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VC Firms Eyeing Mobile Health App Investments

Posted on June 22, 2012 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.

Well, well, well. After years of industry growth and excitement that seems to have been lost on investors, the mobile health app industry has finally begun to attract their notice.

On one level, this is merely the logical,  predictable advance of money into an exploding space. The VCs are already all over the health IT space. According to the National Venture Capital Association, HIT investments shot up 78 percent between 2010 and 2011, reports iHealthBeat.

But there’s also a lot of investors looking for the next paradigm-rattling possibility, including both apps and enterprise tech. Just check out the rapidly growing number of VC-backed health incubators, including  Rock Health, StartUp Health, Blueprint Health and healthbox. (To learn more about the incubators, I strongly encourage you to check out the excellent overview of their business models and focus pulled together by The Health Care Blog.)

And the market is producing plenty of opportunities for them to consider. In fact, the market for mobile health apps could grow at 25 percent annually for the next five years, according to Kalorama Information. I’d argue that 2013 will see more like 50 percent growth, but either way, we’re talking big money.

These days, money from both incubators and VC funds is increasingly going to mobile apps, as the iHealthBeat wrap-up notes:

* AirStrip Technologies, which offers an app allowing doctors to view electrocardiograms on the iPhone, got fu nding from the $100 million Qualcomm Life Fund

* Sharecare, which offers doctors online tools helping them connect with potential patients, received $14 million in a funding round led by Galen Partners.

* Kinnser Software, which offers mobile apps and online tools to help home healthcare providers access and record medical data, got an eye-popping $40 million investment from Insight Venture Partners.

Also check out more healthcare IT investments on EMR Thoughts.

While these numbers are big wins for the startup companies involved, they still represent a small percentage of the overall money chasing good healthcare investments. But I predict that this won’t be the case for long.

With the number of highly practical apps useful in remote monitoring, patient care and even decision support increasing — and the bandwidth available on mobile devices climbing rapidly — I’m betting we’ll hear about dozens of pivotal investments in mobile apps this year.

Am I going to take a guess as to which apps are next? Not yet. But stay tuned and I’ll share overviews of the more interesting apps I hear about along the way.  And please feel free to share the news of great, practical, usable apps you’re seeing out there.

EMR Market Numbers and Number of EHR Vendors with 0 Meaningful Use Attestations

Posted on June 21, 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.

Since I’ve kind of turned EMR Thoughts into an EMR and healthcare IT market website, I feel I should definitely point out this post I did on EMR and HIPAA about the Meaningful Use EHR Vendor Breakout by Percentage. It’s a really interesting post looking at which EHR vendors are doing well with meaningful use attestation and a look at what that means in the broader EHR market.

In the comments, Dr. Rowley (who first posted some of the meaningful use numbers) offered this added insight that I think is worth highlighting:

Here’s another observation on the ambulatory EHR market. If you look at all the Certified complete EHRs on the CMS CHPL list, and compare that to the HHS Meaningful Use list from data.gov, you will see that 284 vendors had products that were used (at least once) for MU attestion; however 295 additional vendors had NO usage of their products for MU attestation in 2011. More argument to a very crowded field, and lots of products in the market with perhaps no usage (or, at least, no Meaningful Usage).

Nearly 300 EHR vendors are listed on the list of Complete Certified EHR and had 0 meaningful use attestations! Wow! I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised since I even know a number of EHR vendors that still aren’t complete EHR certified. The volume of EHR companies is just astounding to me though.

These will be important numbers to look at near the end of 2012. We’ll see how many of those nearly 300 EHR companies still don’t have any meaningful use attestations.

A HFMA ANI Postcard is Worth a Thousand Words

Posted on 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’m heading back to Vegas this weekend, as the world of healthcare finance, compliance and IT gets ready to converge at Mandalay Bay for the annual HFMA ANI show. It seems like I was just there for HIMSS, somewhat under the weather the entire time thanks to East Coast jet lag. Hopefully this time around the warmer weather and smaller event (and hopefully better wifi throughout) will help me to spend more time on the show floor, checking out EHR-related technologies and clever marketing gimmicks. (I still remember the Captain Jack look-alike from last year’s show, and the great caricature I got at Paragon Revenue’s booth.) I might also end up showing our fearless leader John Lynn around, as he attends for the first time.

I’ve been stockpiling postcards from vendors as they’ve arrived in my mailbox, sending out a tweet here and there if one strikes my fancy for no particular reason. (I didn’t receive a single one prior to HIMSS, oddly enough.) I’ve culled a few that caught my attention, either for their EHR tie-ins or marketing schtick. Here are a few of my favorites, with additional details in case you feel like stopping by their booths.

