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News Flash: Physicians Still Very Dissatisfied With EMRs

Posted on October 18, 2016 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.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that many physicians still aren’t convinced that the big industry-wide EMR rollout was a good idea. But nonetheless, I was still surprised to learn — as you might be as well — that in the aggregate, physicians thoroughly dislike pretty much all of the ambulatory EMRs commonly used in medical practices today.

This conclusion, along with several other interesting factoids, comes from a new report from healthcare research firm peer60. The report is based on a survey from the firm conducted in August of this year, reaching out to 1,053 doctors in various specialties.

Generally speaking, the peer60 study found that EMR market for acute care facilities is consolidating quickly, and that Epic continues to add market share in the ambulatory EMR market (Although, it’s possible that’s also survey bias).  In fact, 50% of respondents reported using an Epic system, followed by 21% Cerner, 9% Allscripts and 4% the military EMR VistA.  Not surprisingly, respondents reporting Epic use accounted for 55% of hospitals with 751+ beds, but less predictably, a full 59% of hospitals of up to 300 beds were Epic shops as well. (For an alternate look at acute care EMR market share, check out the stats on systems with the highest number of certified users.)

When it came to which EMR the physician used in their own practice, however, the market looks a lot tighter. While 18% of respondents said they used Epic, 7% reported using Allscripts, 6% eClinicalWorks, 5% Cerner, 4% athenahealth, e-MDs and NextGen, 3% Greenway and Practice Fusion and 2% GE Healthcare. Clearly, have remained open to a far greater set of choices than hospitals. And that competition is likely to remain robust, as few practices seem to be willing to change to competitor systems — in fact, only 9% said they were interested in switching at present.

To me, where the report got particularly interesting was when peer60 offered data on the “net promoter scores” for some of the top vendors. The net promoter score method it uses is simple: it subtracts the percent of physicians who wouldn’t recommend an EMR from the percent who would recommend that EMR to get a number from 100 to -100. And obviously, if lots of physicians reported that they wouldn’t recommend a product the NPS fell into the negative.

While the report declines to name which NPS is associated with which vendor, it’s clear that virtually none have anything to write home about here. All but one of the NPS ratings were below zero, and one was rated at a nasty -73. The best NPS among the ambulatory care vendors was a 5, which as I read it suggests that either physicians feel they can tolerate it or simply believe the rest of the crop of competitors are even worse.

Clearly, something is out of order across the entire ambulatory EMR industry if a study like this — which drew on a fairly large number of respondents cutting across most hospital sizes and specialties — suggests that doctors are so unhappy with what they have. According to the report, the biggest physician frustrations are poor EMR usability and a lack of desired functionality, so what are we waiting for? Let’s get this right! The EMR revolution will never bear fruit if so many doctors are so frustrated with the tools they have.

Integrating With EMR Vendors Remains Difficult, But This Must Change

Posted on October 4, 2016 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.

Eventually, big EMR vendors will be forced to provide a robust API that makes it easy to attach services on to their core platform. While they may see it as a dilution of their value right now, in time it will become clear that they can’t provide everything to everyone.

For example, is pretty unlikely that companies like Epic and Cerner will build genomics applications, so they’re going to need to connect using an API to add that functionality for their users. (Check out this video with John Lynn, Chris Bradley of Mana Health and Josh Siegel of CareCloud for more background on building a usable healthcare API.)

But as recent research points out, some of the vendors may be dragged kicking and screaming in that direction before they make it easy to connect to their systems. In fact, a new study by Health 2.0 concludes that smaller health IT vendors still face significant difficulties integrating with EMRs created by larger vendors.

“The complaint is true: it’s hard for smaller health tech companies to integrate their solutions with big EMR vendors,” wrote Health 2.0’s Matthew Holt on The Health Care Blog. “Most EMR vendors don’t make it easy.”

