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Future of EHR and the Human Genome

Posted on August 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.

Dr. West has a really interesting post up over on Happy EMR Doctor about EMR Software and the Human Genome. In the post he talks about a new program to help integrate EHR software with genome data. It’s a 4 year project, but I believe is the start of something groundbreaking.

It’s become quite clear to me over the past year that the EHRs of the future will be far more than patient records as recorded by the doctor. Instead, the EHR of the future will include a whole bunch of outside data that is collected by the patient.

Yesterday, we briefly discussed health-logging and that will be a major source of data that doctors can use to treat patients. However, probably even more powerful could be tying EHR software to a person’s genome data.

Once we understand the genome, we will likely be able to treat patients more effectively. We will be able to diagnose patients with more precision. We will be able to treat future issues before they become issues. Imagine if you could prescribe a drug that was unique to that person’s genome. Pretty cool stuff.

We are a long way from this happening, but I can clearly see that it’s the future of healthcare and the best way to leverage the genomic data is to tie it with the EHR and its clinical decision support system.

Unless someone thinks it might be better to have patients bring in their genome data on paper. Oh wait, last I checked you couldn’t do genomic tracking on paper.

101 Tips to Make Your EMR and EHR More Useful – EHR Tips 51-55

Posted on 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.

55 Discover how easy it is to interface to the EMR.
One good indication of how easy an EMR system is to interface is to look at how many companies they interface with. Another is to talk with other users of that EMR that have had to have an interface created with said EMR. As I mentioned in a recent comment response, just because they say they “can” or “could” do an interface doesn’t mean that they actually will. Add interface requirements in your contract if they’re needed. Be sure to include the expenses related to the interface in there as well.

54. Make sure to understand the licensing model
There are a lot of ways for an EHR vendor to make you pay. So, be sure you’re aware of all the expenses related to buying and implementing an EHR. Instead of recounting all the possible EHR costs here, I’m just going to link you to my pretty comprehensive list of unexpected EHR costs. Going through that list will help make sure you know what you’re getting into cost wise. You can be sure the EHR salesperson won’t be giving you this list.

53. Does your product handle billing?
Many people love the integrated billing in an EHR. Some can get away without it, but most people I know prefer some billing component as part of the EHR.

52. How is licensing managed?
While related to #54, I see this EHR tip as understanding when and how they’ll charge for licenses. Do you have to buy a whole group of licenses which you may or may not use or can you add licenses later as you grow your practice? As Shawn suggests in this tip, it’s best if you can do “just in time licensing.”

51. Make certain you know what upgrades for license expansions cost
Understand the costs related to expanding into a new line of service. Do you have all the modules you need? What’s the cost to add new modules? Will your server support that new module?

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.

EMRs and the Human Genome

Posted on I Written By

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC in 2009. He can be contacted at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.

Did you know that the National Institutes of Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is now funding grants to study how genomic information can be used along with electronic medical records?  The idea is to make it possible to have an impact on patients’ healthcare outcomes by integrating genome data with what health conditions and symptoms they have — all within the next four years.

“Our goal is to connect genomic information to high quality data in electronic medical records during the clinical care of patients. This will help us identify the genetic contributions to disease,” said NHGRI director Eric Green in a press release. “We can then equip health care workers everywhere with the information and tools that they need to apply genomic knowledge to patient care.”

So far, a pilot experiment to provide proof of principal for the research program (called eMERGE), showed that it is possible to link genetic information with complex disease states or conditions such as dementia, cataracts, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, peripheral arterial disease, white blood cell count, type 2 diabetes and heart conduction defects.

The investigators will now attempt to link genetic variations with more disease characteristics and symptoms, using genome-wide association studies (i.e. GWAS) across the entire eMERGE network.  Around 32,000 patients will be involved, and the ultimate goal would be to use the information found by linking genomic and EHR data to provide guidance for interventions such as adjusting patient medications or scheduling procedures that may ultimately help patients receive better care.  Imagine developing best practices for genetic disorders, all courtesy of your friendly neighborhood EMR/EHR!

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC.  He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009.  He can be reached at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.