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EHR Selection Services

Posted on June 12, 2012 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.

Those of you who’ve read my Free e-Book on EMR selection know that one of the things I suggest you do is to narrow down your list of EHR vendors to a small group of ~5 EHR vendors to start your EHR selection process. The book has the full rationale, but the challenge is that with 600 EHR companies out there you can’t review them all.

Of course the next question I’m asked is how you narrow down the companies to start your EHR selection review process. One thing that’s really developed over the 6 years I’ve been blogging is the EHR selection services. They’re still all far from perfect, but I suggest you take a look at a couple of them to start getting a list of EMR companies that you might want to consider. Then, take those lists and ask around to your colleagues. I call this approach triangulating the EHR data points to get you down to a smaller group of EHR companies.

One challenge is that there are a lot of EHR selection website out there. Here are just a few for you to consider. If you’re just looking for a really simple way to get access to price quotes and demos of EHR software, then go check out Software Advice or EHR Scope.

If you want a deeper, more custom EMR / EHR matching system then you’ll want to take a look at EMR Consultant, EHR Selector, and Hielix Apps. All 3 of these websites have made significant investments to try and help doctors match their needs with the EHR software.

I’ll admit that I’m probably a little bias towards EMR consultant since they’ve been around ever since I first started blogging about EMR. Plus, I love that it’s free. Although, a little birdie told me that EHR selector is considering a Free EHR selection option as well. There’s something I really love about the free EHR selection model. Basically, physicians that use it to help with their EHR selection have very little to lose.

Hielix on the other hand costs a few hundred dollars to use. They did send me a promo code for those that want $25 off their service. Just enter: “EMRANDEHR” Hielix is definitely taking a much more hands on approach to the EHR selection process so it makes some sense that they’d charge for the service. In one email exchange with them they talked about their CEO meeting with one of their customers to discuss their report. I’m sure many doctors will like this type of high touch service.

Always trying to get some good info for my readers, I got permission to publish a PDF file of a sample report that Hielix produces. I think the really good stuff in this report starts about page 7.

As I said previously, none of the EHR selection services are perfect. Although, I think using a couple of them isn’t a bad idea to start narrowing down the long list of EHR companies. I see it as an extra data point that can be used to narrow your list. Unfortunately, none of these services make it so you don’t have to do a thorough evaluation of multiple EHR vendor before you buy. I’d love it if someone figured out how to solve that problem. Until then, an EHR selection service isn’t a bad place to start.

Emdeon’s EHR Lite

Posted on January 6, 2012 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’d been meaning to do a post about Emdeon‘s EHR lite (that’s their term for their EHR) since I first heard about it at MGMA. While I think that EHR Lite might be some good branding, I’m not sure you can really classify Emdeon’s EHR as lite. I’m sure they’re just trying to differentiate themselves from the 300+ EHR companies out there. The idea of a lite EHR is great since it gives the impression that the EHR is easy to use and implement. Not a bad strategy at all.

As most of you know by now, instead of doing full reviews of EHR software I like to try and dig into the EHR software to try and find points of differentiation. When I talked to the people at Emdeon about their EHR lite, I wanted to do the same.

I think I found the thing that most differentiates Emdeon from many other EMR companies. it’s their network. Here’s a summary they sent me of their network:

Emdeon’s network encompasses:
340,000 providers
1,200 government and commercial payers
5,000 hospitals
81,000 dentists
60,000 pharmacies
600 vendor partners

I think if you asked most people what Emdeon the company did, you’d say claims processing. The title of their website for search engine rankings (at least that’s usually the intent) is Revenue Cycle Management. However, I won’t be surprise if they reinvent themselves a little bit and become a connection company.

I strongly believe that healthcare will be a very heterogeneous environment. Some might argue that 3-4 EHR vendors will dominate the market (which I don’t believe), but even if this is the case EHR software is still going to have to connect with hospitals, pharmacies, labs, payers, government entities etc. An EHR is going to be key to integrating with these other heterogeneous software as I do believe the EHR will be the “Operating System of Healthcare.”

Today a silo’d version of an EHR is not an issue at all. However, the writing on the tea leaves that I read is that healthcare providers that have a well connected EHR are going to be at an advantage. We’ll see if Emdeon can use their current connections as an advantage in this way.

The Must Have EMR Feature – An iPad Interface

Posted on November 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.

I’ve written many times about the amazing phenomenon that we call the iPad and particularly how EMR vendors are reacting to the widespread adoption of iPads in healthcare. As I’ve written these dozens of articles, talked to hundreds of doctors, and far too many EHR vendors it’s become clear to me that an iPad interface is basically a Must Have feature for an EMR.

