Rising Above the EHR and Meaningful Use Noise

There’s some really good comments happening on my previous post about EMR companies with an “In” with doctors. Check it out and join in with your thoughts. One of the comments reminded me of another interesting issue with all of these EMR vendors trying to vie for your attention. How does an EMR system rise above all the noise? Or if you prefer the doctor perspective, how can a doctor notice the really innovative and useful EMR companies amidst all the noise?

This is a serious problem and sadly I don’t know a very good answer. I talked with one company who was considering going into the EMR field and they said, “We know we can create a great product that works better than those that are present. Although, if we do, will anyone even notice.”

It’s a fine question that reminds me of my post about EMR software possibly being a commodity. Maybe it’s not a commodity, but the noise of 300+ EMR companies and meaningful use relegates it to a commodity because no one can tell the difference with all the noise. Bad singers sound a lot better in a noisy restaurant.

Basically, is there anything that an EMR system could say they deliver that would rise above the noise? In fact, this is essentially the question that I posted to the new Healthcare Scene LinkedIn group (You should join). I get a lot of pitches all the time running this site, and I’m not sure I’ve seen any EMR company have an iPad-onian (my new word for how the iPad revived the tablet industry) moment.

The biggest problem with this is that EMR vendors are saying everything under the sun. Including things that the EMR system can’t deliver.

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.


  • Do modular certified EMR’s qualify for meaningful use and also qualify for full incentive payouts?

  • Chris,
    Modular certified EHR software can qualify for meaningful use and the EHR incentive payouts. Although, they can’t do it on their own. Although, if you combine the modular certified EHR with other modular or full certified EHR software, then you can qualify. Clear as mud huh?

    The good thing is that you can go to the ONC CHPL website ( http://onc-chpl.force.com/ehrcert ) and select the certified EHR software which you use and it will tell you if combined it meets the criteria.

    So, for example, maybe you have a modularly certified EHR that is certified for everything but ePrescribing. You could then also purchase a certified ePrescribing software and together they would be considered a complete certified EHR that would qualify you for the EHR incentive money.

    At least this is my understanding of the intent. I’m sure there are going to be lots of intricacies without clear answers.

  • The one claim that would get physicians’ attention would be “no keyboard.” Of course, this implies speech and/or writing recognition, and the technology for that isn’t ready (yet.)

    “Meaningful Use” has become meaningless as physicians have come to realize that 1) almost no one will fully meet the criteria for phase 1 in time 2) Phase 2 is going to blow many of those who got close out of the water (if it ever gets defined, of course…), and 3) everyone promises to meet the requirements, anyway.

    Connectivity, compatibility and other terms implying connectedness are also recognized as approximately pointless, because there are still very few entities to hook up with, and the expense remains quite high. Pharmacies and labs are leading the way, not EMR vendors, and this will change in a couple of years.

    CCHIT certification means nothing to providers – it is simply expected now. When the FDA steps into the certification fray this Fall, that will give vendors with an inside line to the FDA a few months worth of sales ammo, but it will rapidly become just another expensive “standard feature.”

    Vendors have given up on database capabilities for small practices, because they lack the expertise (and, sometimes, the data volume) to mine and manipulate the data. Some hospital systems care, but not many; most just don’t have the budget for it.

    For most physicians, asking them to evaluate an EMR on its merits might as well be equated to asking them to evaluate interplanetary propulsion systems; they simply don’t have the expertise to do so. But a keyboard (or lack thereof) is something they can relate to.

  • A Davis,
    Interesting line of thinking. I’d have to agree that a keyboardless EMR interface would be pretty compelling. I think I’ll do a post about the idea. I’ll be sure to point to your comment to give you credit.

    I have to disagree with you on those trying to meet MU stage 1. I expect almost everyone that tries will get it. It’s self attestation for heaven’s sake. MU Stage 2 may be a different story. We’ll see.

    I agree on connectivity. Although, we’ve started to see some movement. I’m just not quite sure if it’s enough to see real change or if it’s just talk.

    Why do you think the FDA will step into the EHR world in Fall?

    “For most physicians, asking them to evaluate an EMR on its merits might as well be equated to asking them to evaluate interplanetary propulsion systems; they simply don’t have the expertise to do so.”
    Sadly true. Mostly due to lack of effort/time/energy/interest/etc.

  • […] I’ve seen this so many times. Sometimes it goes to outrageous extremes that you almost have to just laugh at the situation. I think the core of the problem is the 600+ EHR companies that are all vying for the physician’s attention. It’s an incredible challenge for physicians to sift through all the EHR noise. […]

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