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 EHR for FREE!

Apple EHR

Posted on December 11, 2015 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 love how everyone thinks that Apple touching something will somehow make it better. Not only does this forget about the various times Apple has had product fails, but it also assumes that Apple can fix everything. It’s possible that’s what’s broken with EHR is the system and not the people creating the software itself. In fact, that’s what many innovators and startup entrepreneurs see when they look at healthcare and then choose to stay away.

I read a quote from a VC recently that said something similar to this, “When you go into a market you expect it to act in a certain way. Healthcare doesn’t act like a rational market.”

Chew on that concept a little. However, the final part of the above tweet is what really gets under my skin. “Ability to customize every single deployed copy!” People who ask for this don’t really know what they want and it’s also not fair to say that everything on the iPhone, for example, can by customized. Turns out that most people that get an iPhone or iPad do very little customization. The out of the box experience is really quite incredible with very little customization required.

We’ve written about this before back in 2010. Software vendors have to find the right balance between a beautifully simple and effective “out of the box” experience and the long term ability to customize the EHR in any form or fashion they desire.

I’m sure all the hospital CIOs reading this are shaking their heads when I talk about the “out of the box” experience being great. When they look at the millions (sometimes hundreds of millions or even billions) that they’ve spent on EHR consultants to configure and customize their EHR software, they could clearly argue that their hospital EHR has the “ability to customize every single deployed copy.” In fact, it costs them millions of dollars to get it customized. I’ve heard many hospital CIOs wonder why their EHR needs so much configuration. In the ambulatory world you can get much closer to an out of the box experience. Although, even they like to complain about there being too much EHR configuration.

This conversation is actually going to get even more complex. When you look at evidence based medicine and various care guidelines, there’s a movement to try and standardize some of the ways we practice medicine. I’m reminded of when I heard the CMIO of Intermountain say, “If we allow physicians to do whatever they want, we’re allowing them the right to take improper care of patients.” This is going to drive organizations to use a much more standards based workflow as opposed to their own unique customizations.

Finding the balance between infinitely customizable and hard coding proper workflows is an extremely hard problem to solve and will likely never be fully solved. However, it’s the challenge of any software system.

As far as Apple doing an EHR or as one person suggested, Apple buying an EHR vendor…that’s never going to happen. Just look at how simple their approach to Apple Health Kit has been. They’re not going to tackle the true problems of healthcare.

What I do think Dino was trying to say in the tweet above is “I wish I loved my EHR as much as I love my Apple products.” Now that’s a concept I can get behind and would be a great aspiration for every EHR vendor.

Effective EHR Use and Customization with Ron King from Comtron

Posted on December 11, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

In this interview we sit down with Comtron’s VP of Business Development, Ron King to cover a bit of background on Comtron and their Medgen EMR. We also talk about the key to effective EHR use and the need for EHR customization. Then, we also dive into meaningful use and ACOs and how a clinical practice should handle those regulations.

101 Tips to Make Your EMR and EHR More Useful – EHR Tips 56-60

Posted on August 22, 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.

Time for the next entry covering Shawn Riley’s list of 101 Tips to Make your EMR and EHR More Useful. I hope you’re enjoying the series.

If you want to see my analysis of the other 101 EMR and EHR tips, I’ll be updating this page with my 101 EMR and EHR tips analysis. So, click on that link to see the other EMR tips.

60. Reporting, reporting, reporting, reports
What’s the point in collecting the data if you can’t report on it? I’ve before about the types of EMR reports that you can get out of the EMR system. The reports a hospital require will be much more robust than an ambulatory practice. In fact, outside of the basic reports (A/R, Appointments, etc), most ambulatory practices that I know don’t run very many reports. I’d say it’s haphazard report running at best.

Although, I won’t be surprised if the need to report data from your EHR increases over the next couple years. Between the meaningful use reporting requirements and the movement towards ACO’s, you can be sure that being able to have a robust reporting system built into your EHR will become a necessity.

59. Are the meaningful use (MU) guidelines covered by your product?
Assuming you want to show meaningful use, make sure your EHR vendor is certified by an ONC-ATCB. Next, talk to some of their existing users that have attested to meaningful use stage 1. Third, ask them about their approach for handling meaningful use stage 2 and 3. Fourth, evaluate how they’ve implemented some of the meaningful use requirements so you get an idea of how much extra work you’ll have to do beyond your regular documenting to meet meaningful use.

58. It they aren’t CCHIT certified take a really really hard look
Well, it looks like this tip was written pre-ONC-ATCB certifying bodies. Of course, readers of this site and its sister site, EMR and HIPAA, will be aware that CCHIT Has Become Irrelevant. Now it’s worth taking a hard look if the EHR isn’t an ONC-ATCB certified EHR. There are a few cases where it might be ok, but they better have a great reason not to be certified. Not because the EHR certification provides you any more value other than the EHR vendor will likely need that EHR certification to stay relevant in the current EHR market.

