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Costco Begins Selling Allscripts EMRs To Doctors

Posted on December 30, 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.

A little earlier this month American Medical News had an article about Costco selling EHR software. This doesn’t come as a big surprise since Walmart had been selling an EHR out of Sam’s Club for quite a while. Although, that program was discontinued shortly after the initial launch. Here’s a piece of the Allscripts MyWay EHR offering in Costco for those that missed it:

Costco has partnered with Etransmedia Technology to sell Allscripts MyWay EHR and practice management systems at Costco stores nationally. The store hopes physicians looking to collect incentive money for meaningful use of electronic medical records will take advantage of the deal.

Costco executive members can implement the integrated EMR/practice management system for $499 a month. For nonexecutive members, the price is $599 a month. The pricing is based on a 60-month contract, according to costcoehr.com, a website Etransmedia launched to promote the deal.

The Allscripts MyWay system offered by Costco is an integrated, Web-based EMR and practice management solution that includes e-prescribing, electronic claims and a patient portal. The monthly fee includes maintenance, support and hosting as well as online training. Allscripts advertises the EMR and PM systems separately on its website for $375 and $225, respectively, per full-time physician, per month.

Costco is not offering a deep discount for the systems, but the company said it is “simplifying the buying process” by offering a product it “carefully” selected.

Despite this having been done before, I’m still seeing a lot of people on social media sites that are asking why Costco would offer an EHR. The answer to me is simple: marketing. I remember reading the story of a practice that had gone through a thorough EHR selection process that was de-railed thanks to a Sam’s Club ad about EHR software. Something’s wrong with that practice in my opinion, but the reality of EHR sales is that the sale often hinges on the littlest thing. Even if that little thing is a Costco ad.

Yes, Costco EHR just doesn’t make sense, but when you consider it as a relatively inexpensive way to market your product to doctors, maybe it’s not that strange. Although, I could think of other more targeted ways to market EHR software.

While you’re at Costco purchasing your EHR, be sure to pick up a pack of those Fat Boy ice cream sandwiches. I’m sure they’ll make a great addition to your EHR implementation. It’s amazing what food will do to enhance staff morale.

Occupying Healthcare One Muppet or Lego at a Time

Posted on December 29, 2011 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company’s social media strategies for Billian’s HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

‘Tis the season to inject a bit of well-informed levity into my weekly blog post. For those of you who might stumble upon this week’s entry, I’m keeping things light.

My household is no stranger to the Occupy movement – whether it’s following the Occupy Wall Streeters in Zuccotti Park, similar protests around the country, or learning how the movement can be applied to healthcare, it’s been a topic of dinner conversation at our house for some time. In fact, my husband made his first trip to New York City a few months ago to take it all in for himself. Santa even brought him, ironically, an Occupy sweatshirt.

Though the movement seems to have died down – or least gone underground – I believe its principles should not be forgotten, especially when it comes to healthcare. I’d go so far as to say that is was one of the most impactful events/trends in 2011. It changed people’s way of thinking about our economy, our citizens, and what we believe we’re entitled to – whether that be multimillion dollar paychecks or socialized healthcare.

The #occupyhealthcare off-shoot is certainly a bit more underground, and not fully understood by some. There are several websites and tweet streams devoted to it, each with their own unique agenda. Whether you pass it off as a bunch of hippies in white coats and stethoscopes or not, I’ll tell you what the phrase means to me – the effort by those with a voice – big or small – to make quality healthcare accessible and affordable to all. I’ve seen first-hand what sort of assistance government healthcare programs can provide, and I’d like to think that everyone should at the very least have access to this sort of semi-funded care. The healthcare IT community certainly has its part to play in this effort, and fortunately we’re already seeing efforts made in this direction. I’d like to think that we’ll see more of this continue in 2012. Time will tell, of course.

