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Are Healthcare Orgs Dumping Today’s Interoperability Tech?

Posted on December 8, 2016 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.

Recently, I took a survey on interoperability issues sponsored by a health IT organization. And one of their questions seemed so interesting — to me at least — that I thought I’d share it with you.

As part of the survey, the HIT group asked how healthcare organizations planned to split their future investments in interoperability, on a scale ranging from 20% technology/80% services to 100% technology. (In the “services” category, they were looking for investments which would transform core technologies to achieve higher value interoperability goals, such as improved clinical workflow integration or significant practice outcomes.)

As I see it, this was not only a good but a provocative question as well. On the surface, I admit, it sounds like a routine query, which attempts to get a feel for what resources healthcare groups may already have invested in interoperability and how they plan to support those investments. Looked at that way, it was a fairly routine inquiry as such surveys go.

But I believe that there’s another way to look at this question, and I bet the authors did too. To my mind, the question is really evaluating whether respondents think current interoperability technology will ever meet their needs, and how far along they are in making that decision. In other words, answering this question says a lot about the strategy and vision for the future, not just how you plan to keep the infrastructure running.

How does this work? To choose one obvious example, organizations that expect to spend 100% of their future interoperability budget on new technology obviously aren’t fans of the technologies available today. That suggests, to me, that they’ve also lost patience to a greater or lesser degree with other current interoperability approaches like FHIR or the use of HIE technology. They probably doubt their current EHR vendor will ever play ball either.

Meanwhile, organizations that expect to spend 80% of the future interoperability budget on related services may be making the opposite statement. Either they are satisfied that the technology they’ve got is at least performing adequately, can be enhanced to perform adequately or can be repurposed if the right services are put in place. The difference between the two may be as simple as whether they’re in a strong partnership with the right vendor, or a difference in philosophy, but either way this group is hunkered down.

As for those in the middle, who expect to vote 40% to 80% of their budget to new technology, it’s harder to read where they’re headed. But assuming the health IT organization repeats the survey in future years, it will be interesting to how the organizations in the middle progress. My guess is that over the next few years, surveys like these will tell us pretty definitively whether current approaches to interoperability can survive.

101 Tips to Make Your EMR and EHR More Useful – EHR Tips 1-5

Posted on January 24, 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.

Time for the next entry covering Shawn Riley’s list of 101 Tips to Make your EMR and EHR More Useful. I can’t believe that this is the last post in the series. I think it’s been a good series chalk full of good tips for those looking at implementing an EHR in their office. I’d love to hear what people thought and if they’d like me to do more series like this one. Now for the final 5 EMR tips.

5. Automatic trending helps all over the place – A picture is worth a thousand words and this is never more true than when we’re talking about trending. Make sure your EHR software can quickly take a set of results and/or data points and graph them over time.

4. Keep training over and over – Are you ever done learning software? The answer for those using an EMR is no. Part of this has to do with the vast volume of options that are available in EMR software. However, the training doesn’t necessarily have to come from formal training sessions. Much of the training can also come by facilitating interaction and discussion about how your users use the software. By talking to each other, they can often learn from their peers better ways to use the software.

3. Infrastructure is key to performance – I love when people say “My EMR is Slow” cause it’s such a general statement that could have so many possible meanings. Regardless of the cause of slowness, the EMR is going to get the blame. For those wanting to dig in to the EMR slowness issue, you can read my pretty comprehensive post about causes of EMR slowness. I think you’ll also enjoy some of the responses to that EMR slowness post.

Infrastructure really matters when someone is using an EMR all day every day. There’s no better way to kill someone’s desire to use an EMR than to have it be slow (regardless of who’s responsible).

2. Quit pulling charts as soon as possible – I think this tip should be done with some caution. In certain specialties the past chart history matters much more than in others. Although, it’s worth carefully considering how often you really look through the past paper chart in a visit. You might be surprised how rare it is that you really need the past paper chart. If that’s the case, consider only pulling the chart when it’s needed. If you only find yourself looking through the past paper chart for 2 or 3 key items, then just have someone get those 2 or 3 items put into the EMR ahead of time. Then, it will save you having to switch back and forth. Plus, then it’s there for the next time the patient visits.

1. Crap process + Technology = Fast Crap – Perfect way to end 101 EMR and EHR Tips! I like to describe technology as the great magnifier. The challenge is that it will magnify both the good and bad elements of your processes. Fix the process before you apply the technology.

If you want to see my analysis of the other 101 EMR and EHR tips, you can find them all at the following link: 101 EMR and EHR tips analysis.