealth, adoption would be high.

It is ironic that doctors don’t really get reimbursed for ePrescribing, but they do it at a high level. Although, the doctor does get reimbursed for the visit that generates the need for the prescription. A deeper investigation of why ePrescribing has had good adoption would be interesting. Certainly there are many doctors who miss their sig pad. However, once you have to record the prescription in the EHR, you might as well ePrescribe it.

Plus, there are some obvious reasons why ePrescribing is better. Whether it’s replacing the unreadable prescriptions or the drug to drug and allergy interaction checking that’s built into every ePrescribing platform, the benefits can be understood quickly.

The sad thing is that the benefits of Telehealth can be seen quickly as well, but you can’t get paid to do it.

Topic 3: #HIE as a noun or a verb? Does negative press for HIE org$ hinder health data exchange as a whole?
HIE is currently more of a noun than a verb. Verbs require action and we’re not seeing enough HIE action.

In some ways negative press could discourage healthcare organizations from participating in an HIE organization. However, negative press about HIE’s weaknesses can also put pressure on healthcare organizations to finally step up to the plate and have more HIE action and less HIE talk.

The biggest hindrance to HIE is business model, and good or bad press won’t do much to change that.

Topic 4: Is #CommonWell just a bully in a fairy godmother costume?
I love this question mostly because I sent the tweet that inspired it. Although, a smart health IT PR/marketer was the one who said it to me.

It’s a little too early to tell if the fairy godmother costume that CommonWell has on is real or fake. I think there path is paved with good intentions, but will the almighty dollar get in the way of them realizing these good intentions? I don’t know. I’m hopeful that it will be a success. I’m also glad that at least the conversations are happening. That’s a step forward from where we were before CommonWell.

Topic 5: Open forum: What #HealthIT topic had your attention this week?
There are so many topics that I discuss each week, but I think I’m most excited by the project announced this week to create a Common Notice of Privacy Practices. I hope their crowdfunding is successful and they get a lot of great healthcare organizations on board with what they’re doing. I also found the Vitera Healthcare acquisition of Success EHS quite interesting. EMR is slowly but surely consolidating.

Highlights from the HFMA #ANI2013 Show Floor

Posted on June 27, 2013 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’ll share a few highlights from the HFMA ANI 2013 exhibit hall this time around. The show floor was fairly busy over the three days it was open to attendees. I do believe this is the first event I’ve attended where the convention center shut the lights off right at the end of exhibit hours on the last day. Talk about a clear message to vacate the premises!

I’ve captured most of my experience via pictures and captions below.

coniferband

Conifer played host to the opening night reception, welcoming attendees with some island tunes that made me want to grab the next flight to Tortola. At their booth, the company once again offered attendees a chance to donate money to select charities. I had fun playing plinko and making a donation to the Red Cross.

siemens

Siemens offered attendees a chance to help make a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project.

relayhealth

RelayHealth was of a similar, charitable mind. I lent my chips to the Giving Comfort cause this time around.

zirmed

The ZirMed team was actively tweeting during the event, so I used that as an excuse to find out more about their recent rebranding. It seems they offer a little bit of everything, “connecting providers, payers and patients to make the business of healthcare faster, clearer and more efficient for everyone,” according to the flyer I picked up.

torture

I forget the name of the company that likened going through a RAC audit to literally being on the rack. This was definitely stop-you-in-your-tracks marketing.

stilts

I just couldn’t resist capturing this conversation for posterity’s sake. Oh, the things you see at trade shows.

racecars

I’m pretty certain this was part of the MedeAnalytics booth, whose team was fitted out in some pretty snazzy racing gear/booth attire.

m2sys

The friendly folks at M2SYS

kforce

Speaking of friendly, the folks at Kforce are always ready to chat about IT staffing solutions, though when I snapped this pic they did look a bit lonesome for their colleagues @Brad_Justus and @BocaHudson.

jvion

The jvion team knows how to have a good time on the show floor. Enticing me with a wig and mic offered the perfect excuse to tell me more about their solutions that focus on “reducing the financial impact and burden of converting to ICD-10, and helping providers protect their revenues from increased financial waste associated with mandated changes and increased payor scrutiny,” according to their website.