The study, which was supported by the California Health Care Foundation, surveyed more than 100 small health technology firms. The researchers found that only two EMR vendors (athenahealth and Allscripts) were viewed by smaller vendors as having a well-advertised, easy to access partner program. When it came to other large vendors, about half were happy with Epic, Cerner and GE’s efforts, while NextGen and eClinicalWorks got low marks for ease of integration, Holt reported.

To get the big vendors on board, it seems as though customer pressure is still critical at present, Holt says. Vendors reported that it helped a great deal if they had a customer who was seeking the integration. The degree to which this mattered varied, but it seemed to be most important in the case of Epic, with 70% of small vendors saying that they needed to have a client recommend them before Epic would get involved in integration project.

But that doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing from there on out.  Even in the case where the big EMR vendors got involved with the integration project, smaller tech vendors weren’t fond of many of their APIs .

More than a quarter of those using Epic and Cerner APIs rated them poorly, followed by 30% for NextGen, GE and MEDITECH and a whopping 50% for eClinicalWorks. The smaller vendors’ favorite APIs seemed to be the ones offered by athenahealth, Allscripts and McKesson. According to Holt, athenahealth’s API got the best ratings overall.

All that being said, some of the smaller vendors weren’t that enthusiastic about pushing for integration with big EMR vendors at present. Of the roughly 30% who haven’t integrated with such vendors, half said it wasn’t worth the effort to try and integrate, for reasons that included the technical or financial cost would be too great. Also, some of the vendors surveyed by Health 2.0 reported they were more focused on other data-gathering efforts, such as accessing wearables data.

Still, EMR vendors large and small need to change their attitude about opening up the platform, and smaller vendors need to support them when they do so. Otherwise, the industry will remain trapped by a self-fulfilling prophecy that true integration can never happen.

Enterprise EHR Vendors Consolidating Hold On Doctors

Posted on September 9, 2016 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.

When I stumbled across a recent study naming the EHRs most widely used by physicians, I don’t know what I expected, but I did not think big-iron enterprise vendors would top the list. I was wrong.

In fact, I should have guessed that things would play out this way for giants like Epic, though not because physicians adore them. Forces bigger than the Cerners and Epics of the world, largely the ongoing trend towards buyouts of medical groups by hospitals, have forced doctors’ hand. But more on this later.

Context on physician EHR adoption
First, some stats for context.  To compile its 2016 EHR Report, Medscape surveyed 15,285 physicians across 25 specialties. Researchers asked them to name their EHR and rate their systems on several criteria, including ease of use and value as a clinical tool.

When it came to usage, Epic came in at first place in both 2012 and 2016, but climbed six percentage points to 28% of users this year. This dovetails with other data points, such that Epic leads the hospital and health system market, according to HIT Consultant, which reported on the study.

Meanwhile, Cerner climbed from third place to second place, but it only gained one percentage point in the study, hitting 10% this year. It took the place of Allscripts, which ranked second in 2012 but has since dropped out of the small practice software market.

eClinicalWorks came in third with 7% share, followed by NextGen (5%) and MEDITECH (4%). eClinicalWorks ranked in fifth place in the 2012 study, but neither NextGen nor MEDITECH were in the top five most used vendors four years ago. This shift comes in part due to the disappearance of Centricity from the list, which came in fourth in the 2012 research.

Independents want different EHRs
I was interested to note that when the researchers surveyed independent practices with their own EHRs, usage trends took a much different turn. eClinicalWorks rated first in usage among this segment, at 12% share, followed by Practice Fusion and NextGen, sharing the second place spot with 8% each.

One particularly striking data point provided by the report was that roughly one-third of these practices reported using “other systems,” notably EMA/Modernizing Medicine (1.6%), Office Practicum (1.2%) and Aprima (0.8%).

I suppose you could read this a number of ways, but my take is that physicians aren’t thrilled by the market-leading systems and are casting about for alternatives. This squares with the results of a study released by Physicians Practice earlier this year, which reported that only a quarter of so of practices felt they were getting a return on investment from their system.

