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BYOD Deploying a Mobile Device Management Strategy

Posted on April 30, 2013 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 is a guest blog post by Marcus LaFountain.
Marcus LaFountain Headshot
LaFountain has worked in IT for the last 10 years as a PC Technician, Help Desk Analyst, and System Administrator. He is currently a Healthcare IT Consultant specializing in Cerner and HIM implementations.

A recent Ovum study showed that almost 60% of employees bring some type of mobile device into the workplace. There are a few names for this, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Bring Your Own PC (BYOPC), Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP), User Introduces Unsecure Device onto My Network and Then Loses My Secure Data (UIUDOMNTLMSD). Alright, so I made that last one up, but that is how most IT Managers feel when the discussion is started about BYOD. An end user bringing a device to work is both a gift and a curse for any sized company. We see an increase in productivity but also the increased threat of data being lost or stolen. Having a strong Mobile Device Management (MDM) strategy can help companies reap the benefits of BYOD while limiting the consequences.

Let’s start by going over some numbers. By 2014, the number of mobile devices (mostly mobile phones) in the workplace is expected to reach 350 million globally. A remarkable 57% of full time employees are already using mobile devices for work related tasks. Out of that 57%, about half is unmonitored, unmanaged BYOD activity. Another study shows that in 2011, 78% of companies did NOT have a BYOD policy and only about 20% of employees actually sign a BYOD policy.

There are many reasons to justify a BYOD policy:

Productivity:  An employee who uses their personal device for both work and play is on average likely to work an extra 240 hours per year than those who do not. They can answer emails on the go, answer phone calls while on the road (using a hands-free device of course!) and receive that last minute meeting update. . Most employees won’t want to bring a work laptop home just to check emails after dinner or during downtime at home. Letting them receive push emails may empower them to write a quick mail back to a client in a different time zone rather than having to wait until the morning.

Cost: There is also a cost justification. Not having to provide every employee with a business only device can save not only the cost of the device but the monthly service plan that goes along with it. The number of devices can be reduced as well. A mobile phone is a cheaper and sometimes more convenient alternative than a laptop with a 4G cell card. Employees can still stay connected when not physically at their desk.

User Experience: Tech Savvy employees tend to have strong preferences when it comes to the technology they choose to use. Forcing an Android user to use a BlackBerry device may not be an ideal situation. Giving employees the ability to choose their mobile operating system, screen size and other technical specs may make them more likely to use the device rather than it sitting in a desk drawer unused.

However, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows in the world of BYOD. As the use of mobile devices increase in the work place, so do the number of malicious attacks. According to the Ponemon Institute, 6 out of 10 security breaches were traced back to mobile devices. Apple and Google are constantly removing mobile malware from their app stores. And as always, attackers are trying to pick the low hanging fruit of the mobile community first. Businesses must have policies and security measures in place to protect their data. In 2009, the US Government enacted the Health Information Technology for Clinical Health Act (HITECH) that requires healthcare companies to notify patients if they have had their health records compromised. Similar acts were also put in place in the financial industry.

Constructing a comprehensive Mobile Device Management (MDM) policy is imperative when users are allowed to bring and use their own devices. As with many policies, the contents may vary greatly by company. However, almost every company from small businesses to enterprises will need to focus on security and support.

Security:  A lost or stolen device is the most common type of security breach. A company must have measures in place to combat this. While an entire article can be written about mobile security, I will touch on some common features.  Both Android and Apple offer AES 256 – Bit encryption as a standard on their devices.  Lock screens, passwords and certificates all play a role in device management as well. Microsoft Active Sync and other software also allow administrators to perform a remote wipe of a compromised device. This is a necessary requirement when employees have company data on their mobile phones.  Samsung has developed an Enterprise suite called SAFE that allows the user to partition company data with personal data. It also gives administrators the ability to perform a complete or selective wipe, tracking of the device and local password enforcement.  Apple and other mobile providers are starting to or already have incorporated these features as well. If your company is using application virtualization, you may need to define new rules for allowing mobile devices. Users will also need a way to get a hold of someone 24/7 in the event of a lost or stolen device.

Support:  This may be a slippery slope for some. Most IT policies only allow for support of company devices. So who supports a personal device that is used for business? Depending on the size of your company, you may want to assign a dedicated resource from your IT Security team to manage your MDM policy. If you are an enterprise, you may need a small team to manage different aspects of the policy. Your Help Desk will need training on the various mobile operating systems and communication will need to be sent out to end users on how to stay on top of security. Documentation will need to be created on how to setup email, VPNs and passwords. Do you need to setup an approved device list or will you allow any manufacturer or mobile OS on the network? A pilot group (usually IT) will need to be put in place to test your new systems and policies as well. Audits should also be enabled to check for OS updates, application updates and security updates.