So where’s the levity, you ask? Where’s the humor I promised? You know a movement has really “made” it when it becomes the subject of satire, or when active participants know how to have a good laugh at themselves. Take a look at the Occupy Sesame Street movement, or Occupy Lego Land. Who better to bring attention to financial gluttony on Wall Street than Cookie Monster?

If you happen to know of more humorous healthcare videos, please share them in the comments below. Let’s start off 2012 with a healthy dose of laughter. Happy New Year’s y’all.

Health Data Breaches: Hazy HIPAA Laws, Crazy Outcomes

Posted on December 28, 2011 I Written By

Priya Ramachandran is a Maryland based freelance writer. In a former life, she wrote software code and managed Sarbanes Oxley related audits for IT departments. She now enjoys writing about healthcare, science and technology.

You’ve no doubt heard it. The healthcare industry has the dubious distinction of having had the three of the top six IT related security breaches this year. This article in the Healthcare Finance News quotes figures published by the Ponemon Institute, a research organization. According to the article, there’s been a 32 percent increase in frequency of data breaches, in other words, the frequency has increased by almost a third.And it has cost the industry $6.5 billion.

But a similar story in the NY Times shows us how woefully inadequate our existing data protection laws are (This story also quotes the numbers from the same Ponemon Institute study). An employee from a Massachussetts eHealth Collaborative lost a laptop containing 13,687 records. Each of those records contained some combination of a patient’s name, SSN, birthdate and other identifying information. Now, by law, healthcare organizations are required to report breaches involving 500 or more patients and the Department of Health and Human Services.

However, says NYT, Micky Tripathi, the non-profit’s president and CEO, soon figured out “just how many ways there were to count to 500. The law requires disclosure only in cases that “pose a significant risk of financial, reputational or other harm to the individual affected. His team spent hours poring over a backup of the stolen laptop files. Of the nearly 14,000 patient records on the stolen laptop, most records did not warrant disclosure. In 2,777 cases, for instance, a record listed only a patient’s name.”

The NYT story also points out another strange loophole that came to the aid of the non-profit – the entities responsible for protecting patient health are the providers, not contractors such as Mass. eHealth.

“In the eyes of the law, Mr. Tripathi’s nonprofit is a contractor that acts on behalf of health providers. The legal burden of protecting patient data actually falls on his clients: the physicians and hospitals who entrusted his nonprofit with their files.”The laws create a perverse outcome,” he says. “It was our fault, but from a federal perspective, it wasn’t our breach.””

So of the 14,000 or so patients affected, Micky Tripathi’s non-profit only needed to notify 998 people. Of these, only one organization had patients more than 500 in number, requiring a mugshot report on the HHS wall of shame, and an offer of free credit monitoring from Mass eHealth.

In the end, the cost of credit monitoring services to Mass eHealth was a mere $6000 though the article says the non-profit ended up spending close to $300,000 in the aftermath. I wonder if this includes the cost of the necessary sleuthing involved and so on. If this is the case, the numbers are incidental expenses; the money spent directly on the breach itself was a fraction of that.

Compare this to the $1 million fine incurred by Mass. General Hospital for the loss of 192 patient records left by a negligent employee on a subway train.

With these numbers in mind, here are my takeaways from these stories:
Who is responsible for what breach is not clear enough. I had to re-read the definition for covered entities to make sure that Mass eHealth doesn’t fall under it. If the law takes such a lax attitude to IT contractors – who BTW provide the bulk of the IT infrastructure at many hospitals – where’s the incentive for anyone to do things differently?
There’s a crazy penalty structure in place. A hospital losing 192 records resulted in a million dollar fine. A non-profit losing 998 records incurred $6000 in expenses. So if you’re a hospital, you’re better off with contractor negligence than your employees/equipment being the responsible party.
Rules can be creatively interpreted.
There’s not enough negative fallout for data breaches for healthcare/HIT organizations to do things differently. Say, if in addition to the notice on the HHS wall of shame and fines, there were other repercussions like, I don’t know, a digital time-out of sorts for both contractors and healthcare organizations, maybe healthcare and IT would begin to care more.