Time for a modular model
So what can we take away from these numbers?  To me, a few things seem apparent:

* While this wasn’t always the case historically, hospitals are pushing out enterprise EHRs to captive physicians, probably the only defensible thing they can do at this point given interoperability concerns. This is giving these vendors more power over doctors than they’ve had in the past.

* Physicians are not incredibly fond of even the EHRs they get to choose. I imagine they’re even less thrilled by EHRs pushed out to them by hospitals and health systems.

* Ergo, if a vendor could create an Epic- or Cerner-compatible module designed specifically – and usably — for outpatient use, they’d offer the best of two worlds. And that could steal the market out from under the eClinicalWorks and NextGens of the world.

It’s possible that one of the existing ambulatory EHR leaders could re-emerge at the top if it created such a module, I imagine. But it’s hard for even middle-aged dogs to learn new tricks. My guess is that this mantle will be taken up by a company we haven’t heard of yet.

In the mean time, it’s anybody’s guess as to whether the physician-first EHR players stand a chance of keeping their market share.

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.

Farzhad Uses Twitter to Call Out EHR Vendors

Posted on September 12, 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.

When it comes to ONC, I think a few things have always been clear:
1. ONC has its heart in the right place.
2. ONC hates the government restrictions that have to work within as much as the rest of us.

If you’ve ever had a chance to meet with someone from ONC in person, then you know the first item to be true. They really do have a sincere desire to improve healthcare in America through the implementation of IT. Not only do you see that in person, but their actions compliment this as well. In fact, I’d say that they’re some of the most sincere parts of Washington DC that I’ve ever met.

The challenge comes with the second point. ONC has to work within the legislation and government regulations that they’re given. I once posted about Blumenthal’s HIMSS adress as being meaningless. Someone at ONC found it and asked what they could do to make his address more meaningful. I told them nothing, because he was subject to the government muzzle. I think they’re reply was something like, “Many of us here don’t like the government muzzle either.” Another simple example of how they are very sincere people at ONC. I wonder if Blumenthal could offer a non-muzzled speech now.

I say all of this as background for a tweet that Farzad Mostashari sent out to EHR vendors. The thing I love most about this tweet is that Farzad is using the farthest extent of his power possible to push forward health IT within the government framework. This is no easy task, but I think Farzad’s tweet is brilliant:

I think the ONC pledge is still being considered by many EHR vendors. I know how EHR companies make decisions and so this won’t be any different. However, Farzad already posted this tweet with EHR companies that have made the pledge:

I’ve also seen tweets from NextGen and Azzly. We’ll see if others pop up on the #ONCPledge hashtag.

Oh the power of a tweet! Can you imagine how simple, but powerful Farzad’s request could be? No complicated legislation. No expensive stimulus. No mind numbing regulation. Just good old fashioned public pledge to do what’s right. I wonder how else this could be used.

Fundings and Acquisitions Around the Medical Technology World in May

Posted on May 29, 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.

ACQUISITIONS:

Alliance Health Networks, who currently serves 1.5 million registered users, announced on May 15th plans to acquire Medify. Alliance is one of the country’s leading social network companies involved in the healthcare industry, and by combing with Medify, who specializes in data-driven treatment information, patients and caregivers will have access to “the industry’s most comprehensive social engagement platform.”

Stead Bruwell, CEO of Alliance Health discussed the benefits that are expected to come with this acquisition:

As social networks continue to transform industries and change the way people live, Alliance Health remains focused on empowering people to successfully navigate their personal health journey, free and independent of the healthcare system. The acquisition of Medify brings us two critical elements — powerful data analytics technologies and an extremely accomplished team — which reinforce our status as the industry’s most robust social engagement platform. Combined, we will be in the best position to help consumers make smart health care decisions by providing a unique combination of relevant knowledge and tools for every drug, treatment, and condition.