In a growing mobile market and the on demand nature of business today, IT Management will need to be one step ahead of its users by developing a MDM policy. When developing an MDM strategy, you must take into account your business needs as well as infrastructure requirements. Like any new implementation it is ideal to begin testing your technology and policies with a small subset of users and conducting a review process before rolling out corporate wide. Doing so may limit mistakes while in a beta phase instead of having them on a mass scale. Focusing on security and support will allow for a comprehensive strategy that will allow employees to operate efficiently and productively but most importantly safely.

Related Whitepaper:
How Technology Executives are Managing the Shift to BYOD
This white paper looks at the growing adoption of BYOD in healthcare and the possible benefits and hurdles of enabling employees to use their own consumer devices in the workplace.

Download Whitepaper or see More EMR and Health IT Whitepapers

CMS Plans To Audit 5 Percent of Meaningful Use Participants

Posted on April 29, 2013 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.

Are you ready to be reviewed?  Well, get prepared. As part of its ongoing program of supervision, CMS plans to audit 5 percent of participants in the Meaningful Use program for compliance, according to Modern Healthcare.

Since January, CMS has been auditing program participants that have already received their money, as well as those who have applied to receive incentive payments.  Going forward, the two groups will receive about the same level of attention, with a total of 5 percent of program participants ending up getting closer scrutiny from the feds, MH reports.

To date, there haven’t been many adverse findings by CMS, though the agency has discovered a few questionable situations, Robert Anthony, deputy director of the HIT Initiatives Group at CMS, told the magazine. But a few providers are already beginning the appeal process, and several providers may face fraud enforcement investigations, he said.

The bulk of the Meaningful Use reviews will be what the agency dubs “desk audits,” done by the CMS audit contractor Figliozzi and Co., in which information is exchanged electronically. However, a few on-site audits may be conducted as well, Anthony told Modern Healthcare.

To date, among the most common problems CMS has learned about has been provider failures to meet the requirement that they complete a data security risk assessment, a step also required by HIPAA.  When the auditors find that a provider hasn’t done the required data security risk assessment, they could be referred to the HHS Office of Civil Rights for a HIPAA compliance investigation.

Another issue which has turned up frequently has been a lack of adequate documentation that providers have answered some of the “yes or no” questions which are part of Meaningful Use criteria, such as whether their EMR has been tested for clinical data exchange. In that case, providers must be able to document what happened whether or not the test was successful.

The Ethics of Service Outages in Electronic Medical Records

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.

I love my electronic medical record. Life is very different and much more appreciated in the digital, uber-organized, instantly available, anywhere, anytime world of EMRs. Thank the heavens that they are here to save us, both healthcare providers and patients.

However, my particular EMR system has gone out of service twice in the past two months, much to my disappointment. Both times were for, it seems, less than an hour, but extremely painful to live through.  Moreover, since there have been multiple service outages over the past few years, I have gotten more accustomed to the emergency changes that our office needs to take immediately the moment we discover an outage and patients continue to roll in for their visits.

However, it still makes me wonder what ethics might be involved here. On the one hand, occasionally every service might be expected to have outages. Power, water, mail, etc.  Few if any of these services need to run in real time continuously for the protection of people’s lives. However, medical records systems really should run or be available continuously because of the need to make, in real time, medical judgements and plans that affect peoples’ lives.  There is a real problem when medical records are suddenly inaccessible during meetings between healthcare providers and patients.  Obviously, there are differences in the liabilities depending on setting of patients in hospitals and those in outpatient office practices.

I am not a computer programmer and don’t know the possibilities for obtaining backup records immediately (or if this is even possible) when an EMR service fails.  One would think that a backup server/service could be activated, but in our periodic transient cases we have found that this has never happened.  Nothing really “kicks in”.  We simply wait for service to be restored and in the meantime start searching for lab results through our online access to major commercial lab suppliers (i.e. LabCorp, Quest).

Unfortunately, I do not know the solution to this problem, although it seems to be an issue of product development.  In the past it has occurred when new versions of the software were upgraded, but this has not been the case in every instance that we have experienced.  Currently, there are no regulatory agencies that seem to have jurisdiction to police  real-time backup safety requirements for an EMR system, which leaves a big hole regarding liability and responsibility.

