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EMR Adoption Trends

Posted on December 7, 2010 I Written By

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

The always interesting and passionate Al Borges, MD posted a comment in response to my post from over a year ago about EMR tire kickers and EMR Adoption:

>>> “I think we’re going to see a tremendous increase in EMR purchases at that point in time.”

Why did you believe this back then, John?

Doctors aren’t stupid- most won’t throw themselves at MU’s $44,000.00 only to be left straddled with a loss from year 1 due to the estimated costs of owning an EHR and doing MU for eternity of $40-60,000.00 per year.

Time has shown that the HIT industry has stagnated, with few doctors now buying into the politically driven HITECH Act. I can’t wait until the next CDC biyearly report…

Here’s my response to Al’s comment:

Al,
I still think that statement’s true. There’s going to be a spike in those that purchase EMR software to get the EMR stimulus money. Many were already considering buying it before the stimulus and now a good number of doctors will buy an EMR now that we have the details and timelines for the EMR stimulus.

After this jump in sales, it’s then going to be interesting to watch. The future sales of EMR software are going to be highly dependent on the experience of these initial EMR implementations. If they’re successful and doctors like their EMR and get the EMR stimulus money, then we’ll see more EMR adoption. If they don’t like it or have trouble getting the EMR stimulus money or experience many of the headaches of EMR adoption that we’ve seen before, then I believe it will actually set EMR adoption back long term.

I know which way you lean on that scale. I still think the jury is out, but I am concerned that the later scenario is a distinct possibility.

If the later scenario of an EMR adoption setback occurs, I’m not sure we’ll come out of it until the next generation of “digital natives” finish medical school and achieve prominent enough status in a clinic to push EMR adoption again.

I did misjudge the time it would take to really get the details of the EMR stimulus in place. I thought by February or March of 2010 we’d have known more than we did. Turns out the legislative details took much longer than I expected, but I think we’ll see the EMR adoption spike now that the details are finally in. At least that’s the view I see as far as action and interest in selecting and implementing an EMR.

What do you guys think? How is EMR adoption going and what EMR adoption trends do you see happening in the future?

EMR Mythology

Posted on September 13, 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.

One of the better EMR bloggers out there, Margalit Gur-Arie, recently posted what she calls “EHR Mythology 101” on The Health Care blog. Below I’ve copied her major topics and a few comments of my own about each topic. You can read her post for her comments.

The current EHRs on the market are outdated legacy systems
I’ve heard this comment a few times recently. Although, it’s mostly from industry insiders and not doctors. I don’t think doctors really know the difference or know the differentiation. Not because they couldn’t know, but they’ve just not generally invested the time to know the difference. It’s no wonder they come looking for any help they can find to narrow down the 300+ EHR vendors (I heard two people saying 600 this weekend) on the market.

Either way, there’s a reason they’re called legacy systems and the concept of doing agile development on a legacy system is universally bad (not just in Healthcare).

EHR prices are small fortunes
I’m still in disbelief that physicians are still paying small fortunes for an EMR. It’s just CRAZY!! There are so many other options out there.

EHR implementations fail because the software is unusable

Margalitit offered this comment, “[EHR Implementation Failure] has been linked however to lack of change management, poor choice of product, wrong expectations, insufficient training, lack of commitment and all sorts of peripheral lack of preparedness.”

A study to why the implementations fail would be a good one. I agree that unusable software is unlikely to be the real cause for most failures.

CCHIT certification doesn’t mean anything
CCHIT certification doesn’t mean anything. ARRA (HHS) certification does mean something. It just so happens that CCHIT will be providing the ARRA EHR certification. So, CCHIT matters because they certify EHR software for the government same as Drummond Group and likely a number of other certifiers will do. Either way, it doesn’t mean anything for doctors. I have yet to see any study that shows that EHR certification of any type helps doctors in any way. There’s a reason the VP of marketing was on the EHR certification call and not the clinical director. It’s a marketing tool and not a tool for doctors.

EHRs should be like Facebook
True. Facebook is more like a PHR than an EHR. Facebook is definitely different than an EHR, but I think there’s still many things that EHR vendors could learn from what Facebook’s been able to create.

EHRs should be about Clinical care not Billing
Should is the operative word. There’s a lot of things that should happen and then there’s the reality. EMR Billing is here to stay and will forever be a major part of an EMR. However, I think it is worthwhile to consider what an EMR might be like if it was about clinical care and not billing.

Big monolithic EHR products are bad

I heard some interesting discussion about this topic this weekend. I’ll be writing about it more in the future on EMR and HIPAA. At the end of the day, the idea of having one neck to ring when something goes wrong is a big deal. It’s been a big deal outside and inside healthcare and it will win the day in this case too.

Now I’m not an advocate of what I call Jabba the Hutt EMR vendors either. However, you can be a monolithic EHR vendor and not be like Jabba (big, slow to move, dominating, powerful, but have a hard time changing).

Physicians should wait until the perfect EHR is ready

I don’t fault physicians for waiting to know about meaningful use and certified EHR before implementing. However, those physicians who say they’re waiting for the perfect EHR really just don’t want to implement an EHR. There’s no such thing as a perfect EHR. The only perfect thing I know on this earth is my wife.