John’s Comment: This is definitely an interesting case. With the new HITECH laws I can’t imagine how this doesn’t fall under the Business Associate agreement which would require that they follow the HIPAA laws just like any provider. The article does say that contractors aren’t responsible, but that seems like bad legal advice given by the contractor’s lawyer. I’m not a lawyer, but I’ll have to email a healthcare lawyer friend of mine to have him comment on this case as well.

It’s also worth noting that all of the breaches mentioned above have been through laptops or other devices left behind. None of the major breaches have been a hacker getting into an EMR or EHR system. Everyone likes to blame the EHR software for privacy issues, but so far they haven’t happened. They will one day, but the bigger privacy issue is still unsecured devices and human breaches (ie. staff looking at inappropriate records).

Accountable Care Organizations Becoming Action Thanks to Pioneer ACO Awardees

Posted on December 27, 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.

I thought this blog post on the 3M blog made a good point about ACO’s finally having some action behind them thanks to the Pioneer ACO awards that were announced recently. Until now, we’ve basically just had people talking to each other about the idea of an ACO, how an ACO should take shape, etc etc etc. It’s nice to see us starting to move beyond discussion of ACO models and now starting to see some real people and companies that have to start taking some ACO action to see what they can create.

I have a feeling that much of this initial ACO work is going to be like most startup companies: failures. In the startup world, it’s just expected that at least 9 of 10 companies will fail. That’s part of the algorithm of innovation that has worked so well in the entrepreneurial environment we know as tech startup companies. I imagine we’ll see the same with a bunch of these ACO models in healthcare as well.

One major problem I do have with this comparison is that the ACO programs that we see now aren’t entrepreneur or market driven, but instead are driven by some sort of government money. This means that those that participate have a bunch of perverse incentives.

The blog post mentioned above provides some interesting suggestions on how to improve healthcare. In response I offered these thoughts in their comment section:

The suggestions you make are reasonable and interesting, but they seem to ignore the idea that what people are really going to do with ACO legislation is find the simplest way to extract the most amount of money out of the regulation. There will be some exceptions, but this is how it works with most government programs.

I imagine some will see this as a bit cynical. I personally just see it as realistic. If we want to talk about real solutions we have to talk about the stark realities that face us and not the idealized models that could happen “IF…” ACOs are no different. Enough with the IFs and let’s talk about action.

Happy Holidays!

Posted on December 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.

I was preparing to write another post on EMR and EHR before running out to finish some last minute shopping. I think I’m going to splurge and buy my wife an iPad. Shh…don’t tell her. Good thing she’s long since stopped reading my blogs (I have far too many). Anyway, I was getting ready to write a post and realized this is the Friday before the Christmas weekend.

So…
Merry Christmas for those who celebrate it like I do. Happy Holidays for those who don’t celebrate it.

If you still want something more as you try to make the time pass quicker, go and read this post I did on EMR and HIPAA about all the Healthcare Scene writers.

Otherwise, enjoy your weekend and we’ll catch you on the other side. Also, let’s not forget the true meaning of the season and life: taking care of others. I think that’s something we can all embrace.

How do ACOs Deal with Non-compliant Patient?

Posted on December 22, 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.

I have been thinking more and more about ACOs coming together and the ACO movement in general lately. Everything seems to be heading straight towards the ACO reimbursement model and so I think we all better start to consider what that’s going to mean to a clinic. Plus, in my case I’m particularly interested in how EHR software will enable the ACO to work properly.

It is quite clear to me that EHR software and technology in general will be one of the core pillars to a successful ACO.

As I thought about ACOs, the question came into my head: How will an ACO deal with a non-compliant patient?

Since the ACO reimbursement is tied to the health of the patient, then patient non-compliance becomes a really important issue. Plus, patient non-compliance is an incredible challenge since the physician only has so much control over a patient once they leave their office. In fact, they only have so much control of their patient even within their office.