I have to wonder how often this occurs for other EMR systems?

Hoarding and Sharing Data in Health Care — #HITsm Chat Highlights

Posted on April 27, 2013 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.

Topic One: Looking in the rearview mirror, what has been the history and rationale for “hoarding” data in health care?

Topic Two: “Open” has varying meanings. What elements/aspects do you think are the most important for healthcare?


Topic Three: How can social media contribute to the transformation from hoarding to sharing? How should patients fit?

Topic Four: What providers/companies use open/collaborative technologies, pt care workflow, strategies, biz models, etc. Who are the stars?

Topic Five: What lessons can #healthcare learn about openness from other industries? What’s most likely to work in healthcare?

EHR Certification Revoked for EHRMagic

Posted on April 26, 2013 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.

Yesterday HHS released news that they’d revoked the EHR certification of the EHRMagic-Ambulatory and EHRMagic-Inpatient EHR software. Looks like InoGard originally certified the EHR and they and ONC received information that had them retest the EHR software and it failed the certification re-test.

I think we all want government to hold bad actors accountable. So, it’s good to weed out EHR companies that aren’t doing what they should. However, they better also be careful. Imagine being a doctor of an EHR vendor whose EHR certification gets revoked. Does that mean that they have to give back the EHR incentive money the received? Those doctors trusted in InfoGard’s ability to certify an EHR vendor and InfoGard failed at that job. Should a doctor be punished for InfoGard’s failing? Now apply this to a hospital that uses a certified EHR and loses that EHR certification. That’s a multi-million dollar impact.

I guess EHRMagic better take down the info on their website that says they can get physicians $44,000 in EHR incentive money. Looking at their website, it makes me wonder who chose to use their EHR in the first place. That would be interesting to know.

Here’s the full press release from HHS on the EHR revocation:

Two electronic health records, previously certified as products to be used as part of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs, have had their certifications revoked. Farzad Mostashari, M.D., the national coordinator for health information technology, announced today that the products do not meet standards and providers cannot use these products to meet the requirements of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive programs.

EHRMagic-Ambulatory and EHRMagic-Inpatient, both developed by EHRMagic Inc. of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., no longer meet the EHR certification requirements. The EHRs must be certified by a certification body (ACB) authorized by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) before regaining certification.

Both ONC and an ONC ACB, InfoGard Laboratories Inc. (InfoGard), received notifications that the EHRMagic products did not meet the required functionality and the products should not have passed certification. InfoGard analyzed the additional information from the notification and contacted EHRMagic, launching the ONC authorized certification body required surveillance activities. InfoGard concluded that it was necessary for the EHR products to be retested for select requirements. EHRMagic, Inc. participated in retesting and failed.

“We and our certification bodies take complaints and our follow-up seriously. By revoking the certification of these EHR products, we are making sure that certified electronic health record products meet the requirements to protect patients and providers,” said Dr. Mostashari. “Because EHRMagic was unable to show that their EHR products met ONC’s certification requirements, their EHRs will no longer be certified under the ONC HIT Certification Program.”

Information about ONC’s certification process for EHR technologies is available at http://www.healthit.gov/providers-professionals/certification-process-ehr-technologies.

DoD Official Challenges Agency’s EMR Approach

Posted on 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.

Back in 2009, the Department of Defense and the VA began an initiative, the iEHR project, which was supposed to integrate the two sprawling agencies’ EMR systems.  That initiative came to a halt in February, with the two organizations deciding make their two independent systems more interoperable and the data contained wtihin more shareable.

At least one DoD official, however, believes that the latest effort flies in the face of President Obama’s directive that agencies adopt and use open data standards. J. Michael Gilmore, director of the DoD’s operational test and evaluation office, has sent a memo to Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter arguing that the DoD’s plan to evaluate commercial EMR systems is “manifestly inconsistent” with that order.

“The White House has repeatedly recommended that the Department take an inexpensive and direct approach to implementing the President’s open standards,” Gilmore wrote. “Unfortunately, the Department’s preference is to purchase proprietary software for so-called “core” health management functions…To adhere to the President’s agenda, the iEHR program should be reorganized and the effort to define and purchase “core” functions in the near term be abandoned.”

If the DoD actually manages to successfully implement a commercial EMR system, it “would be the exception to the rule, given the Department’s consistently poor performance whenever it has attempted wholesale replacement of existing business processes with commercially derived enterprise software,” Gilmore noted tartly.

Gilmore recommends that the DoD go the open standards route by defining and testing the iEHR architecture, then purchasing a software “layer” to connect DoD’s EMR with other providers using open standards.