EHR-Related

Microsoft Dynamics for Healthcare
Booth #1163
Solution: MazikCare, an EMR/ERP Solution built on Microsoft Dynamics AX2012
My take: Since they picture the EMR on a mobile phone, I’ll likely stop by to have a larger conversation around mobile health. I might even see if they’ve got a new Surface tablet just lying around, waiting to be tested.
Giveaway: Windows phones, free training

M*Modal
Booth #750
Solution: an EHR that helps maximize value, according to the postcard
My take: I’d be interested to learn just HOW their EHR maximizes value.
Giveaway: $500 donation to the charity of your choice

Cutest

TransUnion
Booth # 528
Solution: Smart revenue cycle solutions
Giveaway: potentially an iPad 3, provided you play their trivia game first

Most Clever

Parallon Connect
Booth # 844
Giveaway: Invites to a special HFMA concert featuring Eddie Money, $1,000 Best Buy gift card

Best for Book Lovers

Medical Management Professionals
Booth #1043
My take: Being a book lover, I’m very interested to see what titles their Emergency Medicine Book Club will be reading in the coming months.
Giveaway: “If Disney Ran Your Hospital – 9 ½ Things You Would Do Differently” by Fred Lee

Most Intriguing (and Best for Those with Lots of Dexterity)

Emdeon
Booth # 608
My take: Their Cash Stacker challenges intrigue me. I’ve never heard of the “Tube Topper,” “Stack Nicklaus,” “Popstackle,” “Chopped Nuts,” or “Change it Up,” but perhaps I don’t go to Vegas enough.
Giveaway: iPads and cash

By Far the Biggest

Athenahealth
Booth #1629
My take: The size of the postcard certainly got my attention, as did the blurb about the “athenaCoordinator, athenahealth’s cloud-based care coordination service.”
Giveaway: Kindle 4

Most Charitable

US Bank
Booth #1461
My take: Their partnership with Children’s Miracle Network hospitals will prompt me to definitely stop by their booth, as they’ll make a donation to the network for every business card received.
Giveaway: Warm fuzzies

SPi Healthcare
Booth #1645
My take: While I didn’t receive a postcard from them, the email I did receive caught my attention for its call for attendees to stop by and enter its charity poker chip drawing. For every entry, SPi will donate $1 to Helping Kids Clinic
Giveaway: $100 poker chips

So there you have it, folks! These are just a sneak peek into the many companies that will be exhibiting at the show. I’m looking forward to learning about many more, and sharing my recap in next week’s post. If you’re going to be there, feel free to send me a “let’s connect” tweet via @SmyrnaGirl. I can’t guarantee I won’t be wearing my Elvis glasses.

GoHealth Gets $50 Million Investment, mRemedy and Palomar Health Acquired

Posted on June 20, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

FUNDINGS:

A Chicago-based company, GoHealth, created the website GoHealthInsurance.com. This website helps consumers comparison shop for health coverage. With the decision coming soon on Obamacare, GoHealth has been prepping for the large amounts of US adults who will be looking for health insurance if it is passed.

GoHealth has taken a $50 million equity investment from Norwest Equity Partners in case it does pass. In the event that it doesn’t, the equity will be put toward accelerating its growth in the market, where it is already a major player. The company currently has 125 employees, and they hope to be able to hire more.

Consumers can easily enter their information and be given a list of insurance providers that fit their needs. From there, they can sign-up online with the company that fits their needs best or contact agents for any insurance provider that is on the website. GoHealth works with more than 100 insurance carriers and 100,000 licensed agents and has, on average, 1 million customers each month.

ACQUISITIONS:

AirStrip Technologies, a company based in San Antonio, offers a suite of mobile patient monitoring apps. These apps allow physicians to access patient information just about anywhere, which in turn enhances workflow and decision making in clinics AirStrip has recently expanded this suite of mobile apps to give physicians easier access to information in EHRs. Along with this expansion, AirStrip has acquired “exclusive rights to market and develop San Diego-based healthcare system Palomar Health‘s EHR agnostic and mobile-enables MIAA (Medical Information Anytime Anywhere) platform. Mobi Health News said that, “while the companies aren’t calling it an acquisition officially, that is what it is in effect.”

