In a perfect world, an EMR vendor would be completely focused on the customer in developing their EMR software. They’d be very deliberate in their development process where they’d consider feedback from existing users while still finding the perfect balance of planning for future needs and satisfying the current needs. It’s a pretty simple concept to talk about the customer driving the development of EMR software. Yet, it’s much harder to actually do.
What makes this even more difficult is the EMR stimulus money. Ok, not the money itself, but the regulations around becoming a certified EHR and doctors needing to show meaningful use. Instead of EMR vendors focusing their development effort on what is best for the customers (doctors and patients) they will instead be focusing their development on a set of criteria that the government has imposed on them and doctors.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. It’s from an email I received from an EMR vendor:
At least I have a target that I can aim for. Up to now, it has just been a matter of speculation. Whether I like the criteria or not, it is now definitive and the arguments of whether it really makes a doctor productive are now academic.
Unfortunately meaningful use has started to dominate the EMR landscape and there’s no end in sight. Instead of having EMR vendors focus on creating innovative products that solve customer needs, they’ll have their focus (at least temporarily) moved to the list of government requirements. Oh, and the good news is that this is just stage 1 of the meaningful use guidelines.
If we assume that the meaningful use guidelines are the way that EMR software should be developed, then we should end up with a good result. If the meaningful use guidelines point to the wrong targets, then we’re going to have a set of EMR software that no one really wants to use.
Then there’s the reality. Meaningful use does have some good components that will benefit EMR development and healthcare in general and has a number of components that don’t make much sense at all. The problem I have is that the good components were things that EMR software were doing already. So, what are we really achieving?
Are there any EHR vendors left that plan to pave a development road map that doesn’t fulfill all of the meaningful use requirements?