The VA, meanwhile, has formally proposed that the DoD migrate from its existing AHLTA EMR to the VA’s popular VistA EMR, already in place successfully throughout the agency’s hospitals and clinics. VistA is deployed at more than 1,500 sites of care, including 152 hospitals, 965 outpatient clinics, 133 community living centers and 293 Vet Centers.

EHR Incentive Sequestration and Guidance on Meaningful Use Attestation

Posted on April 25, 2013 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 CMS website has a great resource with answers to a number of FAQs. For example, here’s two questions that related to sequestration’s impact on EHR incentive and meaningful use attestation.

Question: Will incentive payments earned in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive programs be affected by sequestration?

Answer: Incentive payments made through the Medicare EHR Incentive Program are subject to the mandatory reductions in federal spending known as sequestration, required by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 postponed sequestration for 2 months. As required by law, President Obama issued a sequestration order on March 1, 2013. Under these mandatory reductions, Medicare EHR incentive payments made to eligible professionals and eligible hospitals will be reduced by 2%. This 2% reduction will be applied to any Medicare EHR incentive payment for a reporting period that ends on or after April 1, 2013. If the final day of the reporting period occurs before April 1, 2013, those incentive payments will not be subject to the reduction.

Please note that this reduction does not apply to Medicaid EHR incentive payments, which are exempt from the mandatory reductions.

Question: For the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, how should an EP, eligible hospital, or critical access hospital (CAH) attest if the certified EHR vendor being used is switched to another certified EHR vendor in the middle of the program year?

Answer: If an EP, eligible hospital or CAH switches from one certified EHR vendor to another during the program year, the data collected for the selected menu objectives and quality measures should be combined from both of the EHR systems for attestation. The count of unique patients does not need to be reconciled when combining from the two EHR systems.

If the menu objectives and/or clinical quality measures used are also being changed when switching vendors, the menu objectives and/or quality measures collected from the EHR system that was used for the majority of the program year should be reported.

HIPAA Puts Innovation and the Cloud Into Perspective for Providers

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 had the pleasure of attending the iHT2 conference in Atlanta for the second year in a row and was once again pleased with the opportunity to interact with providers in such an intimate setting. A far cry from the chaos and showmanship of HIMSS, to be sure. No matter what session I attended throughout the two-day event, I heard consistent mumblings of discontent around HIPAA, especially in the context of being a barrier to innovation in the mobile health space.

My Twitter friends have a habit of putting things into perspective for me, and Susana Vallelonga, aka @sgcalderoni, didn’t disappoint:

twitter

She makes a good point – one that ties into a recent discussion I had with Frankie Rios, the new Vice President of Information Security at GNAX Health. He is facing a similar challenge when it comes to convincing providers of the benefits of the cloud in the face of new HIPAA rules. He is no stranger to challenges, though, having spent 16 years in the US Marine Corps as a Senior Network Engineer, Trainer and Supervisor. I had the chance to chat with him recently about the state of cloud computing in the wake of the recently enacted Omnibus Rule.

Do you think the newly enacted HIPAA rules will scare providers away from migrating to the cloud?
Actually, the new HIPAA rules protect providers as they migrate data and applications to the cloud. Whether it is cloud computing or cloud storage, the new rules provide a stronger framework. The technology continues to mature and as it does so, I believe we will continue to see a growing acceptance of cloud services from providers.

How are you working to combat these fears?
We are educating providers from both a technology and policy perspective. Technologically speaking, there is no reason why the cloud cannot be as (or more) secure than an on-premise solution. We are also providing information on implemented controls to secure patient data within the cloud.

You recently created a set of criteria to help providers evaluate potential cloud providers and their compliance with HIPAA requirements. How would you say this list has changed in the last five years? What should providers be aware of now that they may not have even considered a few years ago?

The list has really not changed much in the last five years. All of the controls are based on information management security best practices that have been around much longer. What has changed are the security technologies and cost of implementing the controls. For some, the costs have gone down and for some the costs have increased.

A few years ago it was difficult to ensure that vendors had the proper controls in place. There were no instruments to hold vendors accountable other than extra contract language or business associate agreements. The responsibility was on the provider to implement security controls and ensure HIPAA compliance. In the case of a breach, the provider (not the vendor) was liable.

With the new rule, business associates are also liable in the event of a breach, and must ensure that the same security controls are in place.

