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EHR Blogger Attrition

Posted on May 12, 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.

Someone at HIMSS asked me who the up and coming healthcare IT bloggers were in the industry. It was an interesting question. It’s not really sexy to start an EHR blog right now. The golden age of EHR blogging is over and I’m interested to know where EHR and healthcare IT blogging is going to go in the future. The good part is that the use of technology to improve healthcare is never going to go away. It may not be called EHR, but we’ll always be working with the latest technology that can make healthcare better.

As I look through the list of health IT and EHR bloggers on HITsphere, It’s really interesting to see how many bloggers have stopped blogging in the 8.5 years since I started.

Even more than dedicated health IT and EHR bloggers, we’ve seen a lot of company bloggers basically stop as well. For example, I miss seeing Evan Steele’s weekly posts on the EMR Straight Talk blog. Of course, he’s now moved on from the day to day of SRSsoft. I guess that’s a natural part of the cycle, but it’s too bad a company doesn’t continue on with the blog. (UPDATE: After Evan Steele posted a transition post and the people at SRSsoft have taken up and continued with regular blog posts from the new CEO and also many of their staff. I love when there’s a culture of blogging at a company. Nice work SRSsoft) Not that keeping a blog with fresh content is easy. It’s not.

There are still quite a few bloggers that started blogging about the same time as me and are still doing their thing. A few that come to mind include: Neil Versel, HIStalk, Healthcare IT Guy, Lab Soft News, and Christina’s Considerations.

That’s not to say that there aren’t still some great health IT blogs out there. There are still quite a few good ones, but not many new ones. Knowing that I’ll anger some people I don’t list (feel free to mention your blog in the comments and I’ll see about doing a future post with ones not listed here) here are a few of the ones I think do great work: Manage My Practice, Health System CIO, Chilmark Research, and HITECH Answers.

I just remembered this CDW list of Top 50 health IT blogs. It has some other good ones as well. Although, I might be bias since 8 of the 50 are part of Healthcare Scene. I’d love to hear what other blogs you read or places you go for great content.

Meaningful Use Dropout Rate At 17 Percent

Posted on July 2, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

In theory, once a provider achieves Meaningful Use and picks up their first check, one might think that they’re on board and ready to power through the program. Well, think again.

According to a piece published in HIT Consultant, 17 percent of providers who got an $18,000 EMR check in 2011 didn’t get the second $12,000 incentive payout in 2012.  The stats come from a recently published analysis of the federal April EMR attestation data crunched by Wells Fargo.

What that means, in real terms, is that 17 percent of providers were able to demonstrate MU for the 90 days required in 2011 but couldn’t keep things up for the full year required for to get the second check, notes Evan Steele, CEO of EMR firm SRSsoft, who authored the article.

You’d think that providers could have demonstrated a year’s compliance, given that after 90 days they already had the needed workflows in place to support those requirements, but for nearly 20 percent of providers, it seems that simply wasn’t the case, Steele says. And this is very bad news, he suggests:

A 17% loss rate in any business is wholly unacceptable, and this failure does not portend well for the future of the EHR Incentive Program. If $12,000 proved to be insufficient motivation for physicians with meaningful use experience to meet the relatively low requirements of Stage 1 on an ongoing basis, it would be foolish to expect physicians to muster the wherewithal to meet the increasingly demanding requirements of Stage 2. The incentive for a year’s performance at that point will be a mere $4,000.

Thinking that perhaps the 17 percent dropoff trend will correct itself as time passes?  Probably not. As Steele points out, another survey recently found that 14 percent of physicians who attested to Stage 1 already say that they don’t intent to attest to Stage 2.

As Steele sees it, this is evidence that we need to simplify Meaningful Use rather than making it increasingly complex, while focusing on interoperability across the entire healthcare system.  In his view, if we don’t “the entire program will go down the drain.”

I don’t know if these numbers are evidence that Meaningful Use is on the skids, but a 17 percent dropoff is certainly troubling. Clearly something must be done to reach out to providers who’ve climbed off the train.

More On EHR Usability: Let Doctors Decide

Posted on July 3, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Here’s worthwhile some observations on how to drive improvements in EHR usability from Evan Steele, CEO of EMR, practice management and PACS systems vendor SRSSoft.  (Just for clarity, SRSSoft serves medical practices.)

While Mr. Steele’s comments may not be wildly original, I always like to see discussions of tricky issues like usability boiled down to a few key points, and he’s done a good job here. His arguments, with my commentary:

* Feedback from physicians and other providers should drive EMR usability improvements.