ipadrace

I’m sad to say I didn’t take down the name of this company, but I did play the game you see above. Needless to say, I’m sure my four-year-old could probably have done a better job than I did of getting the iPad controlled ball through the maze.

healthport

You can’t go wrong with sweets, and HealthPort took things a step above the typical candy in a bowl. I had the chance to meet with Dawn Crump, HealthPort’s new Vice President of Audit Management Solutions. She seems to really know her stuff, having moved over from the provider world quite recently. She is the first super user HealthPort has ever hired, and it seems as if she has big plans for their products.

cognizant

Cognizant’s booth says it all. Many attendees were looking for ICD-10 and ACO solutions, though as I mentioned last week, value-based care seems to be the next iteration of accountable care.

allscripts

I didn’t make it to the Allscripts booth, but did make a point to visit their coffee stand. If there’s a quick way to my heart, it’s through coffee.

I did make it to the athenahealth booth, and chatted with John Lewis about the company’s ICD-10 conversion guarantee. The company has gotten a fair amount of traction with the offer, and, as Lewis explained to me, it has definitely helped start meaningful conversations with providers.

I also had the opportunity to meet with Mel Tully and Ann Joyal at the Nuance/J.A. Thomas booth. They caught me up on what the companies are doing in the areas of intelligent systems for clinical documentation.

Other exhibitors of note included Health Business Solutions, which showed me their latest patient-facing product. Revel is a mobile application that facilitates patient after-care payment via smart phone.  I would definitely have appreciated something like this right after both of my daughters were born. I was in no mood to take a phone call from the hospital wanting their balance due. I would have much rather received a call or text on my phone that I then could have handled at my convenience.

Healthcare management information systems provider Ormed had some pretty compelling customer testimonials rolling at their booth. It seemed to have a steady stream of folks sit down for their brief presentations throughout each day. Kudos to the presenter who kept each one moving along.

AMN Healthcare caught my eye with its “Use of Social Media and Mobile by Healthcare Professionals” report. Though it’s from 2011, I think many of the statistics are still relevant. I hope to see the third version of this come out in time for ANI 2014.

Ambulatory EMRs Can Raise, Lower Medical Costs Depending On Use

Posted on June 26, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

For years, researchers and policymakers have been looking for the numbers which would definitively prove that there’s a decent return on investment for EMRs, or at least better articulate the impact that they do have. Here’s a look at a study which should add something interesting to the conversation.

New research has concluded that Medicaid spending may increase or decrease depending on how community health providers use ambulatory EMRs, according to a report in iHealthBeat.

The study, which was published in the Medicare and Medicaid Research Review, examined laboratory, radiology and general medical spending at three community health practices taking part.  The practices were part of a pilot program by the Massaschusetts eHealth Collaborative, in which researchers compared s pending before and after EMR implementation with  practices which largely hadn’t implemented EMRs.

Researchers concluded that there was a distinctive difference in medical spending at two of the three practices using EMRs, iHealthBeat reports. In one case, costs grew at a rate of about 2 percent less (or $41.60 per member per month) than at practices without EMRs. At the second practice, meanwhile, costs were 2.5 percent higher (or about $43.34 per member per month) than with the no-EMR comparison practices.

EMRs didn’t seem to impact radiology and laboratory costs; there were no significant differences in costs in these areas between practices using EMRs and practices without them.

All of this sounds intriguing, as we’d all like to know more about how EMRs can actually be used to cut costs — or how EMR use can be changed to avoid added costs.  The downside, however, is that the study didn’t produce this type of evidence, iHealthBeat said.

As study co-author Julia Adler-Milstein notes, the study did demonstrate that EMRs can impact ambulatory medical costs, but the effect was not consistent across communities, and the net effect cost-wise was minimal at best.  I was disappointed to read this, as I was expecting to pick up some data on specific best practices ambulatory caregivers can implement to save money using EMRs.  Guess we’ll have to wait for future research for that information!

Partners Integrates Mobile Data With EMR

Posted on June 25, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

In a move that could realize much of the promise of wireless remote monitoring, Partners HealthCare system has made it possible for providers to view remotely-collected patient health data in its EMR.  The program was launched by Partners division The Center for Connected Health, which focuses on delivering new forms of patient care outside of standard medical settings.