Along those same lines, how do maturing EMR technologies play into a provider’s decision to move to the cloud?
Most EMRs already have the ability to deliver their application in a cloud-based environment, or their solution is offered as an ASP model. This makes it very easy for providers to migrate their EMR technologies to the cloud.

The cloud is really just the “next step” from virtualization of current assets. It is not maturity of the EMR itself, but simply an enhanced infrastructure and platform functionality.

However, providers should ask how cloud options for their EMR impact clinician workflow. Changes should be clinician-centric; not technology-centric. All the technology in the world is meaningless if it doesn’t improve the workflow or functionality of the clinician.

It seems you are well versed in risk analysis, coming from a military background and then moving into healthcare IT. How has that first career prepared for you this new age of digital breaches in healthcare environments?
My first career in the military greatly improved my ability to act quickly on new situations or regulations. In addition, the emphasis on planning is an important part of the process along with communication.

Risk analysis is an ongoing process. Most implementation mistakes are around performing risk analysis and then doing nothing for the rest of the year. Risk analysis must be part of all aspects of information management in healthcare: especially, strategic and budget planning.

Simply checking the box off that the risk analysis is complete is wrong! As business processes and technology changes, so will the risks that have been introduced. Risk analysis is an ongoing process – not a once and done.

simplifyMD New “Free” Patient Room Cartoon

Posted on April 24, 2013 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.

A while back simplifyMD sent me a link to their EHR cartoon gallery. I’ll admit that I was a little underwhelmed with their first set of cartoons. They looked professional, but the content and writing needed some help. I happened upon the gallery again today and found a new cartoon called, ‘Easy Street Family Practice installs a “Free” patient room.’ Check it out (click on the image to see it full size):
simplifyMD Ad Supported Patient Rooms

I thought this was a hilarious jab at our societal move to “Free” everything. It’s a bit of an exaggeration of what it’s really like to get something for free in return for time spent seeing ads. This is especially true of Free EHR where the ads are as unobtrusive as any ads I’ve seen on anything. However, it does illustrate the reason why many people aren’t comfortable with the Free EHR model.

I did have one user of the Practice Fusion Free EHR recently tell me that if the EHR weren’t free, there’s no way they’d still be using that EHR. I thought it provided an interesting perspective on the value of free. We’ll see how this plays out long term for Practice Fusion and if these type of experiences taint the Free EHR market for everyone else.

Plus, I couldn’t write about Free EHR without mentioning that just because an EHR doesn’t cost money doesn’t mean that there aren’t other costs. Some people are ok with the Free EHR costs of advertising and data. Others are not. The key is to be aware of the hidden costs of using a Free EHR.

Going back to the cartoon, I think I might prefer some in exam room advertising if it would replace my co-pay. I’d be fine with a nice Pepsi ad in the exam room in return for lower healthcare costs. Although like most things in life, it can certainly be taken too far if we’re not careful.

Full Disclosure: simplifyMD is an advertiser on this site.

EMR and EHR Whitepapers

Posted on April 23, 2013 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.

For a while I’ve been considering how the Healthcare Scene network of blogs can provide an EMR, EHR and healthcare IT whitepaper service. Over the many years I’ve been blogging about EMR and EHR, I’ve seen a lot of really valuable whitepapers created by the various EHR vendors. The time required to create a whitepaper is lengthy and for someone looking for an in depth look at a subject, a whitepaper is a nice option.

With that in mind I recently launched a new EMR, EHR and Healthcare IT whitepaper portal. We’re just getting started with the healthcare whitepaper portal, but we’ll be growing the content that’s available there over time. We’ll also be including a nice sidebar widget for those interested in the latest whitepapers we have to offer and we’ll embed a list of whitepapers in the email subscription as well.

We already have a number of great whitepapers available. For example, athenahealth created this whitepaper on Making the Switch: Replacing Your EHR for More Money and More Control. We’ve often talked about EMR switching becoming a very popular and important topic. This whitepaper helps a practice considering the EMR switch to go through an analysis of why to switch EMR or not.

Another whitepaper by NextGen is called The tips and tools to help you on the path to MU (Meaningful Use) and beyond. Considering less than 50% of providers have attested to meaningful use, this could be useful to many. It contains a lot of great resource links and some tips on how to approach meaningful use. If you’re looking at meaningful use stage 2, check out this one from AdvancedMD called Achieving Stage 2 Meaningful Use in Private Practice.

Those are just a few examples. You can find many more of them on this EMR and EHR whitepaper library page. I look forward to adding a lot more interesting whitepapers in the future. Hopefully you’ll find the content valuable.