Quality Systems, Inc., announced on May 16th, that the company acquired the Poseidon Group. The acquisition closed on May 1st. Quality Systems went forward with this acquisition to help with the growth of its offering, NextGen Inpatient Solutions. NextGen offers to small hospitals a variety of healthcare IT services. With this acquisition, NextGen will able to “extend its suite of solutions and footprint across hospitals by leveraging the Poseidon Group’s Emergency Department Information System and integrating the solution into NextGen Healthcare’s current product offerings.”

Steve Pucket, executive vice president of NextGen Healthcare Inpatient Solutions,  said concerning the acquisition:

This acquisition provides our clients additional value by extending our hospital suite portfolio advanced solutions to the Emergency Department. This product, along with our surgical services suite, will help support our rapid growth upward into the community hospital market. It will also provide existing Poseidon clients with access to our complete portfolio of hospital products and services. We believe this acquisition will further strengthen our capabilities, expand our client base and position NextGen Healthcare Inpatient Solutions for continued growth, as we work to meet the needs of hospitals and their patients.

High-ranking officials from the Poseidon Group, Carr Scott and W. Kyle Taylor, will both have senior roles at NextGen Healthcare, while Jeff Oyler, Poseidon Group’s President and founder, will assume a position with healthcare technology transformation.

FUNDINGS:

$1.6 million has been raised for Enforcer eCoaching, a health coaching start-up founded by Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz, also known together as “You Docs”. This amount came from 15 different investors, which made a big dent in the $3 million goal that Enforcer is aiming for.

There isn’t much known about Enforcer eCoaching, as it has no website and Marty Butler, President and chief operating officer, made no comments on funding. However, the premise of the company is “a series of email-based, daily interactive wellness coaching programs designed to help people prevent and/or reverse diseases attributed to excessive weight and use of tobacco products,” according to an article on MedCity News. Enforcer also offers four programs; tobacco cessation, weight loss, weight loss to manage diabetes and weight loss to manage hypertension. It is mainly being aimed toward employers in order to “help companies improve the health, vitality and satisfaction of employees and reduce employers’ healthcare costs.”

Proteus Biomedical is hoping to raise $50 million for “Raisin”, an “intelligent medicine suite of technology” created by the company, according to Mobi Health News. They have raised around $17.5 million in a recent round of funding. Proteus hasn’t been seen raising money in a few years, since Novartis, a company which piloted Raisin, invested $24 million in 2010.

The technology suite, “Raisin” includes “an ingestible biomedical sensor, a wearable, peel-and-stick patch, and a companion smartphone app.” According to another article on Mobi Health News, the “Raisin technology runs on an electric charge generated by the patient’s stomach acid,” and “the charge is detected through the patient’s body by a sensing patch on the patient’s skin.” Then, the time and date that the pill was taken is recorded by the patch, as well as other vitals such as heart rate and activity. This information is in turn sent to the app on the patient’s smart phone as well as the internet where others can review and analyze it.

The Raisin system has debuted in the UK and there are plans for it go live commercially in countries across Europe in the near future.

Fans of Simplee, a website similar to Mint.com for tracking medical expenses, will be pleased to hear that the company has finished Series A round of funding, bringing in $6 million. The Social+Capital Partnership led the round and investors in the company, Greylock Partners Israel, were involved.

While Simplee currently offers bill tracking and payments, this round of funding will allow the company to add plan recommendations, care recommendations, and eventually launch a mobile app. CEO Tom Shoval announced that a feature that detects and flags billing areas will be added soon as well. Other features that are already available in Simplee are tracking a person’s insurance company’s database and updating the customer’s profile when a new bill becomes available, lists how much both the customer and insurance company has to pay, and allows payments to be made directly through the site. It was launched a year ago and claims that the average Simplee bill pay user spends about $1,000 on bills by using the website, iwth more than 65% of users using the website regularly.

