EMR Subtleties Are Hard to Quantify

Posted on August 23, 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.

How would you respond if someone asks you, what makes a great EMR?

There are plenty of answers that come to mind. However, at a recent conference I attended, I was struck by a simple description a doctor made about a feature he liked in his EMR.

He described how a new patient portal they implemented would ask the patient a bunch of important questions. Then, the output to the doctor would display a list of those questions and responses. However, he loved how the so called “incorrect” answers were in a different color.

I’m sure many of you might be thinking, well isn’t that an obvious feature? Some of you might also be thinking, is John really trying to tell me that this feature is what makes that EMR great? The answer is Yes on both accounts. Although with one caveat.

First, it’s an obvious feature, but there are hundreds and possibly thousands of obvious features that EMR companies haven’t had the time or the foresight to put into their EHR package. Maybe they were working on a legacy EHR where such an obvious feature was difficult to implement, so they put it off. Maybe they were trying to get the software release out the door and so they didn’t take the time to add such an obvious feature. Maybe they just haven’t had “the time” to add it. The point being that there are many “obvious” features that never make it off the development list.

Second, these subtle features are what makes an EMR great. No, not one subtle feature. I’m talking about hundreds of subtle features that are done throughout the entire EMR system. The compilation of many subtle features creates a beautiful symphony of EMR greatness.

How then do you measure hundreds of small but great features in an EMR?