With the acquisition of this platform, physicians will have access to any and all records that are relevant to making a decision about a current patient’s condition. The benefit, and main reasoning, behind doing this is so physicians are able to view information that has been generated by other EHR/EMRs that are different from the one being used in their practice, according to Alan Portela, CEO of AirStrip.

mRemedy, a mHealth app company that was created in 2009 by the Mayo Clinic and DoApp, has recently been acquired by Axial Exchange, a care transitions technology provider. Not all the details concerning this acquisition are available, however, the Mayo Clinic and Canaan Partners have both been major investors, as well as Dr. Paul Y. Takahashi and Dr. Nathan Jacobson, both doctors at the Mayo Clinic.

mRemedy has a variety of custom apps that have been developed for clinics, hospitals, and patients. myTality is mRemedy’s core product and helps patients “better navigate a future hospital visit and helps hospitals market their sevices.” The software offered by Axial Exchange, Axial Patient and Axial Provider, will be the service platform for mRemedy.

Other apps currently available through mRemedy are myWeight, mPressure, and myGlucose. Last year, a hospital in Lexington, KY, became the first hospital to offer these apps to its patients. According to Mobi Health News, “that pivot is what led mRemedy to its buyer this week.”

What Meaningful Outcomes Will Come from Meaningful Use?

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.

I recently came across this video (embedded below) of Farzad Mostashari doing an Ignite talk about meaningful use and the EHR incentive money. If you’ve never been to an Ignite event they can be really cool (see some of the videos here). I love the format of them: “At the events Ignite presenters share their personal and professional passions, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds for a total of just five minutes.” Would be cool to do an Ignite at HIMSS or something. but I digress.

In Farzad’s Ignite presentation he says that meaningful use and the HITECH act will lead to improved outcomes, higher quality care, safer healthcare, patient centered care, and coordinated care. When you hear him talk, he’s quite confident that all of these are going to happen and I really think he’s genuine in this being the goal.

Before I bias you too much on my views, I’d love to hear your thoughts on if the HITECH act and meaningful use will achieve the valuable goals of: improved outcomes, higher quality care, safer healthcare, patient centered care, and coordinated care

“Non Structured Data Is More Valuable to Practitioners Than Discrete Research Oriented Data”

Posted on June 19, 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.

In my post on the EHR Bubble, Don B offered this strong statement:

“Recognizing the non-structured information is more valuable to the practitioner than discrete researcher oriented data.”

I love people that make strong statements and this is no exception. This is a comment that will no doubt hit people the wrong way when you consider how much focus things like meaningful use have focused on discrete data. I can already hear the chorus of doctors asking why meaningful use wants all this discrete data if the non-structured data is where the value is for practitioners.

There are a lot of nuances at work that are worth discussing. I agree with Don B that at this point in time the non-structured information is more valuable to a physician than the discrete data. I’d also extend that comment to say that non-structured information will likely always have value to a practitioner. There are just certain parts of physician documentation that can’t be discrete or at least cost far too much to make them discrete. I’m sure the EHR narrative crowd out there will love this paragraph.

Although, even proponents of the EHR narrative realize the value of discrete data elements. That’s why companies like Nuance and MModal are investing so much money, time and effort into their various NLP (Natural Language Processing) and CLU (Clinical Language Understanding) offerings. The key question for these companies has never been whether there was value in discrete healthcare data, but in how you capture the discrete healthcare data.

When thinking about discrete healthcare data I hearken back to a post I did in 2009 that asserts the Body of Medical Knowledge Too Complex for the Human Mind. This concept still resonates with me today. The core being how does a physician take in all the patient data, device data, lab data, medical data, research data, etc and provide the patient the best care possible. This will never replace the physician (I don’t think), but I expect the tools will become so powerful that a physician won’t be able to practice medicine without them.

Much of the power required for computers to assist physicians in this way is going to come through discrete data.

Over the next 2-3 years we’re going to start seeing inklings of how healthcare will improve thanks to discrete data (often captured through and collected by an EHR). Then, in the next 5-10 years we’re going to see how healthcare couldn’t survive without all the detailed healthcare data.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know When it Comes to EHR Adoption

Posted on June 18, 2012 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.

My husband and I are currently researching the world of landlords with the possibility of becoming two in the very near future. This process has presented me with several situations that physician practice managers must find themselves in from time to time, especially when contemplating purchasing and implementing a new piece of healthcare IT.

The first thing I did was sit down with a friend who, along with her husband, currently manages multiple properties in addition to having a full-time job – a situation not unlike my own. I came to our conversation with a laundry list of questions about being a landlord, which she was happy to answer over a few glasses of wine. I have continued to use her as a sounding board as I continue down the path of property management.

I imagine that, hopefully, this is what practice managers do when mulling over new IT systems for their facilities – get together over coffee, a round of golf, at a conference, and really hash out the experience of one for the benefit of the other. Personal recommendations and advice are invaluable, in my opinion.

