Electronic Medical Records – Many Choices and Integration/Aggregation Need to Be at the Top of the List
Posted Sep 10 2009 10:25pm
It is a tough spot to be in today with many choices, but the one focus when looking at a system is to look at one that will “talk” to other systems, perhaps one that will enable communication with a hospital. Years ago when the early systems came on to the market, everything was self contained in the office, not so by today’s standards. Since this time we also have the PHRs, personal health records that have entered the game, and this emerging process will become stronger and adapted more as time moves forward. I wrote an EMR during those early times and when web 2.0 became the focus, well it was a job much larger than one single consultant could handle as far as support, etc. Here are a couple links to systems below that offer integration. I have covered both here on the blog as well as other systems.
One other item worth mentioning as well is the hardware being used in the office, don’t try and use computers that are over 5 years old to do the job, they don’t have the speed and processing power to handle modern day systems, upgrade! My own personal preference too is to consider a Tablet PC for entry and mobility around the office and a cell phone for when you are mobile. Mobility and having information at your fingertips when you are outside the office is also an emerging area.
Dr. Crounse at Microsoft recently wrote about a visit to his doctor, who had a system that was structured more for working at the hospital level and the frustrations his doctor has currently. Record systems that work well for hospitals may not be the answer for a practice with the way the office functions, thus an integrated system where the practice and hospital “talk” to each other can provide the best of both worlds, and in the long run, the best data available for taking care of the patients, the number one concern above all of this.
Two keywords to keep in mind today are: Integration and Aggregation.
These 2 processes are what makes the data world go around and you need both. Ask someone who can break this down into “plain English” for you, and be open to learn a few new tricks as you move through this process. Work with some of the Web 2.0 free software programs and experiment, that will help you get a handle on where all of this is moving today and maybe “baby step” it so the entire concept and experience is not overwhelming. BD
On one proposal for health care reform at least, there is a rare bipartisan consensus: the push to computerize patient records.
So even as the Obama administration and Congress struggle with broad health policy legislation, the technology industry is pursuing the opportunity in digital health records as never before. Although most of the government money will not start flowing until next year, the companies hoping to get their share include technology giants like General Electric, I.B.M. and the big telecommunications company, Verizon. Also in the hunt are smaller health technology specialists like Athenahealth, eClinicalWorks and Practice Fusion.
On Thursday, Dell, the personal computer maker, plans to join the scramble in earnest, announcing its plan to form a partnership with hospital groups around the country to offer electronic health records — hardware, software, consulting services and financing — to their affiliated physicians. Dell, like the other players, sees the big opportunity as being in offices with 10 doctors or fewer, where three-fourths of the nation’s physicians practice medicine.
Faster networks, improved wireless connections and more affordable tablet PCs or small desktops promise to make the shift to digital patient records less cumbersome these days. But technical assistance and user guidance are also needed. And several companies plan to offer bridge financing to doctors to ease the burden of initial investment costs until the government begins making payments, which can be up to $44,000 for each doctor, from 2011 to 2015.
EClinicalWorks has added four data centers in the last year, bringing the total to 10, for hosting electronic health records as a service over the Internet. The company offers its records both as conventional PC software and as a Web service. “The software as a service is where the biggest growth is,” said Girish Kumar Navani, president of eClinicalWorks.