Big Winners from Obama EHR Stimulus HITECH

UPDATE: Check out this post I did updating the Big Winners from the HITECH EHR Stimulus Incentive Program.

Whenever government decides to spend $20 billion, there are bound to be a lot of winners. The money has to go somewhere. I previously posted how I think that EHR adoption won’t significantly increase because of HITECH. However, there will be some BIG winners from this legislation. Lets’s take a quick look at a few of them.

  • EHR Vendors – I don’t think there’s any doubt that vendors will benefit from $18 billion of investment in EHR.  The legislation was signed yesterday, and I’ve already seen ads for Allscripts talking about learning about the EHR stimulus.  Marketers for every “certified” EHR are going to beat this stimulus like a dead horse.
  • Health Care IT Consultants (ohhh…maybe I should become one) – Business should be just fine for EHR and health care IT consultants despite the current economic crisis.  I didn’t think there were enough before.  Even a small increase in EHR adoption will mean higher demand for health care IT consultants.
  • Existing EHR Users – Despite my feeling that this stimulus won’t stimulate EHR adoption, I do think that already implemented EHR users should benefit from this EHR stimulus.  I didn’t read any “first time home buyer” provision in this legislation.  This could mean a bit of free (minus a little paperwork) cash for those who find themselves already using a certified EHR.
  • CCHIT (if they get chosen) – This is a big IF, but I believe that CCHIT’s survival hinges on them being chosen as the certification required to receive stimulus.  It would say a lot if they weren’t chosen.  Let’s hope HHS has the guts to not choose them despite the incredible lobbying efforts I’m sure they’ll receive.
  • Hospital Systems – I’m familiar with one hospital system that has over 100 multi specialty clinics with many of them using a centralized EHR.  Seems like a great investment to pay someone to make sure they meet the required standards.  100 clinics X number of doctors in a clinic X $40k = a lot of money
  • Health and Human Services (HHS) – Even just the $2 billion in discretionary funding is a huge boost to that organization.
  • Obama’s HIT Donors

Anyone else I should add to the list?

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

14 Comments

  • CCHIT is another government bureaucracy that increases the cost of healthcare by setting standards driven more by vendors rather than by physicians.

    Yes standards should be adhered to by all EMR vendors. These standards are currently being set by a quasi governmental agency (CCHIT) and are paid for by big EMR vendors. These guys have a significant investment in legacy systems built on old technology.

    Newer systems are nimble and quick to adapt to changing needs and don’t have a legacy heritage of 10-15 years of old software code to support. The new guys don’t have 2000 customers paying for software support but they do have software that works significantly better and meets the specific needs of physicians. Don’t penalize good software with CCHIT testing for standards submitted by old software vendors.

  • Jerry,
    I couldn’t agree with you more.

    I would argue that because new EMR vendors don’t have 2000 customers they HAVE to be nimble and creative in order to stay alive. Otherwise, they won’t sell any software and will be out of business really quick.

  • Agree with not mandating CCHIT. The vendors that are on the current list don’t sell anything that is usable in the ER.

    If that is a requirement they can keep the stimulus money or send more so that I can hire a scribe to try and keep up.

  • I’d be happy if the government really was sending money. Not just hiding the money in Medicare “bonuses” that many doctors will think they’re going to get, but end up left out in the cold.

  • With Glen Tullman acting as Obama’s “HIT adviser”, you betcha that the rest of the venders most likely be losers. It’ll eventually be Allscripts as the lonely EMR company standing, not unlike what Cerner and another Brit EMR have in England.

    I’d take out “Obama’s HIT Donors” and just put in “Allscripts”. Period. End of story.

    I guess the Hobbs Act doesn’t apply anymore to quid pro quo activity. This is Chicago politics at its best.

    You are right, though, in that most likely the $18 billion won’t be spent- the bar is way too high. In one poll over at http://www.sermo.com, 90% of sermonians were planning on sitting this one out for a long while.

    Al

  • Do you really think that Allscripts is the only EMR vendor lobbying (among other things) Obama?

    That’s an interesting poll. I’m going to post a poll myself and see what my readers think.

  • All I see is one “personal HIT adviser” to Obama. All HIMSS vendors are giving money to politicians, but from my analysis, Allscripts is the top of the heap with their multi-thousand dollar donations to Obama. Fortunately for them they also backed the right candidate. NextGen for example, went Republican.

  • Existing EHR users should benefit. As with our group, we borrowed money,are still trying to pay off the loan, and have paid a lot of interest. The lending institution likely benefited from the bailout (who knows) but those that made the leap should benefit, they paid the ultimate price already and are mentors for those to follow.

  • Clyde,
    Hopefully those who have implemented an EHR like yourself will benefit. Funny thing is that this seems like an unintended benefit of the HITECH act since it seems like the original plan for the $18 billion was to stimulate EHR adoption.

    I guess helping people who’ve already implemented an EHR pay off the loans/expenses of an EHR might make those doctors stronger advocates for EHR. The industry could use a set of strong EHR advocates to encourage their colleagues to adopt EHR.

  • CCHIT servers as a good screening tool for the busy physician, looking to buy and implement an EMR. Most physicians in my community lack even the basic knowledge about and EMR. Some have tried and failed or are using a limited product because of selecting an EMR that wasn’t CCHIT certified. One of our local cardiologist bought a product, he still can’t autofax his consult notes to our fax server after 3 years. Still can’t e-scribe. He paid nearly as much as our practice of 6 practitioners. There could and should be alternative advisory or “Good Housekeeping Seal” organizations but at least there is an organization out there reviewing, testing, probing and keeping their ear to the ground for HIT standards.

  • I disagree with you on CCHIT as a good screening tool for physicians. I do agree that most physicians are busy and need a tool to help them select an EMR, because most don’t have the time, interest or desire (which really turns into expertise) to select an EMR that is fully functional. However, I believe that there are as many bad CCHIT certified EMR as there are uncertified EMR. A doctor choosing a CCHIT certified EMR could end up with an unusable EMR just as easily as someone who chose an EMR that isn’t certified.

    I agree that there needs to be an alternative advisory or “Good Housekeeping Seal” to help physicians. Just haven’t seen it yet. Hopefully someone will come out with one soon.

  • I think having CCHIT be a requirement is going to delay goals of universal healthcare. I understand, due to their involvement, it would be crazy for HHS to say they don’t qualify. They dominate a good section of the industry. I also don’t think CCHIT has the same capabilities as specialty EHR systems who don’t want to share their secrets. I mean, those guys who have created software applications can make apps that can interface with the current system. Why would they want to give their hard work to CCHIT? For passes? I don’t think so… in EHR, think of the victim. It is the patients who get their privacy exposed. I really think that the money should state justification and verification of the security implemented by every healthcare agency that implements a EHR system. Incorporate it into mandatory surveys. We run through close to a 1000 small businesses a year telling them of HIPAA Security and only now some are starting to implement the required laws to secure an EHR, others (more than 60%) leave their patient’s files vulnerable. It’s a problem because of the stimulus you all are talking about. Hope we incorporate an auditing system fast!

  • Dumatek CEO,
    I’d expect some addition to measuring the privacy of a doctor’s office, but don’t expect major changes.

    Luckily, CCHIT has kind of been discarded by the HIT Policy Committee. CCHIT might be a certifying body, but hopefully they’re not the only one. Although, I’m guessing that CCHIT will continue like they were doing before the stimulus money and try to sell their cert themselves.

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