Friday, August 21, 2009

HHS Certified EHR's Coming Soon!

The voice of physicians has been finally heard in Washington

Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, also widely known as CCHIT, the sole certifying body for EHR's, has long been perceived as been in collusion with big health care IT vendors (since it was originally founded by major IT vendors) and viewed with some degree of suspicion by health care organizations. CCHIT as part of its certification criteria has focussed solely on feature sets that are required to be inside an EHR for them to qualify. Up until very recently it was widely expected that to be considered Certified EHR for the purpose of the HITECH Act, it would need to meet CCHIT criteria & need to be certified by CCHIT.

However, over the past few months the debate on what qualifies for incentives veered towards meaningful use. The ONC chair publicly derided current EHR IT vendors that their software was simply too difficult to use (see some of my previous blogs) and threw his weight behind "meaningful use" to be the yardstick that determines who gets a piece of the ARRA pie.

Given that CCHIT was the only real certifying body for EHR's the absence of another player would mean that invariably CCHIT will at least be the initial body for certification. There was a general fear among health professionals & the sector in general that it was either the CCHIT way or the highway. Well, that changed this Friday.

On Friday, the Health Information Technology Policy Committee recommended to the Dept. of Health and Human Services that electronic health record products should be certified by multiple organizations. The recommendation essentially validates criticism of conflict of interest by the Certification Commission for Health care Information Technology (CCHIT), currently the only body that certifies such products, because health care IT vendors helped form the group back in 2004 and have influenced their decisions and direction.
Basically, what the above means is that CCHIT will have to finally play nice with "meaningful use" definition & come up with a HHS Certified program which would be more in line with what health care professionals & the industry at large wanted in general. There are huge implications to it and here are some that I see

a) EHR & Health care IT in general will get cheaper, since CCHIT backers are no longer the sole bastions of certification criteria, allowing true competition to prevail thereby lowering prices for the industry
b) "Meaningful Use" would allow the focus to be on improving health care outcomes & efficiency, whereas CCHIT focused on bloated features sets to keep new entrants and true innovators outside the mainstream
c) Health care professionals & clinicians would finally get a say on what they feel is most usable & achieves the goals set by ONC & President Obama.

Now that the debate is coming to a close and HHS certification program ready to be unveiled in October, the intent & purpose of the HITECH Act is finally being realized.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Answering Questions About SaaS

As I have discussed in my previous blogs, the SaaS model allows companies of all shapes and sizes to leverage SaaS infrastructure, which would otherwise be out of reach for most. SaaS applications from top service providers are built on an infrastructure that provides the security, performance, and reliability normally found in only the most sophisticated IT departments.

When evaluating SaaS for your medical practice, you need to understand each SaaS Vendor’s approach to service delivery infrastructure, policies, and procedures. You also need to ensure that the providers you’re considering can deliver 24/7 service with high performance and availability.

Many questions about SaaS have been focussed around performance, availability, security, customization, and integration with existing Information Systems or legacy applications inside a corporate firewall.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors must be able to provide a compelling, proven answer to all the following questions:

  • Is data secure?

  • Can performance be tracked?

  • Is the service truly multitenant?

  • Will this application scale?

  • Is application high performing?

  • Is there a disaster recovery plan?

  • Will application always be available?

Tier-1 SaaS providers like Mrecord will provide customers with a copy of their practices & procedures when it comes to security, reliability & disaster recovery. Mrecord even provides real-time performance stats to its customers, so that they can verify that it is meeting its promise of performance & uptime. SaaS providers have an inherent obligation to provide answers to the above question and the best of breed companies will be upfront, & transparent with providing all the answers you need to GO SaaS WITH CONFIDENCE.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Why Physicians Are Abandoning Their EHR's

ONC Head David Blumenthal Says Certified EHR are not good enough. Here is the actual quote:
ONCHIT currently contracts with a private organization, the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, to certify EHRs as having the basic capabilities the federal government believes they need. Many certified EHRs are neither user-friendly nor designed to meet HITECH’s ambitious goal of improving quality and efficiency in the health care system
CPOE based EHR systems suffer from the click-syndrome and have always seen push-back from clinicians. The success and usage statistics of current day EHR's are a testimony to the lack of user-friendly-ness of traditional EHR's.

Speech-driven EHR's, like Mrecord's EHR are redefining CPOE and how clinicians are interacting with their EHR's.

Mrecord EHR BETA program is now live. Contact us at for more info.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Healthcare SaaS Goes Offline!

Software-as-a-service (SaaS), the remote software delivery model that depends on a network or Internet connection for functionality, is finally going offline.

In my previous blog posts I listed out the key advantages & benefits to adopting Healthcare SaaS. And I got responses asking "What happens when we lose Internet at our office".

Given the ubiquitous nature of the Internet at our workplace it is hard to imagine not being connected, but SaaS vendors are now addressing that "what-if" scenario by enabling their SaaS Apps to sync data to the users local PC. More and more SaaS applications are going offline, meaning you can now access your data even when you are not connected to the Internet.

Mrecord's EHR is currently testing an early version of its offline sync which should be available to our customers later part of this year.

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