I certainly don’t have all the solutions to this problem, and I’m not sure how reimbursement will handle a doctor who did everything right to improve the healthcare of a patient and they chose not to comply. However, this makes me start to think of ways that technology could help a doctor to improve patient compliance.

I’ve written before about some really great mobile health applications for people with diabetes. It was amazing to see how simple text message reminders could improve compliance by patients with diabetes. There are probably dozens and maybe even hundreds of other models where mHealth could improve patient compliance.

One of the real challenges I see with this is that much of this compliance could best be served by an EHR software connected to the patients. Unfortunately, most EHR software is so busy helping the doctor do what he needs to do in the office and meeting government guidelines that EHR software doesn’t have the focus to create these types of connections with the patient which could improve patient compliance. I’m not sure they will ever have this focus.

This is why EHR vendors need to fully embrace the idea of creating an ecosystem where smart “app developers” can create these patient compliance apps that connect directly into the EHR software. This won’t be easy for EHR companies to embrace, but those that do and do it well will be wildly successful. Plus, they’ll improve healthcare in the process.

Are there other ways that ACOs will deal with non-compliance by patients? I’d love to hear what people think.

Emdeon Gets in the Holiday Spirit with Donation of EHR Technology

Posted on December 21, 2011 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company’s social media strategies for Billian’s HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

I’ve blogged before about the importance of decreasing the digital divide in this country in order to truly move healthcare interoperability forward. As I mentioned last month, “Only those patients who have access to these digital healthcare technologies will begin to clamor for them at their next doctors’ visits. Only patients’ whose doctors in turn have reached out to them via email, text or social media regarding the switch to electronic medical records, development of health information exchange and the benefits to care these will hopefully bring will be ready and willing to go with the digital flow.”

When news came across my somewhat cluttered desk of Emdeon’s initiative to provide electronic health record (EHR) technology to physicians in New Jersey’s underserved communities, I first thought, “Yes! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” Then I put on my journalist/blogger hat and thought, “Will this truly change anything in these particular communities, or is this just good PR?”

A quick bit of background: Emdeon is partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Minority Health, New Jersey Health Information Technology Extension Center (NJ-HITEC), the state’s REC, and the HIMSS Latino Community. Through the initiative, Emdeon will donate Emdeon Clinician licenses to 100 healthcare providers who practice within medically underserved areas and/or healthcare provider shortage areas, as designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), according to a recent Emdeon press release. The company will waive the license fee for these physicians for one year.

The same press release also mentions “EHR adoption is lower among providers serving Hispanic patients who are uninsured or rely on Medicaid, and is lower among providers serving uninsured, non-Hispanic black patients than among providers serving privately insured, non-Hispanic white patients.”

The initiative sounds like a great idea, but the one-year stipulation got me thinking (a bad habit, I know). What will these physicians, who presumably can’t really afford this technology now, do after their year is up? I reached out to Miriam Paramore, Senior Vice President – clinical and government services at Emdeon, to learn more about the ins and outs of the program.

How did the initiative come about?
Miriam Paramore: During the fall of 2010, leaders from the Office of Minority Health (OMH) and Health Information Technology issued a public, written request to health IT vendors, asking them to pay special attention to healthcare providers within underserved communities. This initiative is known as The Alliance to Reduce Health IT Disparities. Emdeon is serving as a private partner with the OMH to offer access to health IT products and services to providers within undeserved communities in New Jersey. We were thrilled to volunteer and to work within these communities.

Has Emdeon ever done anything like this before?
We’re happy to do part of this effort with HHS and it is the first time we’ve partnered with them.  We have great empathy for the challenges of the physicians in underserved communities and we want to help.

What sort of challenges do small physician practices in underserved communities typically encounter?
In addition to challenges like poverty and health disparities amongst their patient population, providers in underserved communities and smaller practice offices face expensive costs associated with on-boarding EHRs. Emdeon created the Emdeon Clinician solution as an affordable EHR “lite” solution for these small practice physicians or those working in underserved communities. They now have an affordable, easy-to-use solution that will help them to qualify for federal HITECH stimulus dollars without unnecessary disruption and expense of a full-blown EHR system.