57. What billing systems do you interface with?
These days it seems in vogue to have an integrated EMR and PMS (billing system). Either way, it’s really important to evaluate how your EMR is going to integrate with your billing. Plus, there can be tremendous benefits to the tight integration if done right.

56. How much do changes and customizations cost?
In many cases, you can see and plan for the customization that you’ll need as part of the EHR implementation. However, there are also going to be plenty of unexpected customizations that you don’t know about until you’re actually using your EHR (Check out this recent post on Unexpected EHR Expenses). Be sure to have the pricing for such customizations specified in the contract. Plus, as much as possible try to understand how open they are to doing customizations for their customers.

Check out my analysis of all 101 EMR and EHR tips.

Is this EMR Uncoventional?

Posted on November 15, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

In a new series of posts (or maybe this will be the only one…we’ll see), I ask the question, Is this a conventional EMR or not?

This question comes from my post about Unconventional EMR software and the responses I receive. Now it’s up to you to look over the description I got of an EMR software and decide if it’s unconventional or not. I have a feeling the comments on this post are going to be very interesting.

First up is the BennPen EMR software by Bennethum Computer Systems.

BennPen sent me the following major advantages to their EMR software:

There are many Electronic Medical Records programs on the market. Ours is different because:
– BennPen is much simpler and easier to use than other EMR programs. Our goal in developing
BennPen was usability. A major reason why many Doctors are not using EMR is that most EMR
Programs are difficult and time consuming to use.
– BennPen is customized for each Doctor whereas other programs are not. This means BennPen
can be used for any specialty. BennPen is less expensive than other EMR programs initially and
ongoing because we do not charge an annual maintenance fee.
– BennPen has a 60 day free trial. To fill out your templates and letters you can use voice, drop
down lists, or a combination of both. A choice of an item on a drop-down list can automatically
bring up another list of items pertaining to that choice. A Medicare approved RX module is
available.
– E-mailing of patient chart information to other Doctors and/or to patients. Insurance
verification can be done thru BennPen. BennPen has a recall system.
– The BennPen data-base is stored on the server in your office. You have more control over your
data compared to a web-based program. There is no worry about the internet communication
going down. You do not need to purchase a separate server for EMR.

I then sent them this response to really have them try and make a case for their EMR being unconventional and to be able to get information on whether it’s unconventional or not:

I think that a few of your major advantages could be differentiators, but it seems like some of the things need more proof. Otherwise, it just sounds like marketing hype.

For example, it’s one thing to say that your EMR is “much simpler and easier to use than other EMR programs.” The question is, how can I know that this is the case? Do you have some examples that illustrate how it’s much easier and simpler? Do you have some doctors who have been on other EMR software that can support the claim?

Creating a customized EMR for a doctor is another example. If all you do is add in 5 or so customized template, that’s not really a differentiator. Now, if your EMR is modeled so that every step in the process is customized for the doctor to meet their practice needs and you have a couple examples of 2 doctors with drastically different work flows. Then, we’re talking.

Do you see what I’m trying to say? Maybe you really do have an unconventional EMR, but you really need to make the case for me (and my readers) to believe. I’d love to see the case made.

I then got the following response to my comments.

Thank you for reviewing our information. I’ll try to respond to your questions.

EASE OF USE: The fewer the screens the easier a program is to use. There are 8 descreet screens in BennPen but a Doctor would only need 5 screens to do his/her charting. I would think that a Doctor would have his staff do things like set up recalls, check eligability, etc. I have seen Doctors use other EMR’s and there appears to be a lot more screens used. Our screen have been designed to be uncrowded and easy to use. The EMRs I’ve seen have crowed screens.It takes me only 15 or 20 minutes to completly demonstrate BennPen. My guess is that other EMR demos would run alot longer than that.

CUSTOMIZATION: We put into our program the templates, forms, letters that the Doctor currently uses now. He or she then does electronic charting with the same forms they are used to using with voice and drop-downs. Among other things this means we can offer our program for any specialty.

Our program is much less costly than many others – $3,000 and no annual fees. If you would be interested I’d be happy to send you a demo of BennPen. If you’d like to speak with me our number is 800-982-2623.

So, I ask you…

Is This EMR Unconventional?

UPDATE: In the comments and online I was asked to get some screenshots of this EMR for people to evaluate. I got the following message and screenshots for people to see. Just click on the image to see a larger version.
There are 6 of these, one more than I previously said. I decided to include the screen for sending patient chart notes to another provider because the Doctor can send only selected notes that he/she desires rather than all medical history and that would be the Doctor’s decision rather than a staff member. There are other screens for printing reports, checking eligibility, setting recall appointments, etc. which functions I believe the staff would do.