EHR Related Stocks Up 82% Since EHR Stimulus Package

Posted on November 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.

If you’re like me and work in the healthcare IT industry, you know that we’re in a really amazing environment right now. Turns out, healthcare IT related companies are enjoying the EHR stimulus money from the HITECH act as much or more than anyone else.

In an analysis by USA Today, they found that since 2009, the healthcare IT related companies stock value increased by an average of 82%. 11 of the 45 companies they analyzed they increased by a combined total of at least $20 billion since the HITECH act was passed.

They also break down how much each healthcare IT and EHR related stock increased since the HITECH act took effect:

  • 194% for Cerner;
  • 134% for Allscripts Healthcare Solutions;
  • 105% for Computer Programs and Systems;
  • 105% for McKesson;
  • 96% for Siemens;
  • 89% for UnitedHealth Group;
  • 83% for Accenture;
  • 55% for athenahealth;
  • 51% for Dell;
  • 34% for General Electric.
  • During that time, the stock value for Quality Systems dropped by 3%

Some pretty amazing numbers. Plus, it’s interesting to think that the stimulus money is just getting started. Greenway EHR users have gotten $5 million and Cerner EHR users have gotten well over $2.2 million in EHR incentive money.

I’m not stock analyst, but I’m sure these stocks will continue to grow in this frothy healthcare IT environment.

Some Interesting Thoughts from the EHR Summit

Posted on November 17, 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 enjoyed all day at the EHR Summit that’s being held by HBMA in Phoenix. It’s been a really interesting event for me. I had some sound bites from the Ron Sterling keynote queued up, but it’s not connecting to Twitter. So, I’ll see if I can post those tomorrow. Today, I thought I’d post some of my other tweets from the other session. I think you’ll find them interesting, enlightening, thought provoking or some other adjective. I really look forward to the discussion on this post.

EMR software has many versions of the same data. #interesting #EHRSummit11 Think about an HIE as well. They have a version of the data too

HIE’s aren’t good at getting the receiving doctor the second version of a clinical document. #interesting #EHRSummit11

Think about the records retention issues when you switch EHR software companies. Good thought. #EHRSummit11

If you haven’t lost a client to a hospital this year….you will next year. #EHRSummit11 #HBMA

How many EHR companies are billing companies? They have 7 listed on screen. Do you know of others? #EHRSummit11
They have MED3000, Allscripts, Greenway, NextGen, Athena, GE Centricity, Ingenix. Any other EHR companies do billing as well? #EHRSummit11

Shame on you if you hire an EHR Company and don’t check the references. Ask for a list of 10 in that specialty and size. #EHRSummit11

Pre-existing conditions, No lifetime maximum and kids on parents plan for longer are going to increase our insurance costs. #EHRSummit11

Definitely interesting to consider how the healthcare billing industry will be affected by things like ACO’s and concierge. #EHRSummit11

Super bills are going to go away once we get ICD-10. #EHRSummit11 #HBMA

The healthcare billing sales cycle is 12-18 months. #EHRSummit11

Since I’m putting some of my tweets. I also enjoyed a number of the tweets coming out of the ONC Meeting today. Here’s one that really hit me:

RT @INHSbeacon If you’ve seen one CCD, you’ve seen one CCD. Everyone interprets different, we need to find a standard to succeed #ONCMeeting

A Couple Initial NextGen User Group Meeting Observations #NextGenUGM

Posted on November 14, 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.

Today I’ve had the opportunity to come and check out the NextGen user group meeting. It was conveniently located in Las Vegas and the PR people at NextGen were generous enough to let me come by and get to learn more about NextGen from their actual users. I’ve gone to a lot of healthcare IT conferences (too many recently), but I love to be at user group meetings since you actually get to meet doctors, practice managers, etc that are working on EMR day in and day out. They provide a much different perspective than the health IT industry people that you often meet. Events like this give me a much better perspective of what’s happening in doctors’ offices with EMR.

