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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.

101 Tips to Make Your EMR and EHR More Useful – EHR Tips 31-35

Posted on October 12, 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.

35. CPOE is important, but every EMR will have it.
I think that the CPOE discussion hit a head for me when I saw the CPOE requirements that were baked into meaningful use. Then, I heard someone from the often lauded (appropriately so) IHC in Utah who said that IHC didn’t have CPOE and it would be hard for them to meet that benchmark. Ok, so I’m more of an ambulatory guy than I am hospital, but this surprised me. In the clinics I’ve helped with EHR, CPOE is one of the first things we implemented. No doubt that every EMR has CPOE capabilities.

34. Make sure adverse drug events reporting is comprehensive
Yes, not all drug to drug, drug to allergy, etc databases are created equal. Not to mention some EHR vendors haven’t actually implemented these features (although, MU is changing that). I’d really love for a doctor and an EMR company to go through and rate the various drug database companies. How comprehensive are they? How good can you integrate them into your EHR? etc etc etc.

33. Make certain drug interactions are easy to manage for the physician
I won’t go into all the details of alert fatigue in detail. Let’s just summarize it this way: You must find the balance between when to alert, what to alert, how to alert and how to ignore the alert. Plus, all of the opposites of when not to alert, what not to alert, and how to not ignore the alert.

32. Ensure integration to other products is possible
Is it possible that you could buy an EMR with no integration? Possibly, but I have yet to see it. At a bare minimum clinics are going to want to have integration with lab software and ePrescribing (pharmacies). That doesn’t include many of the other common interfaces such as integration with practice management systems, hospitals, radiology, etc. How well your EMR handles these integration situations can really impact the enjoyment of your EHR.

31. Ensure information sharing is easy
This tip could definitely be argued, but I believe we’re headed down the road of information sharing. It’s going to still take a while to get to the nirvana of information sharing, but we’ve started down the road and there’s no turning back. Kind of reminds me of Splash Mountain at Disneyland where the rabbit has a sign that says there’s no turning back now. My son didn’t like that sign so much and I’m sure many people won’t like that there’s no turning back on data sharing either. However, it’s going to happen.

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.

101 Tips to Make Your EMR and EHR More Useful – EHR Tips 71-75

Posted on August 5, 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 second entry covering Shawn Riley’s list of 101 Tips to Make your EMR and EHR More Useful. I hope you’re enjoying the series.

75. Find out how easy it is to do process improvement
This could be phrased another way. How much with the EMR you’re considering improve your processes and how much will the EMR cause you to change your EMR processes for the worse? I love when EMR vendors like to say that they’re EMR makes it so the clinic doesn’t have to change their processes. It makes me laugh, because just the fact that you have to enter something electronically instead of on paper means you’re changing something. Even if the doctor still writes on paper and scans it in, that means they’ve changed their process since now they have to scan it and view the documents in a scanned format.

The point obviously being that any and every EHR implementation requires change. The question you should consider is how many of the changes will improve your clinic and how many of the changes will cause heartache. I’d guess that every EHR vendor will have quite a few of both types of change.

74. Predictive analytics are a huge benefit
I’ll let Shawn’s words speak for themselves on this one: “Everyone wants to know what volumes are going to like like next year. How many encounters will I have? How many admissions? If the analytics are built straight into the EMR you will have a much easier time trying to estimate the costs and resources necessary for the upcoming years. This improves your ability to do strategic planning, and should lower your costs from 3rd party applications or consultants.”

73. Automatic trending with graphing is a huge help
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s amazing the impact a graph can have on seeing trends. This is true if the graph is about an individual patient or across all your patients. Look for EHR vendors that do a good job capturing the trends you want to watch as a doctor.

72. Evaluate process flows that come directly from the application
This relates to EMR tip #75 above. Many process flows in an EHR are flexible, but other things are hard coded and can’t be changed. Make sure the hard coded EHR processes are ones that you can live with before you sign your EHR contract. If you can’t see any hard coded processes in the EHR you’re evaluating, you probably haven’t looked hard enough or in the right places.

71. Are we integrating or interfacing
This topic is particularly important in the hospital setting where you always have multiple systems running. How well you integrate or interface those systems matters a lot. Plus, every EHR vendor has different abilities to integrate or interface. Be aware of what’s possible and more importantly the limitations of those integrations or interfaces.

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.

EMR Integration with PACS Software

Posted on September 14, 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.

Today I got the announcement from SRSsoft that they have integrated their EMR software with the Medstrat PACS software. As I think about it, I’m a little surprised that I haven’t seen more integrations with PACS software. Is this because most doctors wouldn’t really use this? I know that SRSsoft does a lot of work with orthopedics and related specialties where PACS is essential. I’d love to hear what other things are happening with PACS and EMR integration.

Guest Post: Medical Devices and EMR Integration – A More Convenient Future or Troubles Galore?

Posted on August 5, 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 this post, Susan White looks at the real challenges that we face with integrating medical devices with EMR software. The lack of real industry wide standards is really at the crux of this issue and I don’t see a solution to this in sight. First, we probably need to narrow down the more than 300+ EMR vendors to something more manageable.

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and more convenient, but when said technology makes us adopt roundabout ways to do work and takes up more of our time in the process, it is worse than useless. In such cases, it becomes a white elephant that costs more than it is worth, and it’s better to do without the technology than spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on something that’s not more than a showpiece. This is exactly what’s happening with EMR systems – they’re supposed to make medical history access, updates and management as easy as pie for hospitals and other healthcare facilities; instead, they’re becoming a headache because of integration problems.

In an ideal world (the one that the EMR was designed for), medical devices could be hooked to EMR systems which would automatically record readings for patients and store them in the right records. However, in reality, the machine spews out the values and nurses or technicians record them on paper and then feed them manually into the EMR. If this is the norm rather than the anomaly, why invest in EMRs? Why not just use a regular patient database that can be queried for patient records and updated manually?

The problem is not that the medical devices or the EMR are faulty – rather, it is the fact that there are serious integration issues between the two. Direct capture seems to be something that is destined to remain the stuff of dreams because different manufacturers adhere to varying standards and this means that the integration protocol changes. There is no industry-wide standard for the integration of medical devices and EMR systems and because of this, integration becomes a thorny issue.

The very purpose of using EMRs is to reduce medical errors, decrease the amount of paperwork, boost staff productivity, and deliver clinical results in an accurate and timely manner. When manual data entry is used as opposed to automatic data capture, all the above advantages are nullified, and this means that the healthcare facility has wasted money in the course of the EMR investment.

The trouble here is that connectivity to and integration with medical devices is an afterthought for EMR manufacturers. Besides, with each company following its own standards for connectivity hubs, there is no way that all EMRs can be uniformly hooked up to all medical devices. There are ways to resolve this issue, but it has to be consciously addressed by the healthcare facility that is investing in an EMR. They have to ensure that their devices are connected to the EMR to facilitate automatic data capture, and if they are not, they must work with the EMR provider or the device manufacturer or a third party vendor to provide a suitable connectivity interface.

But with cost being a substantial factor, most healthcare facilities are averse to such extra efforts; this leaves the future of EMR systems in a limbo – how long will people continue to invest in elephants if they know that they are white and so prone to expenditure without proving their worth? Only time will tell!

This article is contributed by Susan White, who regularly writes on the subject of surgical technician schools. She invites your questions, comments at her email address:susan.white33@gmail.com.