For years, Partners has been running programs which collect patient data through a combination of remote-monitoring technology, sensors and Web-based tools. Their focus has included management of chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, medication adherence and improved pregnancy outcomes and cardiac care outcomes. The Center’s remote monitoring database now stores over 1.2 million  patient vital signs.

Now, Partners has linked The Center’s proprietary remote monitoring database to its EMR, a step which moves the system in the direction of offering continuous chronic disease management. If a patient is participating in a remote monitoring program, Partners physicians can can now see a patient’s day-to-day vital signs, blood glucose levels, weight and other key health indicators directly within their records in the EMR.

The ultimate notion, according to the press release at least, is to  “put the patient at the center of their care while maintaining a close watch on their condition when they are not in the hospital or doctor’s office.”

While Partners didn’t say how many patients are involved in The Center’s programs, it’s doubtless a small fraction of overall Partners patient population. So despite the general coolness of what they’re trying to do, this is still more on the order of an experiment than a population health management program via remote monitoring.

Still, what Partners is doing is a large step in the right direction, and will doubtless realize some of the long anticipated benefits of remote monitoring for patients who are involved. Good show, folks.

Stand-Out Themes at HFMA #ANI2013

Posted on June 24, 2013 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

My third trip to the HFMA ANI show was by far the best yet, for a number of reasons. I found the overall event to be easily manageable in terms of way finding, session offerings and overall organization. Every HFMA volunteer I encountered had a smile on their face, and that’s saying something at 7:15 three mornings in a row. This positive attitude was also evident in the brief keynotes given by the association’s executives and board members, including Ralph Lawson, Steve Rose, Melinda Hancock and Joe Fifer. Each exuded an air of gratefulness at being put in a position of leadership, and seemed optimistic – yet realistic – about the future of healthcare.

Rose was particularly realistic in his comments, noting that the event’s theme of “Whatever it Takes” is one that he applies to his own life, most notably (visually at least) in the area of weight loss. I have to admit, it’s always nice to see healthcare professionals being healthy. (I didn’t see many taking advantage of the doughnuts during the continental breakfast each morning, though everyone does seem to love their caffeine and a few even snuck a cigarette – yuck!)

The only tone of dissension I detected amongst HFMA’s ranks was a result of the keynote given by Joe Gibbs, a celebrated football coach and racing team owner unknown to me before the event. As Gibbs spoke about leadership and picking the right players, I wondered how his testosterone-fueled keynote would compare to the first “Women as Leaders” session held a few days later. While Gibbs’ presentation was so-so, the female-centric session held a few days later was amazing. It was at times confessional in tone, always blunt and occasionally tear-inducing. Five HFMA board members shared their struggles, their triumphs and advice around working, parenting and trying to juggle both. It was refreshing to hear each of them go off script – touching on faith, values, husbands, kids and extended family.

I had the chance to attend most of the keynotes, a session on the challenges faced by small, independent hospitals, and the Women as Leaders panel. I spent a ton of time in the exhibit hall, and will cover that part of the show in next week’s post. For now, I’ll cover some high-level themes I gleaned from talking with attendees and exhibitors, and share a few pictures.

1. It’s time for hospitals to be more proactive in reaching out to payers and physicians, especially when it comes to sharing data. I had no idea that the “H” in HFMA once stood for Hospitals, so this inclusiveness has been in the works for some time. My thinking is that as the industry consolidates and hospitals try to become payers, payers buy hospitals, and physicians get caught in between, it’s only natural that an association like HFMA broaden its horizons to better serve its constituents.

2. Value-based care seems to the new name for accountable care and/or coordinated care. It’s certainly a phrase that will resonate better with consumers, which leads me to number three.

3. Everyone is aware of the need for more transparency into healthcare costs. Consumers have become more vocal in demanding it, and some hospitals are beginning to see the light, offering pre-service estimates. In fact, Fifer announced that HFMA has formed a task force to address the issue of price transparency in healthcare. You can view his announcement below:

4. Health insurance exchanges were covered copiously in sessions I was unable to attend. The “what ifs?” certainly outnumbered the “without a doubts.” I’ll be interested to see how these conversations go next year, once every state is in deep.

