EHR Regulation Vs. Innovation

The following is a guest blog post by Marina Simonian, Product Manager and Jessica Naftaniel, Sales & Marketing Coordinator at gMed. Check out gMed’s whitepaper on Independent Gastroenterology.

In the past few years EHR technology vendors and healthcare providers alike have struggled with a myriad of regulatory requirements, from PQRS and eRX incentive programs, to ASC quality reporting, to Meaningful Use, ICD-10 and beyond. The next few years are set to bring even more challenging requirements for interoperability, patient engagement, quality metrics and clinical decision support. Being a technology and services vendor, we always strive to provide the most efficient, innovative and high quality products to our clients.

But how innovative can you get in this era of regulatory overload?

On one hand, innovation on a deadline is almost an oxymoron. Especially with such restrictive guidelines. One could only imagine what type of innovative, amazing solutions could be developed with the amount of time and resources that have been thrown in to meeting regulatory requirements.

On the other hand, necessity is the mother of invention.

As a direct result of numerous new regulatory measures and government requirements, many EHR providers are simply throwing components together to meet requirements and pass a certification.  Features which are put together hastily may make life more difficult for the people using their products, and might not last long on the market.

However, keeping your eye on the long term goal and looking beyond regulation helps to see some of the great benefits that can still arise from this race. When, for example, the DirectTrust and similar organizations come together to facilitate sharing of patient information securely across various healthcare entities, this may be a huge step to, perhaps, someday in the future, being able to tap into a centralized patient record and get the data you need, exactly when you need it, regardless of your location or affiliation.

And while for some vendors it makes perfect sense to focus on a limited number of features and bring value with those few, there are some others who choose to bring the value of integration and are a one-stop-shop for all of their users’ Electronic Health Record software needs. It is not an easy task by any means. And the best attestation to that is in the astounding difference in complete certified EHRs between 2011 and 2014.  In the end, whichever path one chooses, only those who are able to keep the long term focus on innovation above regulation, to put efficiency and ease of use above merely meeting a requirement, and to remember that improvement of patient care and overall population health is the ultimate goal, will be able to withstand the regulatory storms.

For more information on gMed’s innovative technology, visit us at gMed provides the gastroenterology industry with a fully integrated platform consisting of an Electronic Health Record, Endoscopy Report Writer, Practice Management solution, Patient Portal and a Data Analytics tool. Fully scalable through the cloud or using an on-site server, gMed’s products are all Meaningful Use Certified and ICD-10 ready.

Full Disclosure: gMed is an advertiser on this site.

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1 Comment

  • Agree.

    The federal government has stultified the evolution of truly good products by mandating compliance with non-fluid standards of its own choosing, standards that may once have been but may not now or soon won’t be best at achieving the most health for the most people at the least cost.

    I wonder if the ultimate objective of health-care systems (and health care in general) is inadequately understood, or there is inadequate consensus about it, in our time. Our time, beginning only 60 or so years ago, is so different than all previous human history. We have learned so much more than our predecessors ever knew, we can do so much more than they ever could. We have a much better idea of what doesn’t work, what isn’t effective. Maybe it’s not surprising that we haven’t exactly figured out the best way to do it all. Health screening of generally healthy people, health maintenance of people with chronic, slowly progressive or non-progressive diseases, risk-factor management and treatment of acute illness or injury are all different projects that demand unique approaches. Effective systems that advance people’s health have to respect the differences in these different projects. Staying current with rapidly changing best-treatment practices has to be an integral part of these systems or they can’t be really good. You can’t get there if your goal is just to comply with the last set of regulations.

    Let’s at least recognize that government-mandated standards lead to stabilization of nothing more than the quality floor of health care. I suppose there is value in that. I agree that we’ve sacrificed or at least gravely interfered with progress towards higher-quality systems above the lowest levels by focussing on complying with these government regulations. We can do better, but we need to expand our gaze.

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