NextGen announced 4200 in attendance at the user group meeting and I can attest that it’s a very large crowd. It’s quite interesting that the opening keynote was held in the same arena that Pacquiao vs Marquez was fought in a couple nights ago. Yep, that’s a pretty big crowd. Turns out, this big of crowd has its challenges. Not the least of which is having a bunch of the sessions that were completely full and didn’t allow people in. I heard at least one person tell me how frustrated they were that they’d spent a lot of money to attend and couldn’t go to the session they wanted. NextGen is working to offer a repeat of the session, so hopefully that will work out for people that are upset. A part of me wonders why they don’t record all the sessions, but when you read their social media policy for attendees (Something about not revealing NextGen’s proprietary info) you get a better idea of why they wouldn’t probably like that idea.

I could go on about the particulars of the conference, but so far it’s been a well organized and well attended event.

One quick thought I had during the Scott Decker keynote was about NextGen’s focus on SaaS based solutions. Here’s what I tweeted:

Those are just a few examples, but it seemed very clear to me that NextGen sees SaaS as the future and they’re working hard to make that a reality. I’ll write about this in a future post when I talk about some of the things Scott Decker mentioned that can really only be done in the SaaS environment.

In some of my talks with NextGen users, I asked them about the theme of web based EHR software. One in particular has 30 Citrix servers serving all of their clients. You can imagine that they don’t have any plans to move to a web based environment in the near future with such a large investment in Citrix. So, it will be interesting to see how these two forces play out.

I also saw this tweet coming out of the conference which I found really interesting:

It’s an interesting way to look at EHR adoption. Little insights like this are a really great part of a conference like this. The nice thing is that with the power of Twitter, you can get a number of the insights from the user group yourself. Just follow the hashtag #NextGenUGM.

Finding Jobs for ONC Workforce Program Participants

Posted on August 25, 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.

In response to my post about the ONC Workforce program, I got sent the following message:

I have also completed the ONC Workforce Program. Ms. Feldman is not exaggerating about its difficulty, though my program did not have assignment deadlines. Her comments prove to be another verification that the programs present the standard materials differently. We were told that the course work would take 15-20 hrs/wk, but found we had to double that to complete within 6 months (and work around the high attrition from instructors). When she mentions spelling errors, and missing or duplicated material, it may sound trivial until one sees the extent of the errors. In May, a “corrected” version of the material was released, however. I don’t know the extent of improvement because I completed the program with the beta version.

Perhaps worth discussion is the fact that there are few internships and NO positions that want HITECH graduates without Epic, NextGen, Allscripts, or GE Centricity experience. These vendors do not have classes/seminars on their software, except for facilities who have purchased their product.

When added together, I believe the Workforce Development Program has put people through an enormous amount of pressure, lost many capable people along the way (7000 entered, 2280 completed, according to ONC) and, because back-end gaps for transitioning into entry-level HIT positions exist, we are unable to gain entry to the fastest growing segment for the labor force. That helps nobody.

My heart definitely goes out to these people who’ve gone through the courses and can’t find the jobs. I was particularly taken back by the comment in the middle about there being no positions that want HITECH graduates without the specific EHR experience. Although, I think that might be location specific. Or maybe I just got lucky getting my first job in the EMR world without any EMR experience. I still remember when they asked me to tell them about my experience in healthcare and I responded, “I’ve been to a doctor.” So, there are exceptions, but you have to find them.

I took a few looks at the jobs listed on my EMR and EHR jobs board. Based on past postings, I can definitely say that it’s competitive to apply for an EMR job. Even if there’s a real need for a well trained healthcare IT workforce. I’m not sure if that’s a function of a down economy shifting many workers into healthcare or what.

I welcome other ONC Workforce Program participants to share their experiences in the comments. What have you found that works? Where can other graduates look for EMR and healthcare IT related jobs? I’ll be interested to hear your stories and suggestions.