5. I did not hear one mention made of mobile health during the entire conference. I realize the attendee demographic is more finance than IT, but I would have thought at least one or two sessions would have addressed mobile health and the benefits this concept and technologies bring to healthcare’s bottom line. Isn’t mobile health key to cost containment and patient engagement?

vista

I’m beginning to think Orlando is my favorite city for conferences. This picture pretty much says it all – beautiful area of town, sunny skies with the typical once-a-day shower, and definitely warm. Even though it was humid, the outside atmosphere was a welcome respite from the absolutely freezing temperatures inside the convention center.

gibbs

Joe Gibbs gave Monday morning’s keynote. He kept referring to “salesmen,” which made me wonder if he’d been properly debriefed.

smallhospitals

This was a pretty interesting panel on the fate of small, independent hospitals. It helped paint a much clearer picture for me of the competitive markets these types of hospitals face.

Berwick slide

Dr. Don Berwick, former head of the CMS, gave my favorite keynote on Tuesday morning. It was fairly high level in nature, but he presented seven or eight examples of healthcare organizations that were taking the term “value-based care” to new levels. He referred to the much venerated “Triple Aim” often, and shared a number of slides, including the one above on “The Structure of the Affordable Care Act.” Notice the word “partial” at the end. To me, this slide conveys the complexity and somewhat confusing nature for the ACA.

That’s all for now. I’ll follow up next week with observations from the exhibitors hall. I’d be interested to hear from anyone else who attended what they took away from the event.

New Nursing Journey, Healthcare Interoperability, and EMR Productivity

Posted on June 23, 2013 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.

This is a great post by a nurse heading back into nursing. My suggestions for Jen is to dive in head first and learn the product in and out. Every EMR has issues, but you want to get to know those issues and the workarounds for those issues as soon as you can. Once you do, then at least they’re issues you know about and know how to deal with.


Depends on the vendor. More importantly, many institutions don’t want interoperability either. A number of times just this week people have told me that healthcare organizations don’t want to share with “their competitor.” Many are going to be taken kicking and screaming into interoperability.


This is the fear for many. I hope they just calculate in how fast paper charting was.

Developing Safety Critical Healthcare Software

Posted on June 21, 2013 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 Healthcare IT Guy, Shahid Shah, has a great post up on his blog about writing safety critical software using an agile, risk-based approach. Here’s a portion of the blog post where Shahid really hits the nail on the head:

Much of that [every software being custom] changed in the 90’s and then upended even further in the early part of the 21st century; we should no longer weighed down by the baggage of the past.These days even our hardware is agile and extensible, real-time operating systems are plentiful, software platforms are malleable, mHealth is well established, and programming languages are sophisticated so we need to be open to reconsidering our development approaches, especially risk-based agile.

Why should we use “risk-based” agile? Because not every single line of code in software can or should be treated equally – some parts of our medical device software can kill people, many parts merely annoy people, but most other parts simply aren’t worth the same attention as the safety-critical components. When you treat every line of code the same (as is often true in a plan-driven approach) and you have a finite amount of resources and time you end up with lower quality software and less reliable medical devices. It’s not fair to blame the FDA for our own bad practices.

I’m always amazed by Shahid’s knowledge and ability to describe something in simple terms. I should know since I’m often on calls with Shahid since he’s my partner in Influential Networks and Physia.

The irony is that in the EHR and mHealth world you could argue that many have taken too much of a lean approach to building their applications while the medical device world treats every part of the software as a patient safety issue. Now if we could just bring the two together into a more reasonable balance of what’s important from the safety side and what’s not.

As far as I can tell, the FDA is planning to mostly stay out of regulating the general mHealth and EHR side of healthcare IT and will stick to the medical devices and mHealth devices that fit under the medical device term. I think this is generally a good thing for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is that the FDA doesn’t have the expertise needed to regulate EHR software. However, I wouldn’t mind a touch more patient safety concern from EHR vendors. Maybe the EHR Code of Conduct will help add a little more to this concern.

Of course, as Shahid points out, you don’t have to sacrifice agile software development to develop safety critical software. This is true in medical device development, EHR development, and even mHealth development.

Specialty EHR Speaks that Specialty

Posted on June 19, 2013 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.