No, I’m not talking about some remote desktop type connection from the iPad to an EMR. Yes, every EMR is available on the iPad using a remote desktop type application. While that’s neat that it can do that, EMR vendors whose whole iPad strategy revolves around remotely accessing your PC which can run their EMR software are missing out on the real benefits of the iPad. The love affair that so many people have with their iPad is much more than just remote connectivity and a small touchscreen device. If that was all that mattered, tablets would have gone mainstream in healthcare long ago.

If an EMR vendor wants to leverage what’s made the iPad so popular, they need to create a native iPad app that can interact with their EHR software.

I’m not talking about replicating your entire EHR software on the iPad. That would be a mistake as well. Does your biller really need to do the billing on the iPad? Do you really want to do all your documentation on the iPad? Probably not, but with some thoughtful discussions with your existing EHR users, I think vendors will find some real value in leveraging the iPad technology connected to their EHR software.

I can imagine EHR vendors that create beautifully done iPad EMR apps will do very well in the market. Why? Because the doctors that love their iPad EMR app will start showing it off to their doctor friends.

My biggest fear with this commentary is that far too many EHR vendors are busy coding for meaningful use and EHR certification that they’re not looking for smart ways to leverage technologies like the iPad. Time will tell how this plays out, but I’ll be surprised if the iPad doesn’t play a part.

Could the iPad app of an EMR vendor become a real differentiator between the 300+ EHR vendors out there today? I’ve long believed that the biggest problem with EHR software today was their interface. The iPad is all about a new interface.

Top EMR Vendors – Solo Physician Practice – Black Book Rankings

Posted on August 19, 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.

I’m always interested in ways to try and differentiate the various EMR and EHR vendors. I’m completely sympathetic with doctors who are sorting through the 300+ EMR Companies in the marketplace. Most doctors I know, don’t want to become software selection experts or at least don’t want to spend their free time doing it.

However, it’s amazing the various services out there that try and capitalize on this need that doctors have to narrow down the field of EHR vendors. I think that’s basically what the Black Book EMR Rankings (listed on Amazon even) are basically doing with their EHR rankings. Yes, I know Black Book’s been around for a while, but I just saw it again and had to post.

They try and say that they sent the survey out to 70,000 “physician leaders and non-clinical administrators of publicly traded hospital corporations, private hospitals, academic medical institutions, multispecialty medical group practices, small and multiple physician practices, hospitalist groups, emergency departments, institutional members and officers of various healthcare/medical and IT professional organizations, subscribers of our media partners and previously validated survey participants.”

The problem is that they only received “4502 validated respondents ranked 174 EMR suppliers.”[emphasis mine] I’m not a statistics guru, but I wouldn’t be putting my EMR selection on an average of 25 responses per EMR. Plus, for many EMR it was likely much lower than 25. Not to mention, they only had responses from 174 companies. What about the other 126+ EHR vendors that had 0 responses?

Plus, the Black Book breaks it down even further by size of practice. They have 6 categories in just the ambulatory side. That’s an average of just over 4 responses per EHR vendor per category size. Although, it’s less since they have a bunch of acute care categories as well.

When you look at the list, I see a lot of the major EHR companies and a bunch of companies I’ve never heard of before. Not to mention there are a lot of big time EHR players from companies that Black Book probably has never heard about that aren’t on the list.

Unfortunately, there’s no real quality source to differentiate the various EHR companies. If there was I’d shout it from the rooftops (or at least my blog). Until then, the only solution is the work of reviewing your needs and evaluating the various EHR software yourself.

Since I’m sure many will wonder what EHR vendors made the Black Book list, here’s the list of Top Ambulatory EHR companies by practice size after the break: Read more..

Job Growth in Healthcare and the EHR Bubble

Posted on August 11, 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.

It’s a crazy world that we’re living in today. The market is on a roller coaster. The riots in London. A lot of other crazy things happening. Not the least of which is the high unemployment in the US. Despite the challenging times, I’m not seeing as many of the same challenges in healthcare IT.

This was higlighted in some recent tweets I saw that talked about the job growth that’s happened in healthcare. That’s right, healthcare has actually had job growth. It’s quite amazing to consider, no?

Healthcare IT is especially interesting thanks to the $36 billion in EHR stimulus money. It’s a frother EMR and EHR market out there and I expect the froth is going to continue for another couple years. Is it fair to say that we’re in an EMR and healthcare IT bubble? I think so.

The question I’m starting to consider is what’s going to happen when the bubble pops? I’m not sure that we’re going to see one big pop in the EMR market. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think that we’re going to see a long protracted fall out of EMR and EHR companies. I guess this type of slow failing EMR companies is better than a major pop, but it still doesn’t sound good.

