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The ARRA EMR Staffing Challenge

Posted on October 26, 2009 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 came across a really interesting take on the challenge of ensuring that there are enough qualified EMR staff. Here’s a portion of the blog post:

What happens to you when you call asking to buy an EMR, and have it implemented by 2010?

-Will you be told that the vendor doesn’t have the resources, and that you’ll have to wait?
-Or will the vendor sell the EMR, and worry about the implementation later?
-And if the latter is the case, what will that vendor do to get you implemented?

Most vendors know they will have to hire new employees to fill the need for this bolus of implementations that they know is coming–and they also know that these employees will be new, green and inexperienced. Perhaps yours might even be their first implementation. Yes, they may have “supervision” from a more experienced implementer in the organization, but the bottom line is that they will de facto have less experience than they might otherwise.

Not a good thing…but it gets worse.

Now ask yourself where will these new EMR implementation experts come from?

Some will be young staff, perhaps fresh from college looking for their first job. Others may be transitioning from other industries (perhaps even with some implementation experience outside of healthcare). Others might be clinicians looking to transition to IT.

But all of these folks lack the healthcare IT expertise that will be critical to a successful EMR implementation.

It would be ideal if a vendor could hire experienced EMR implementation folks, but where would such individuals be found?

Hospitals, physician groups & practices – why, perhaps even your staff!

You should go and read the rest of the blog post for an interesting discussion of how you can retain your qualified EMR and HIT staff despite the high demand for such qualified people.

If you find this subject interesting, you should also go and check out this take on the regional extension centers timeframes to support EMR implementations and also this really interesting take on the EMR training backlog.

Simple EMRs and the EMR Backlog

Posted on August 19, 2009 I Written By

The following is from XLEMR. In this Newsletter, Ryan Ricks argues that simple EMRs have many advantages over complex EMRs. They are simpler to learn and install. This may be important if you are going to get your first year HITECH Bonus (if you don’t get it in 2011, you lose it). In my opinion, it is very important that EMRs like this can be certified so Physicians have choice. As long as you can use them in a “meaningful” way, they should be certified. For my definition of “meaningful” see What is “Meaningful Use”, What EMRs should be “Certified” and Who should do the Certifying from July 27, 2009.

This is an excerpt from Mr. Ricks’ post.

Once preliminary certification begins in October, EHR demand should surge. Although the market is currently slow, many vendors have installation backlogs. Preliminary certification may cause those backlogs to increase. Physicians who are in the “wait and see” mode will need to make a decision quickly. Waiting could result in long delays that may jeopardize the ability to qualify for the first year of reimbursements. One alternative is to purchase a simple system. Simple systems take much less time to install, so backlogs are not a problem. Simple systems are also easier to learn, meaning you do not use as much valuable time for training instead of seeing patients. Finally, simple systems are easy to use, giving you more time to qualify for meaningful use. Be sure to ask any EHR vendor if they have any backlogs, and how long it takes to implement their system. Their answer will tell you if their system is simple.

Has anyone seen this backlog? How long do you have to wait?