I’ve long been a proponent of the role of specialty specific EHRs. In fact, at one point I suggested that a really great EHR company could be a roll up of the top specialty specific EHRs. I still think this would be an extraordinary company that could really compete with the top EHR vendors out there. For now, I haven’t seen anyone take that strategy.

There are just some really compelling reasons to focus your EHR on a specific specialty. In fact, what you find is that even the EHR vendor that claims to support every medical specialty is usually best fit for one or a couple specific specialties. Just ask for their client list and you’ll have a good idea of which specialty likes their system the most.

I was recently talking with a specialty EHR vendor and they made a good case for why specialists love working with them. The obvious one he didn’t mention was that the EHR functions are tailored to that specialty. Everyone sees and understands this.

What most people don’t think about is when they talk to the support or sales people at that company. This is particularly important with the support people. It’s a very different experience calling an EHR vendor call center that supports every medical specialty from one that supports only your specialty. They understand your specialties unique needs, terminology, and language. Plus, any reference clients they give you are going to be in your specialty so you can compare apples to apples.

Certainly there can be weaknesses in a specialty specific EHR. For example, if you’re in a large multi specialty organization you really can’t go with a specialty specific EHR. It’s just not going to happen. With so many practices being acquired by hospitals, this does put the specialty specific EHR at risk (depending on the specialty).

Another weakness is when you want to connect your EHR to an outside organization. Most of them can handle lab and prescription interfaces without too much pain. However, connecting to a hospital or HIE can often be a challenge or cost you a lot of money to make happen. Certainly the meaningful use interoperability requirements and HL7 standards help some. We’ll see if it’s enough or if the future of healthcare interoperability will need something more. For example, will specialty specific EHR be able to participate in CommonWell if it achieves its goals?

There’s a case to be made on both sides of the specialty specific EHR debate. As with most EHR decisions, you have to choose which things matter most to your clinic.

Online Won’t Ever Replace Face-to-Face, It Will Enhance It!

Posted on June 18, 2013 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.

I was drawn in by the title of this blog post on The Healthcare Blog: Online Won’t Ever Replace Face-to-Face. Or Will It? It’s a powerful question and we all know the answer to the question is no, we won’t ever replace face to face interaction. Although, the title seems to indicate that it should be an either or proposition. From my experience, not only does online not replace Face-to-Face interaction, but it enhances it in really dramatic and beautiful ways.

A simple example of this happened yesterday. I was downtown filing some paperwork for my business at the county clerk’s office. As I was waiting for the paperwork to be processed, I got a tweet from someone saying they were in Las Vegas and would love to meet. I checked out his profile and didn’t recognize the name, but it said the magic words “healthcare startup” and so I was intrigued.

I quickly sent him a direct message on Twitter that I was in downtown Las Vegas and gave him my number if he wanted to connect while I was downtown. By the time I walked to my car I had a text from him saying he was 2 minutes away. So, I called him and we planned to meet at the local coffee shop where we had a nice 1-2 hour chat about healthcare startups.

Without technology I would have never known that Pete Kane was 2 minutes away from me, and I would have never learned about the amazing work he’s doing bringing together the Healthcare IT startup scene in Minnesota. He made me want to visit Minneapolis despite my current attempts to avoid traveling.

Turns out in the article linked above Katherine Leon realizes the same thing. Technology doesn’t get in the way of Face-to-Face meetings. It enables and enhances the face to face meetings. In fact, technology makes many more face to face meetings possible.

One thing I’ve found recently is that so many people are starving for social interaction in a community of peers. Many people blame technology for this and no doubt a generation of couch potatoes doesn’t help. However, even TV, video games, online interactions are all becoming very social experiences. These social interactions lead to offline interactions.

One of the greatest powers of the internet is its ability to bring together peer groups. We see this for every healthcare disease. We see this in the #HITsm and #HCsm communities. My best memories from those communities isn’t the online chats or watching that hashtag. It was the offline meetups that were facilitated by the technology.

Healthcare as much as any other industry can benefit from these connections. Plus, we’re just getting started with connecting people. Indeed, the online interactions won’t replace Face-to-Face interactions, but instead will dramatically enhance our offline connections to people.