Of course — shouldn’t the software clinicians work every day with to improve health and save lives be adapted to fit the needs of those clinicians? You can’t offer complete freedom when you’re collecting structured data, but clinicians should be able to bend and stretch things as much as possible.

That of course, begs the question of what’s driving usability models right now, doesn’t it?  Certainly, EMR vendors care what clinicians think, but my guess is that the development roadmap has to come first far too often.

Here, let’s pretend I’ve inserted a lengthy rant as to how enterprise software companies in general just don’t connect well with their customers  — something that became painfully obvious to me when I worked for one several years ago. Suffice it to say that I doubt clinicians are as involved in vendors’ UI dev, much less feature set specs, as often as they should be.

* Usability measures should embrace not only primary care, but also specialists.

Again, this seems fairly obvious to me, but seemingly, not to federal officials, who, according to Steele, treated specialty needs as an “afterthought” when creating Meaningful Use standards.

In my opinion, it’s become fairly clear that specialty-facing systems are important, and that regulators should address such systems on their own terms. I’ve seen no sign that they’ve developed plans to do so as of yet, though. (Anyone know more than I do on this?)

* Usability shouldn’t be legislated.

For at least a couple of years, there’s been talk of the FDA’s stepping in and imposing usability rules on EMRs; observers say the rules would be akin to those they already do on medical devices and supporting software. (See more on this issue from medical device connectivity expert Tim Gee here.)

Steele, for his part, thinks such regulations would cause problems. Imposing governmental standards on EHR interface “will inevitably accommodate only a narrow range of users, leaving those with varying preferences and workflows without software to satisfy their usability requirements,” he argues.

I’d like to see Steele get his way on the first two suggestions. If EMR interfaces are driven by clinicians and take specialists into account, it’s far less likely that the government will feel obliged to impose itself upon the marketplace.

But if the industry doesn’t do a better job of partnering with clinicians, expect to see the FDA or other agencies step in.  Regulators may decide that if the industry can’t produce usable EMRs on its own, predictable, rulebound ones will do.

Mass Senate Seat and EMR Reform

Posted on January 28, 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.

SRSsoft, an EMR vendor, put out an interesting press release putting the lost democratic senate seat in Massachusetts with healthcare reform and EHR adoption. Here’s a quote from the press release:

“The question is not whether we need healthcare reform,” says Evan Steele, CEO, SRSsoft. “Rather, the voters voiced their concern that reform must benefit consumers and physicians, not just government, insurance companies, and vendors. This election must open the government to input from all stakeholders, and that is a good sign for the constituents of SRS—the physicians—who feel that their voice is not being heard on healthcare reform and on EHR adoption.”

Honestly, I don’t see the change in the Senate seat affecting EMR adoption at all. However, I think it will have a big impact on healthcare reform. I’ve said before that the healthcare reform has opened our eyes to the government processes in ways we’d never seen before. I think that the HITECH act has done much of the same for those of us interested in EMR legislation and rule making.

EHR Letter Sent to Aneesh Chopra CTO of Obama Administration

Posted on December 8, 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 was really intrigued by this letter sent from SRSsoft CEO, Evan Steele, to the CTO of the Obama Administration about the current administration’s EHR direction. Here’s a small excerpt from the letter posted on Health Data Management:

“I am writing to you directly, rather than posting on the FACA blog, because I am deeply concerned that the path the government is taking will inevitably lead to failure. You asked physicians for input and they answered loudly and clearly–traditional EHR technology does not work for them. Their comments are difficult to ignore.

“The government is endorsing the exact technology that has a 50% failure rate. As stated in the blog comments, physicians simply find these EHRs unusable. Of the 60 blog comments on real-world implementation experiences, 57 reported EHR failures and shortcomings–writers documented painful and costly EHR de-installations, or explained the reasons why they would not even try to implement “traditional” EHRs. There is no reason to expect outcomes to be different in the future–vendors have made no significant changes to these products to mitigate the formidable obstacles preventing their adoption. The problems cited are daunting:

* “Physicians will not purchase productivity-decreasing software–particularly now, as they face increasing demand and diminishing reimbursements. They reported productivity losses as high as 40%, and the impact did not diminish over time.

The sad part is that Evan’s letter is likely to fall on deaf ears. First, because Aneesh Chopra probably doesn’t care much about EMR software. Second, a letter from an EMR vendor who wants the rules changed to get better access to the $36.3 billion in EMR stimulus money for his customers is likely to be seen as a political move. Even if Evan is correct with what he’s saying, that doesn’t mean that Aneesh will realize it. Third, is it too late? The HITECH legislation is past. Can HHS really make that much of a difference at this point? Sadly, I don’t think Evan we’ll feel any better 2 years from now when he says, “I told you so.”