How will you work with these 100 physician practices to ensure they are able to continue using the donated EHR after the year-long license expires?
Once the 12-month period expires, providers will be able to continue using Emdeon Clinician for only $99 per provider, per month. Emdeon usually has a $500 implementation and training fee [that, for this program,] has been discounted to a one-time fee of $200 for the providers participating in this project. This is a considerable discount and the fee would only have to be paid once. We will begin outreach to these providers in advance of the expiration date so they are aware of the opportunity to remain with Emdeon Clinician for the low fee following the initial 12-month period.

How will Emdeon work with NJ-HITEC and the HIMSS Latino Community throughout this year to ensure that these practices receive continued training and support?
Emdeon has taken the lead with managing this initiative between all partners with monthly meetings to monitor progress. We have a dedicated project manager, who has mapped a process with the internal team to assist with implementing these physicians as soon as possible. Our custom phone number (1-855-840-7120) connects interested providers directly with a dedicated clinical sales executive who can assist them throughout the enrollment process.

The NJ-HITEC and HIMSS Latino partners are assisting in the recruitment of providers who practice within medically underserved areas for this program from their vast networks across New Jersey communities. These partners are working cooperatively with Emdeon to create a strategy that focuses upon identifying and recruiting providers within underserved communities who are willing to adopt EHRs, especially those interested in qualifying for federal incentive dollars.

How many practices do you anticipate being eligible, and how many do you expect will apply?
While we aren’t sure how many will apply, the HHS OMH recognized that the counties of Camden, Essex and Passaic have the largest percentage of underserved communities. Through our collaborative efforts with the OMH, HIMSS Latino and NJ HITEC, we hope to reach many of those physicians within those counties to take advantage of the 12-month program.

How will Emdeon and its partners determine if this program is a success?
Together with our partners, we believe success will be donating all 100 licenses to providers in underserved communities. The reporting element of this project will help OMH understand the progress of EHR adoption in the context of how long implementation takes in its entirety.

So it seems that Emdeon and its partners certainly have their ducks in a row when it comes to aiding and abetting these physicians before, during and even after the program is technically over. I’ll be interested to see if this model will, in fact, be successful, and if it can be supported in other underserved areas across the nation.

For more information on participating in the program, check out: http://www.emdeon.com/newjersey/

All-You-Can-Eat Health Data

Posted on December 20, 2011 I Written By

Priya Ramachandran is a Maryland based freelance writer. In a former life, she wrote software code and managed Sarbanes Oxley related audits for IT departments. She now enjoys writing about healthcare, science and technology.

Casinos can teach the healthcare industry a thing or two about influencing customer behavior. So says this interesting feature in California Healthline this week.

Think about it – if it’s your first time, and you lose 500$ straight off the bat, you’re not likely to head to the nearest ATM to withdraw more cash. The people who run casinos understand this, the article quote California Healthcare Foundation CEO Mark Smith as saying. That’s why casinos have loyalty card systems in place – so they can not only know what you’re doing, and to influence your behavior in a way that benefits the casino.

A casino doesn’t necessarily want a first-time customer to lose money right away, he said, because that customer becomes unhappy and won’t come back. “So if you’re a first-time customer and you’re down 150 bucks, someone in the casino will slide up to you and ask you how you’re doing,” Smith said. “And maybe get you a comp meal or a drink.” The casino intervenes before customers reach the decision point to leave.

For the healthcare industry, the holy grail is patient data. If there is enough patient data, the innovators can come along, interpret it, and hopefully healthcare providers can nudge patient behavior enough to make a change in overall health.

The most interesting thing about the article, to me personally, was reading about how data that has been made publicly available can be used for interesting uses. The article talks how data made public by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fuels such varied things as the Weather Channel, mobile weather apps and so on.