Well, at least it doesn’t sound good for those clinics who are using the EMR software from the EMR companies that fail. However, it’s going to present some interesting opportunities for EMR companies that can clean up the mess that’s left. Of course, most of us won’t know the details of the mess. We’ll just see flowery announcements about EMR companies selling off to larger EHR companies. However, those acquisitions will be a great customer acquisition buy for the EHR companies who have the cash and can transition users effectively to their EHR software.

How far off is this? I’d say at least 2 years. So, the next 2 years are going to be an interesting time for EHR vendors that are trying to position themselves for these types of acquisitions.

Medical Care and Primary Care without Insurance Allows Technology to Flourish

Posted on June 30, 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.

I’ve previously posted that I believe the real EMR innovation will likely have to come together with healthcare innovation. The basic premise being that our current insurance reimbursement system is a weight on the backs of EMR software. The insurance requirements cause much of the unwieldy interfaces that are put out by EMR software and insurance requirements and limitations are a huge limiter on the technology innovation that could occur in healthcare.

Imagine how much more streamlined the EMR interface could be if EMR companies worried about patient care and not reimbursement. Imagine the new technologies that would be implemented if you weren’t so worried about the office visit reimbursement model we have today.

This premise is why I was so intrigued by this post on the popular Tech Startup blog, Techcrunch, called “The Most Important Organization in Silicon Valley That No One Has Heard About.” In the article, Dr. Samir Qamar has been putting together a different model for healthcare. “For only $49 per month and $10 per visit, MedLion is able to provide high quality medicine at a price point nearly any family can afford.”

How is he able to do this? Here’s a quote for part of how he’s able to accomplish it:

Part of MedLion’s value proposition has been availability to its patient base. Like many direct primary care practices, they find more than half of their patient interaction is via electronic means, as they aren’t forced by reimbursement rules to have a patient come to their office for something that could be done simply over phone or email. We want to be available for our patients whether they are in the Bay Area, Bali or Boise.”

I’m not sure if Dr. Qamar has found all the healthcare Innovation secret sauce, but I’m grateful for pioneering entrepreneurs like Dr. Qamar that are willing to try something different. Plus, there’s no better place for the application of technology than in these new models for healthcare. It’s exciting to consider what technology could really do when it’s not shackled by the 100 pound gorilla.

EMR Needs Differ By Specialty – KLAS Doesn’t Differentiate Them

Posted on May 17, 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.

John’s Note: I got the following message from an EMR vendor a while back. I’ve removed the specific names of the EMR vendors to protect the innocent (and guilty in some cases). Plus, the names of the specific companies are tangential to the issue of ratings services like KLAS.

Many of you know that I’m generally opposed to EHR certification and ratings services are a close second. I don’t think these companies are evil, but I just think they provide very little value to the industry and doctors in particular. The comments below were intended for me and not necessarily as a blog post, but I think they’re worth sharing and considering. Hopefully it will help doctors better understand what they’re getting and not getting.

I’m sure this post will drive some interesting discussion in the comments.

I have been talking with [someone] at KLAS since HIMSS about WHY the KLAS data is either 1) Losing Relevance, or 2) Actually Misleading Providers.

[KLAS representative] told me in April that the average annual “accesses” to the KLAS data was about 17,000, while in 2010, they had over 14,000 through mid-April. Big trend change. ONC-driven, no doubt.

I had a discussion with [KLAS representative] at HIMSS and since, outlining how the KLAS data can and probably IS misleading clients. How? For instance….[EMR Vendor A] gets high marks…almost as high as [EMR Vendor B]
.
They have two “konfidence” checks on their data for the 6-25 provider practice size category (KLAS has 1-5, 6-25, and 25+, I believe as their categories, and vendors must submit their reference accounts in those partitions).

If you are a provider who sees high marks for [EMR Vendor A] in the 6-25 provider space…with all the good supporting comments…..well above the other vendors….you would probably rely on that data to decide they have to be on your short list. But everyone knows that [EMR Vendor A] serves mostly primary care and ob/gyn practices. They have adapted templates and have references for those accounts. What if you are an orthopedist or ophthalmologist…or other specialist. They have almost NO references for that. The KLAS data does not break it out. You may be badly mislead….and find out shortly after spending tens of thousands of dollars…that it wont work at all for you.

We have asked them to break out the data by specialty… they know who they are talking to. They know what each practice is. Not hard to add the question…so the data can be sliced that way. Tremendous value-add for ALL practices to know how the vendors break out. Guess what they are going to find out when they do that? And by the way…they ONLY gather data from accounts that have been installed and live for a certain period of time….no data on failed attempts or those that gave up using products.

