Monday, March 23, 2009

Emeril says, "Visit IO Practiceware at Booth 3032!"

IO Practiceware will exhibit its software at Booth 3032 (see above) at the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery's 2009 Congress and Symposium this coming April 3-8 in San Francisco, CA.

We'll be demonstrating many of our new features, including:
1) New e-prescribing software - in partnership with SureScripts, our software delivers to your practice Medicare's 2% incentive. (Read more...) 2) New PQRI software - providing you with better automation for reporting PQRI measures. 3) New image management software - enabling you to view multiple images on your electronic chart, between visits, and across several diagnostic tests and images -- which essentially means better comparative capabilities. 4) New financial management and scheduling software. Based on customer feedback, we have revamped these key features to provide you with a clearer economy of information, more accessible references for faster payment posting, and clearer streams of display.

Finding booths at ASCRS can be tricky, so write down our number! 3032! 3032. Yes: 3032.

As a mnemonic: envision Emeril Lagasse violently yelling, "Booth 3032!" while throwing spices into a steaming cauldron.

Interest in EMR Explodes!

That's right, you heard me! EMR and health care IT use has more than doubled in five years, a new American College of Physician Executives survey says. According to a core group of 10,000 ACPE members, use of electronic medical records has skyrocketed from 33.1% to 64.5%, and only 5.9% of participants said they were not preparing for future implementation.

For those who had not yet adopted EMR or were reluctant to begin planning, "cost" was cited as the primary concern. Indeed, physicians and their practice teams can become overwhelmed if they consider EMR systems as being revenue-negative.

In response, IO Practiceware hopes you will read this recent post on EMR cost vs. EMR value.

And then we hope you will join us in the EMR revolution!

(Source:'s "Doc use of IT up; money still key issue")

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Is Wal-Mart off the Wall(-Mart)? Thoughts on EMR Cost

Wal-Mart, beloved and reviled omnivendor, plans to sell "affordable" EMR software to smaller practices that are loath to invest in "higher costing" systems. Hardware, software, installation, maintenance and product training will be available through Sam's Club for a price that, apparently, undercuts competition by 50%.

Well, I don't know whether I should clap my hands together like a jolly newborn or claw at my own skin while listening to this song.

Because, on the one hand: Nothing could be a clearer harbinger of widespread EMR use and adoption than to see Wal-Mart jump on the proverbial EMR-bandwagon. And that's nice.

But, on the other hand: What?!?!?!

If practices reluctant to adopt EMR are willing to invest in systems simply because they're cheap, we suspect these practices are laboring under some major misconceptions about the value and function of EMR.

Thus, we would like to offer our two cents regarding EMR cost versus EMR value. (Since our specialty is ophthalmology, we will speak about our experiences in that particular field -- though we believe you can apply our points more broadly to other specialties.)

When considering the switch to EMR, a practice should calculate the value of the EMR system. How?


(Cited: FierceHealth IT's article on Wal-Mart's EMR Marketing.)

Friday, March 6, 2009

For the Record: AAO on CCHIT

For those interested, here is the American Academy of Ophthalmology's official stance on CCHIT with respect to eye care:
The 2007 Ambulatory EHR Criteria represent basic requirements that the Commission and its workgroups believe are appropriate for many common ambulatory care settings. CCHIT acknowledges that these criteria may not be suitable for settings such as behavioral health, emergency departments, or specialty practices and our current certification makes no representation for these. Purchasers should not interpret a lack of CCHIT Certification as being of significance for specialties and domains not yet addressed by CCHIT Criteria.

Currently, there is no eye care specialty CCHIT certification. The current process for testing is not designed for eye care only EHR vendors, and they cannot participate in the process. A lack of current CCHIT certification does not have significance for eye care specialty needs. Current CCHIT certification means that the system satisfies basic ambulatory care needs. Practices need to look at different systems and how they best meet your needs in delivering eye care services.
From Flora Lum, M.D.
Quality of Care and Knowledge Base Development, AAO

Monday, March 2, 2009

Get with the Times, NYTimes: A Letter from Our CEO

In response to the New York Times' Article "How to Make Electronic Medical Records A Reality":
While it is undeniable that the adoption of electronic medical records (EMR) is hard, the solution selected by the City of New York to endorse one product and spend a great deal of resources on that one product only makes the problem worse. There are many reasons why adoption is difficult, but the most important one is value creation for the practice. Regulatory uncertainty adds to the confusion and uncertainty about adopting EMR.

If all EMRs unquestionably created value for a practice, all other problems would not matter very much. The truth is that many EMRs on the market today slow down doctors in the examination room and either add to or are neutral as to the administrative burden of the practice. In addition, a general-purpose EMR is not the best solution for most medical specialties. Better EMRs that do indeed create clinical and administrative efficiencies are slowly gaining acceptance -- as experience validates the value they create in the medical practice and word gets around. The worst possible thing governments can do at this point is to adopt a "One Size Fits All" mentality, select a single EMR product to cover all medical specialties and to make it the "official choice." This will stifle innovation and slow the process of value creation that competition fosters. This is a good time to let “a thousand flowers bloom."

Government can help the adoption of EMR by dealing with the regulatory environment. Government programs, agencies, and quasi-governmental agencies such as the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT), the primary association certifying EMRs, need be to sensitive to the need to create value in practices as they regulate EMR. An example of poor priorities is to set future public benefits before present need of value creation. Currently, CCHIT certification requires that EMRs communicate with (mostly non-existent) central data repositories, but not that they support practitioner workflow in the exam room by efficient recording of data or help practices with patient communication or insurance billing. If medical practices do not get value from EMRs, they will not implement them and any value that improved communications can offer will not be realized. Government regulation and policy should not eliminate innovators from the EMR field by well-meant but overly burdensome requirements; they should foster value creation by supporting many solutions for the varied and complex needs of the different specialties in the medical world.

While value creation for practices must come first, the regulatory environment must be clear as well. Practices are reluctant to purchase EMRs from companies that may not meet regulatory rules. Therefore, a clear regulatory path is essential to promote EMR adoption. Congress and/or Medicare needs to enact national standards for EMR that clearly state what regulations will be implemented and when.

Government programs designed to help practices implement EMRs are doomed to fail if the EMRs don’t create value for practices.

Gregory Leopold
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