And guess what? All that can happen to healthcare as well. Much public health information is available for access by the general public, and part of the job of HHS has been to make innovators aware that public health data is now available. The article talked about Bing using Hospital Compare data to provide users with hospital comarison statistics.

I followed some of the links on the article and finally ended up at the Health.Data.gov site, where as promised, a treasure trove of data is publicly available – just waiting for the right technogeek to come along and do something cool with it. Could that innovator be you? Go check it out!

Obstacles To Using Tablets As EMR Front Ends

Posted on December 16, 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.

Not long ago, I recently posted an item on HospitalEMRandEHR.com discussing how one hospital dropped plans to distribute iPads as front-ends for its Cerner EMR.  Doctors at hospital, Seattle Children’s, gave the iPad very bad reviews as an EMR-connected device, in part because they felt that Cerner’s system was too hard to use via a Safari browser.

Since then, a few readers have commented on the story, and interestingly, they’ve offered more nuanced feedback on what works (and doesn’t) in deploying a tablet as an EMR device for clinical use, including the following:

* Deploying the iPad initially offers a patient “wow factor” — in other words, it may make providers look hip and up-to-date technically — but that doesn’t last very long.

* Even a well-designed, tablet-native tablet app may still be frustrating for clinicians to use, given the high volume of information they need to enter. (Paging through a dozen screens is no fun.)

* When choosing a tablet, be aware that the physical performance of the tablet (especially the touch screen) can be a big issue.  If clinicians “touch” and the screen doesn’t respond, it can throw them off their stride.

It’s hard to argue that hospitals (and medical practices) should take mobile access to EMRs seriously. And anyone here would know, most organizations are.  After all, now that health IT industry is looking hard at mHealth, smart new ways to use mobile devices in care seem to be springing up daily.

But before you dig too deeply into your mobile strategy, you may want to hear more clinicians on how their mobile EMR usage is playing out. Call me a curmudgeon, but it seems to me that it may still be too early to invest big bucks in a tablet for mobilizing your EMR just yet.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m convinced that someday, every doctor will enter and access patient data via some sort of mobile device. But it seems that there’s some fairly important technical issues that still need to work themselves out before we can say “this is how we should do it.”

Hospital EHR Contracts and EHR Lock In

Posted on December 15, 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.

The following email just makes me cringe in pain (specific vendor names removed):

Our small hospital has chosen EMR Vendor A, and is trying to push it onto our clinics against our complaints. My CEO sat down with me to try to mollify my complaints, saying that the previous CEO had signed the 1.2 million contract, and they couldn’t back out until we were reimbursed (the same $1.2 million figure, of course) for meaningful use. This mandate reportedly comes from the hospital board. Thus we are expected to suffer with this system for 2+ years, with some hint of maybe being able to drop EMR Vendor A in the clinics after that time. When I told him that the reduction in productivity and morale while using this system may cost more than 1.2 mil, he said we should find some “work-arounds” to deal with that. Legally, this may all be OK, but it seems fraudulent in intent, and a bad idea. Just another story from the real world.

What an incredibly challenging situation to deal with. We’ve certainly seen the movement towards consolidation of medical practices by hospital. I wonder how many doctors will end up leaving the hospital to run their own practice again just based on the EHR choice that their hospital system chose.

What’s more important is whoever negotiated this $1.2 million project seems to have done a pretty terrible job. I imagine there still are ways to get out a contract like this, but it would take a unique CEO to make that choice.

Of course, this is only one doctor’s side of the story. There could be other angles where this EHR vendor works fine. To me, that’s one of the real challenges facing a hospital system which has every clinic under the sun. I remember one hospital system that had 10-15 different pediatric specialties (let alone all their regular specialties). So, not only were they trying to fit a round peg into a square hole, but they were trying to fit the round peg into a diamond, triangle, star, etc hole as well. That becomes quite an enormous challenge.

I imagine we’re going to hear more “real world” stories like the one above going forward. I guess it’s just one more reason why the healthcare platform I just wrote about on EMR and HIPAA will be that much more important going forward.