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ONC Health IT Infographic

These are some really interesting numbers. The one that hit me is the percentage of doctors and hospitals which were meaningful users of an EHR. We’ll see how that percentage changes over time. No doubt EHR has made huge progress since the EHR incentive money was put in place.

ONC Health IT Infographic

September 25, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 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.

Preventable Issues Arise When Paper Documentation is Used

It’s an unfortunate truth that the health care system is not fool proof, and mistakes happen. Many of these mistakes happen because of paperwork that is lost, unreadable, or misplaced. Even with the implementation of EMRs across the country, many healthcare providers are still relying on paper for many aspects of their practice. Referral MD created an infographic that shows some of the current problems in healthcare related to using paper documents:

Pretty scary, if you ask me. Doctor’s are notorious for having terrible handwriting, but 7000 patients die a year because of it? And 30 percent of tests have to be reordered because the orders were misplaced? These statistics are startling, in large part because they are preventable. Those are only two of the facts presented in this infographic, and in combination with everything else, it makes me wonder why anyone that has an EMR would still use paper, and why the practices that don’t use EMRs haven’t started. It makes me not want to trust the system even more.

I can see how patients and doctors alike may find it hard to switch over. When I wasn’t given a physical, paper prescription to take to the pharmacy to get my son’s medication, I was a bit taken back, but it made things so much easier when I actually arrived at the pharmacy. I compare that to the many prescriptions and lab orders I lost during my pregnancy because I set it down and forgot to pick it up again, never to find it again until months later while doing some cleaning. It made me really wish my OB/GYN had electronic documents more incorporated into his practice. I’m curious to see if he has any EMR at all. Since he’s been a doctor for 40+ years, maybe he’s having a hard time making the switch.

It’s one thing if a person dies from a terminal illness, but to pass away because of a preventable mistake is uncalled for. I realize that no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. But when a mistake could mean someone dying, a patient’s information being misused, or a HIPAA violation occurring, something is wrong. Hopefully as EMRs become better and more practices have them, paper documentation will become a thing of the past, and these mistakes, breeches, and all other issues that are related to using paper, will go that way as well.

November 5, 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.

EHR Adoption to Potentially Reach 80 Percent by 2016

Meaningful Use incentives and cloud computing are two factors that are helping EHR become more widespread across the country. According to a new IDC MarketScape report, EHR will be adopted in more than 80 percent of health care organizations by 2016. In 2009, only 25% of health organizations had implemented EHR into their practices.

Because smart phones and tablets are becoming more and more prevalent in the health care scene, this is thought to be a driving force in the increase in EHR throughout the country.

The IDC report examined 11 EMR/EHR products in the United States. Athenahealth and eClinical works were recognized for their pricing modles, while Optum was found to have excellent collaboration with a health insurer.

However, even though this growth is predicted, adoption in small practices isn’t growing very fast. Of the companies examined, the companies that was most popular among small practices were AllScripts and eClinicalWorks, though Cerner, GE Healthcare and NextGen Healthcare Information Systems also appeal to these small practices. Although the incentive program is supposed to aid in adoption EHR, Judy Hanover, the research director at IDC Health Insights, believes that small practices will not benefit long term if only the meaningful use guidelines are being met.

This seems like a relatively small EHR market study with plenty of EHR vendor bias. However, it’s one more data point to consider when you look at the future of the EHR market. I personally don’t believe we’ll be anywhere near 80% EHR adoption by 2016, but I’d love to be proved wrong.

June 13, 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.

REC Numbers for REACH (Minnesota and North Dakota Doctors)

For those not familiar with the RECs (Regional Extension Centers), REACH, a nonprofit federal Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center, helps providers and clinics throughout Minnesota and North Dakota to either optimize current EHR or implement EHR into their practice. They aim to help different providers and clinics to reach stage 1 meaningful use in a year or less. REACH offers many services in their program to reach this goal, such as readiness and meaningful use assessments, contract review and coaching, organization and workflow redesign, and basic report writing.

REACH recently put out some numbers about their EHR reach that were quite interesting. Currently more than 4,700 providers and 513 clinics are benefiting from the services offered by REACH. They have reached above their goal by helping 3,600 priority primary care providers (this goal was exceeded by 1,149). Below are some recent REACH numbers:

  • 4,749 priority primary care providers
  •  3,541 e-prescribing and quality reporting
  • 301 having achieved meaningful use
  • 104 critical access/rural hospitals (84% of eligible hospitals
  • 33 e-prescribing and quality reporting
  • 11 having achieved meaningful use

Below is a really interesting map that shows the locations of clinics and hospitals currently served by REACH.