KLAS agreed in principle it was a good idea to add specialty to their data. They even agreed to start doing it with the last reporting cycle, but didn’t have much time. All the data they have….not normalized by specialty.

LIKE THE GOVERNMENT, THEY ARE ASSUMING ALL SPECIALTIES CAN BE TREATED THE SAME AS FAR AS EMR ADOPTION GOES. Why do they think there is a 50-83% failure rate in the industry? Why has “meaningful use” not been defined for specialties before “certification” of a product can be decided? Does an orthopedist who does hip replacements, rotator cuff surgery and meniscus revisions…..report the same thing as doctors who treat diabetes, liver disease or other costly chronic-care conditions? Heck No.

I don’t think the market fully realizes how “homogenized” the KLAS data is….after all, if the average depth of the Mississippi River is only three feet…..why are there so many different size boats—-barges to sailboats—sailing in it each day?

Succeed at EMR – A Vendor Perspective

Posted on April 19, 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.

Rob Tholemeier from Crosstree Capital Partners had an interesting article a while back on the Health Data Management blogs about ways that EMR vendors succeed. He provides 5 approaches that these EMR companies take to the EMR and EHR market. Here’s the 5 methods he identifies with a few of my thoughts after each:
Leveraging Size – I call these the Jabba the Hutt EHR vendors. They’re really big and powerful and no doubt will continue to sell a bunch of software since they have “leading vendor” name recognition. Rob correctly notes that they’ll continue to grow through mergers and acquisitions.

Specialization – I find this segment of the market really interesting. I’ve been seeing more and more of these specialty specific EHR vendors carving out their niche in the market. I still think the best play for a “leading EHR vendor” is likely to acquire a number of specialty specific EHR.

Regional Focus – Many people to want to “buy local.” There’s something really powerful about knowing your EHR vendor’s office is down the street and you can go and wring their neck personally if something goes wrong. < sarcasm >Not that anything would ever go wrong with an EMR. < end sarcasm font>

Suite Selling – I found this one interesting. Although, I think that it’s more of a factor for hospital EMR selection. I guess you could make the case that practices purchasing their EHR based on the hospital system purchase might fall into this category as well. Basically, the practice adopts a certain EHR because their hospital is subsidizing it or has a nicely built connection to that specific EHR company.

Advanced Technology – I’ve seen a few companies that have made this pitch. I still find this a challenge for an EMR company to make this pitch and be heard above all the EMR noise. However, I think if anyone is going to do it, I think it will likely come in the user interface.

An interesting way to stratify the various EMR companies. Are there any other categories of approaches that he missed?

EHR Comparison Chart

Posted on March 31, 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.

A little while back I came across this EHR comparison chart on the Amazing Charts website. I was really intrigued. The first thing to note about the chart is that this is a page that’s designed to “sell” the Amazing Charts product. It’s actually a really smart move by Amazing Charts to use these comparisons as a way to increase their profile and compare them against many of the large EHR companies out there.

My biggest problem with an EHR comparison chart like this is that Amazing Charts conveniently decided to list themselves against a whole list of the HUGE and generally legacy EHR software companies. I don’t see the comparison chart including any of the Free EHR vendors. There are no EHR software companies that have come out in the past couple years on that list. There aren’t any of the more nimble EHR software companies that have done similar to Amazing Charts and focused on building an EHR company using revenue instead of outside funding.

Point being that an EHR comparison chart should include more of the 300+ EHR vendors that are out in the market today. If you only compare yourself to the largest and most expensive EHR software, then of course you look a lot cheaper. Plus, it seems they also focused on the most expensive EHR software from the companies that offer multiple EHR software as well.

The other challenge that they note in a footnote is that getting good pricing and EHR market share data is really hard. Most providers don’t publish it and as Dr. K mentions in this well written Future of Meaningful Use piece, “The sum of the number of installed users claimed by each of the top EMR vendors exceeds the number of practicing physicians in the U.S.”

Then, that EHR comparison chart also focuses a bit too much on the various EHR ratings services. I won’t dive into my feelings about the EHR ratings services that exist out there. Let’s just say that I wouldn’t base my EMR selection on any of those ratings services.

Investing in EMR Companies

Posted on February 28, 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.

I was asked a really interesting question recently:
“If you could invest in an EMR company, which EMR company would you choose to invest in?”

I find this question really interesting, because I’ve seen the detailed financials of an EMR vendor before. The business model of an EMR company is very clear and proven in many other industries.

Yet, the question about which EMR companies you’d invest in is a very different question. Certainly, there are a lot of variables when investing, but I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts about this question. Feel free to leave it in the comments or if you prefer to do it in private you can submit it on the EMR and EHR contact us page.