In tandem with plying my friend with wine, I also turned to the Web for resources with which to educate myself – another research practice managers most likely utilize. As someone who deals with healthcare vendors on a daily basis, I know that there is a treasure trove of data out there on pretty much any health IT system you might be contemplating. White papers, case studies and of course many of the blogs at Healthcarescene.com offer insight into implementation experiences.

Then came the hard part – sifting through the “free” property forms I could use to get the rental property ball rolling. Like many of us in healthcare, as the popular saying goes, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” So, while many free forms I came across seemed perfectly legitimate, I was constantly second-guessing myself: Is this one legal enough? Will that one hold up in court if, heaven forbid, we have an eviction on our hands? Why would someone pay for this form when they can get it for free? What is this website not telling me!?

I wonder if this is similar to what small practice managers feel like when they go down the path of the free EHR. As consumers, we typically assume that free is good, but we also know that you get what you pay for. So they must do some second-guessing themselves when it comes to using healthcare IT that includes advertising from third parties, right?

This is where, I imagine, a successful free EHR company would step in with the aforementioned white papers, case studies and offers to sit down and allay any fears a provider might have about taking this leap into the HIT unknown. I’d love to hear from those who have been in similar situations. What resource did you find of most value when considering new IT? What resource disappointed you? What were you not aware of that might have made a difference in your decision? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

EMR Note Cloning, Meaningful Use, and Doctors Entering the Social Media World: This Week in Healthcare Scene

Posted on June 17, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

EMR and HIPAA

Understanding Meaningful Use Stage 1 and Stage Deadlines — Meaningful Use Monday

Zub Emsley, CEO of ChartLogic, Inc., was a guest poster at EMR and HIPAA last week. He talks about the different stages of Meaningful Use, upcoming deadlines, and the potential penalties for missing them. The “tipping point” for EHR adoption has been reached, and Emsley discusses some important topics for anyone involved in EHR adoption to hear about.

Are We Ready For ACOs? Security, Process Issues Abound

The EMR industry is continually growing. With more medical technology being developed as well, this growth probably won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Katherine Rourke predicts that EMRs will look different just 18 months from now, and describes her feelings in this post.

Wired EMR Doctor

EMR Note Cloning is Scarier Than I Thought

One issue that occurs with using EMR is cloning. While some doctors try hard to avoid cloning as much as possible in clinic notes, it sometimes happens accidentally. Dr. Michael Koriwchaz describes some of his “accidental cloning” and how it sometimes can be difficult to avoid cloning in certain situations. He talks about how these experiences made him realize how cloning is “scarier” than he thought.

Smart Phone Health Care

Is Meaningful Use Slowing the Growth of mHealth?

As David puts in this post, “mHealth is cool.” Unfortunately, it appears that many doctors and hospitals aren’t using all this new technology as much as they ought to.  The monetary incentive to implement EHR/EMR in practices seems to be the main catalyst for doctors. David explores some of the reasons why mHealth isn’t growing as quickly as it it could be.

Tips for Doctors Entering the Social Media World

As the world of social media and health care merge, doctors are finding it more necessary to become involved. However, it may not be as easy as one might think. It involves a lot of time and patience, but the benefits are great. Find out some great tips, reasons to become involved, and discover 10 doctors who have embraced social media successfully.

EMR and EHR Videos

Attaining Meaningful Use with athenahealth

ateneahealth, a distributor for medical billing, practice management, and EHR services, are “dedicated to liberating doctors and patients from the administrative expense and stress of the health care system,” according to the company website. The company’s co-founders, Tood Park and Jonathan Bush,  pride themselves in knowing how hard those in the medical field work because they ran a medical facility at one time. Because of their dedication in helping others be successful in meaningful use, they have helped 85% of their providers get paid for it. In this video, atenahealth explains how they did that and gives encouragement to those hoping to attain meaningful use.

EMR Note Cloning is Scarier than I Thought

Posted on June 15, 2012 I Written By

Dr. Michael J. Koriwchak received his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine in 1988. He completed both his Internship in General Surgery and Residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Koriwchak continued at Vanderbilt for a fellowship in Laryngology and Care of the Professional Voice. He is board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. After training Dr. Koriwchak moved to Atlanta in 1995 to become one of the original physicians in Ear, Nose and Throat of Georgia. He has built a thriving practice in Laryngology, Care of the Professional Voice, Thyroid/Parathyroid Surgery, Endoscopic Sinus Surgery and General Otolaryngology. A singer himself, many of his patients are people who depend on their voice for their careers, including some well-known entertainers. Dr. Koriwchak has also performed thousands of thyroid, parathyroid and head and neck cancer operations. Dr. Koriwchak has been working with information technology since 1977. While an undergraduate at Bucknell University he taught a computer-programming course. In medical school he wrote his own software for his laboratory research. In the 1990’s he adapted generic forms software to create one the first electronic prescription applications. Soon afterward he wrote his own chart note templates using visual BASIC script. In 2003 he became the physician champion for ENT of Georgia’s EMR implementation project. This included not only design and implementation strategy but also writing code. In 2008 the EMR implementation earned the e-Technology award from the Medical Association of Georgia. With 7 years EMR experience, 18 years in private medical practice and over 35 years of IT experience, Dr. Koriwchak seeks opportunities to merge the information technology and medical communities, bringing information technology to health care.