I appreciate RECs like REACH that are putting out the data for how many doctors they’ve helped. What do people think of the RECs now?

June 7, 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 Sales at $18 Billion in 2011

Healthcare Financial News posted the following number of the EMR market.

Propelled by government incentives, a desire to improve patient outcomes and the bottom line, sales of electronic medical records reached $17.9 billion in 2011, up 14.2 percent from the previous year, according to market research publisher Kalorama Information.

I’m not sure of the exact EHR incentive figures for 2011, but I have seen the number $3.1 billion paid to 43,000 providers from Justin Barnes. It’s no doubt somewhere in that range and is an interesting number to compare against the $14.2 billion in EHR sales in 2011.

That’s quite a big difference in number. I’m sure many doctors would easily argue that the difference is because the EHR incentive money doesn’t cover all the costs to get an EHR. I’m sure there were also many EHRs purchased in 2011 that won’t see EHR incentive money until 2012. It will be really interesting to see these numbers again at the end of 2012. I also wish they’d have broken the number out by hospital EHR and ambulatory EHR. I have a feeling that hospital EHR software dominates that number.

March 23, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 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.

EMR Market $8.3 Billion by 2016

I saw this tweet a little while ago that caught my eye.


Millennium Research Group predicts #EHR software market will reach $8.3 billion by 2016. Read more: http://t.co/AndxfJod
@NaviNet
NaviNet, Inc.

According to the linked article, the Millenium Research Group is predicting strong revenue growth for the next half-decade. It also says that the medicare reimbursement penalties will continue to drive EHR demand.

Probably even more amazing than the market number is they say that 750 companies offering some kind of EMR solution entered the space in the span of two years.

None of this is really news for us participating in the space. Although, I imagine the $8.3 billion EMR market number will make its way into a number of investor presentations.

December 12, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 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.

90% of Doctors Expect to Have EHR Within 3 Years per USA Today

@ElinoreBoeke – Elinore Boeke
90% of surveyed doctors expect to have EHRs within three years usat.ly/tSgBNG #HealthIT #EHR via @USATODAY

The survey also sets EHR adoption at 46% and quotes someone saying there are 1000 EHR software vendors out there. Well, I think all of those numbers are way off.

First, expect that doctors won’t meet their expectations cause 90% of doctors won’t have EHR within 3 years.

Second, I think we’re closer to 25-30% adoption. 46% probably includes a lot of people who have a PMS, but no real EMR. Maybe they do 1 or 2 small EHR like function.

Third, 1000 EHR software vendors, really? Even if you expand to things like ePrescribing I’d put the number closer to 600. If you take out the partial EHR software companies, I think it’s closer to 300. Granted, there are more and more EHR software coming out each day.

November 30, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 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.

About Half of EHR Incentive Money Goes to Existing EHR Users

iWatch News recently put out an article talking about a survey that suggests that about half of the EHR incentive money is going to EHR users that have been using an EHR since well before the HITECH act.

Here’s an excerpt describing the process they used to get the 50% existing EHR user number:

iWatch News attempted through phone and email to interview all providers who had received the money; 62, or about a third, of the 188 distinct practices (some with multiple doctors who received money) and hospital chains on the list chose to respond. Health providers were asked for the brand of the technology they installed, when they installed it, whether they would recommend it to other providers and whether they have had any problems with it.

Of those who responded to the questions, almost half of the providers had installed the technology in the years before the stimulus program was announced — some dating as far back as the 1990s.

This doesn’t sound like the most statistically significant survey that there could be. Plus, I’d be interested to know what date they used for when someone “implemented” their EMR and when the HITECH Act actually had any influence on their EHR decision making process. The point being that I’m guessing that a large number of those surveyed were counted as being in the 50% that were influenced by the HITECH Act when in fact many of them probably barely knew about the HITECH Act and had started their EHR implementation or would have started their EHR implementation with or without their HITECH Act.

While the article spins this as the government incentive not increasing EHR adoption, I’d say that 50% is a pretty good number. I’d have thought that the number of existing EHR users that got the EHR incentive money would be a lot higher. Maybe it actually is based on what I said in the last paragraph.

As far as the EHR stimulus money going to already implemented EHR installs, it’s not as bad as what some may say. Sure, if the goal of the HITECH Act was just to get widespread EHR adoption, then it would be considered a failure on that count. However, there are some benefits that go beyond new EHR adoption. For example, many of the existing EHR users were no doubt using old EHR software that could have been upgraded, but never was upgraded. Meaningful use and the EHR incentive money has required them to do the upgrades and will require that they stay up to date as the new MU stages come out. Using the latest software release is good on many levels.

Another advantage of meaningful use and EHR incentives for long time EHR users is it gets them to actually use the software. I know it’s a unique concept, but unless you’re in the industry you probably don’t realize that many many many EHR implementations only use about 10% of the features that are available. We could argue whether meaningful use gets them using the right features, but as doctors investigate meaningful use they’ll often find EMR features they didn’t realize existed or were too lazy to implement. Many times this helps a doctor become more efficient and enjoy use of their EHR software. Both great things.

October 12, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 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.

Slow Rise of EHR Adoption

I love all the discussion that happens around EHR adoption. The funny thing about it all is that we honestly don’t really know. We don’t have any really solid number, because there’s no good way to measure EHR adoption. Plus, I think that we’d see drastically different EHR adoption trends based on location, practice size and specialty.

However, I think one thing is clear: EHR adoption has gone quite slow.

I read someone today talking about slow EHR adoption even in the midst of billions of dollars of incentives from the government. I think this is true. Even with all that money out there, doctors are still not adopting EHR software in droves.

Part of me says that this is a good thing. I think the worst thing that can happen to EHR is for a doctor who doesn’t want an EHR to adopt one. If they’re not on board with the idea of an EHR, then they just make work miserable for themselves and everyone around them. I see buy-in for an EHR implementation as the key determining factor for success of an EHR implementation. So, I don’t think we can force the issue.

As I consider this point, I was trying to think what movement or trend could make doctors want to implement an EHR in their clinic. One that popped into my head was insurance companies requiring use of an EHR. I know very few cash only doctors out there, so if they had to use an EHR to get their insurance payments, we’d see a drastic change in physicians perspective on EHR. Sure, some would still not like it, but they’d do it. I just don’t really see the path to where insurance companies will do this.

Another method will be if doctors start losing patients because they don’t have an EHR. We’re still a ways from this I think. I don’t think it’s clear in the consumer mind the benefits to them as a patient for the doctor to use an EHR. They’re going to get their prescription (or other healthcare service) either way. Should there be a new field on insurance companies list of providers that says “EHR User”?

What other trends could happen that would make EHR adoption basically a requirement to stay in business as a doctor? Thoughts on what could turn the tide. It seems the HITECH carrot and stick still isn’t totally moving the needle.

September 21, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 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.

EMR Systems Spawn Cottage Industry: Scribes

One of the limiting factors when it comes to EMR systems is that it requires some amount of training to use an EMR system. Doctors are in the habit of writing down notes, or dictating them into dictaphones for transcribing later. So the idea of an EMR system that requires typed input can easily face some resistance, just based on the process change it requires. And hence the rise of a new class of health IT worker – the scribe.

Having a scribe taking notes at hand would’ve seriously helped me like my doctor better at my last appointment. This was someone whom I was meeting on account of a referral – I didn’t already have an established relationship with the doctor. The doctor and an assistant spent about a third of their time figuring out how to enter my scans into the EMR system. I don’t know what was at fault – the newly acquired iPad or an EMR they didn’t know how to use. They were effusive with their apologies but I couldn’t help feeling that I got the short end of the stick when the doc rushed through the rest of my visit and quickly ushered me out. A competent scribe, well versed in their EMR of choice, might have really helped.

 There have been a slew of articles about the rise of scribes in health IT. They started sounding really promising to me, especially when I considered how one could tail a doctor on his/her rounds with patients, and gain some insight into the business of being a doctor from the ground up. I checked out a couple of companies (ScribeAmerica, EM Scribe Systems) that train medical scribes and source them out to ERs. EM Scribe Systems’ application form states that it requires a one or two year commitment, wants to know what your future med school plans are. The pay anywhere is between $8-$16/hour (scroll to the bottom of the page). The higher end of that range gets paid with scribe experience.

(Seriously? If medical transcription can be outsourced to India and Philippines, why set the bar so high for medical scribe jobs? Or alternatively, if the bar is so high, why not pay better?)

I guess the pre-med scribes are approaching it from a different aspect – the real payback for them comes from understanding the medical aspect. The EMR system is merely a tool to an end.

September 19, 2011 I Written By

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