The health IT community is well aware of the dangers of cloning notes in an electronic medical record.  I include myself in that group.  Until recently I prided myself for doing a good job, both in our EMR design and in my own personal practice, of using just the right amount of automation in our documentation workflow.  Two recent events showed me that I still have some work to do.

The first event occurred a few weeks ago when I was reviewing some records.  One patient note documented an enlarged salivary gland containing a stone.  That would be fine except for one small detail – I had removed that gland one week prior to the date of the note!  My nurse had created that note.  A conversation with her revealed she thought she was doing the right thing by always clicking the “previous finding” button, which I had programmed myself.  My nurse is extremely bright; this was my fault for not training her on this issue.  I had also signed that note.  So it was my fault twice.  After a 30 second conversation with my nurse it has not happened since.

The second event was when an attorney interviewed me regarding one of my patients.  I was a treating physician in a malpractice case (I am not the defendant thankfully).  The attorney wanted to know if, in my opinion, the physician defendant had met the standard of care in treating the patient despite the adverse outcome.

This was a high-risk case for note cloning; the patient had multiple abnormal neurologic findings that were stable over time.  In reviewing my records I was satisfied that my notes were accurate, complete and original for every visit.  I avoided cloning those abnormal but stable findings by describing the same exam but using slightly different wording at each visit.  How else do you avoid cloning?  But the attorney pounced on my small changes in description, trying to establish a trend in my notes that the patient was getting worse.  I explained the cloning issue to him, and he understood…. I think.  Nonetheless I felt somewhat uncomfortable defending my documentation, and I was not even the defendant.  In trying to avoid cloning notes I had stepped right into another problem.

This issue is huge in my practice.  I have a large volume of head and neck cancer patients.  The essence of caring for them properly is to monitor them for changes in their abnormal – but stable – physical findings.  A recurrence of cancer might manifest as a subtle change in one of these findings.

How do you document that an examination is stable and unchanging, but change your wording enough to document that you actually examined the patient at every visit?  We do not yet have the cloning issue figured out.

PDR Certified Help to Determine EHRs That Meet Minimum Drug Safety Requirements

Posted on I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

A new drug safety certification program for EHR and ePrescribing platforms that is supposed to “recognize EHRs that meet minimum drug safety requirements” is in the works, according to a recent press release.

PDR Network, the leading distributor of FDA-approved drug labeling, safety and REMS information, and iHealth Alliance, a not-for-profit organization involved in protecting patients and providers, announced the program, “PDR Certified”, on May 10th. Healthcare providers will be able to determine if the EHR system they use currently or will be purchasing meets minimum drug safety requirements.

Because of the influx of EHRs in recent years, it is more important than ever for there to be certain requirements that must be met to ensure patient and provider safety. Nancy Dickey, the chair of the iHealth Alliance said concerning this:

It is vitally important that these systems include standards for drug safety functionality, and that these standards are easy for busy physicians to identify and understand — fortunately, these goals are shared widely and are in sync with those called for by the FDA.

In order for an EHR vendor to be considered “PDR Certified”, the following functions and features must be included in their product:

1. Full FDA Labeling

2. Drug Alerts and Warnings (Safety Alerts, Boxed Warnings, Recalls and REMS Communications)

3. Adverse Drug Event Reporting

4. FDA-compliant patient education or support services.

Any EHR vendor that becomes “PDR Certified”  can display the logo for “PDR Certified”, which will allow prospective and exisiting customers the opportunity to know they meet requirements above. Dr. David Troxel, Medical Director of the Doctors COmpany, said:

Access to full FDA labeling combined with timely delivery of drug alerts is critical to drug safety in any enviornment but particularly in EHRs which play such a large and growing role in care delivery today. PDR Certification will provide an easy to recognize way for our physician members, and all U.S. providers, to know if they system they are using or evaluating lives up to these drug safety standards.

More information on the program can be found at www.PDRCertified.org.

What do you think of having an EHR Drug Safety certification?