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Meaningful Use Stage 3 Apathy

Posted on March 27, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ll admit that I was out of town when the meaningful use stage 3 rule was released. (Side Note: Why do they always release the rule on a Friday right before the weekend?) So, unlike many people I wasn’t deep in the regulatory details of meaningful use stage 3.

Since I missed the initial release of MU stage 3, I like to read the commentary coming from other people to sort of triangulate some of the most common issues and challenges people have with the new rule. However, what’s been fascinating for me in almost all of these writeups is that people are tired of meaningful use.

Over and over I’ve read of people who haven’t read the rules, people who are putting off reading the rules, and people who’ve shunned meaningful use all together. In fact, I’ve been shocked by the number of people who are just “over” meaningful use. They’re ready to move on from it and move on to something new.

Many people might misinterpret this apathy with meaningful use as a dislike for technology in general. In most of the cases I’ve mentioned that couldn’t be further from the truth. Most of the people who are tired with meaningful use are all about implementing technology in healthcare. They’re just tired of the government regulating that they do it.

What’s not clear to me is whether this apathy is deep enough that hospitals will not actually go after the meaningful use dollars or not. The EHR incentive money is very real for many hospitals and the penalties are a big deal as well. A decision to not do meaningful use is a really big one and the financial incentives and penalties might still win out. However, you can be sure that whoever’s working on the MU stage 3 project won’t do it with as much gusto as they did MU stage 1.

5 Reasons Your Hospital Is Ready for Data-Driven Medication Reconciliation

Posted on March 25, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Medication reconcilliation is one of those no brainer items that every hospital implements. In fact, it’s a mandate that they do it. However, there’s a wide gap in how hospitals are approaching medication reconcilliation. This is a time when a mix of technology and human verification is at its best.

Dr First recently put out a whitepaper called “Top 5 Reasons Your Hospital is Ready to Graduate to Data-Driven Medication Reconciliation” which covers some of the reasons hospitals should look at automating more of the medication reconcilliation process. Here are their five reasons:

1. Your staff members lack confidence in your patient’s verbal med list or your current medication history feed
2. You want to lower your readmissions rate
3. You want to verify patient medication history in 10 minutes or less
4. You want better visibility into patient compliance
5. You want a better way to combat doctor shopping

You can read the full whitepaper where they dive into each of these reasons and explain them in more detail.

We all know that medication reconcilliation is important and valuable. Getting the right balance of technology and human interaction is hard, but it’s where we need to go. The great part is that our sources for medication data are going to continue to improve as that data is more easily shared in real time.

Mark Cuban’s Comments on Healthcare IT at SXSW

Posted on March 24, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Neil Versel has a great little writeup on Mark Cuban on Forbes talking about hospitals inability to innovate at SXSW. Here’s a quote from Neil’s article:

“Hospitals and healthcare, right now they react and respond to regulations and insurance. That’s understandable, but I think technology is coming on so quickly that there’s a lot of opportunity for disruption,” Cuban said.

“The challenge is the length of the sales cycle and how to introduce disruption, because [health systems] are going to fight it. That’s the catch-22 right now,” Cuban said.

I understand that a lot of people don’t like the way Mark Cuban approaches things, but the guy is really smart. One thing I’ve found about super successful people like him is that they’re almost always really good at taking something and narrowing it down to it’s core component. I think that’s what he did with the challenge of healthcare innovation.

Mark’s right that the sales cycle for getting a new piece of technology implemented into hospitals is ugly, brutal and slow. Some people argue that this is a good thing because we’re “protecting the lives of our patients.” While we should be thoughtful on how we implement new innovations in healthcare because lives are literally at risk, what about the lives that could be saved by these innovations? Shouldn’t we worry about those lives as well?

The real challenge isn’t that we’re afraid of some risky innovation harming patients. It’s a mixture of fear of change, fear of the unknown, no process for implementing new items, no bandwidth to implement new innovations, lack of ambition (at least by some), lack of budget for innovation, and then regulations and concerns over patient risk.

Do you agree or disagree? Will healthcare be blind-sided by something that will provide new avenues of innovation?

The Future of…Healthcare IT

Posted on March 23, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

As part of HIMSS 2015, they’re holding a blog carnival where people throughout the healthcare IT community can contribute blog posts covering 5 different topics. Each topic looks at “The Future of…” and then “Connected System, Big Data, Security, Innovation, and Patient Engagement.” I thought the topics were quite interesting, so I created a post for each of the 5 topics. Here’s links to each of them:

I’d love to have you chime in on each of the topics that interest you. Let me know if you agree or disagree with my commentary and prognostication. Even better, feel free to write your own blog post on any or all of these topics. They are important topics that will make up much of what happens in healthcare IT.

Are there any other “Future of…” topics you wish would have been discussed?

Two Hidden Gems at the HIMSS15 Annual Conference

Posted on March 20, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’m deep in my preparations for the HIMSS Annual Conference in Chicago. It’s amazing how quickly the schedule fills up. It has me really excited to meet with so many amazing people. To all the PR people who have sent me pitches, I’ll be getting back to you shortly. Yes, I do respond to each and every one of you. No, sending another request won’t get a response faster. In fact, it will make the response slower.

My own schedule aside, I was thinking today that there are two gems at HIMSS that many people don’t know about. So, I thought I’d share them with you.

The CIO Forum
This event is put together by CHIME and is a shorter version of the CHIME Fall CIO Forum. You can check out the schedule of events here. CHIME always does a great job bringing together some great speakers from the industry and also some to address topics like leadership.

While the content is great, the best part of the event is being surrounded by CIOs. Everywhere you turn is another hospital CIO. It makes for a tremendous opportunity to connect and learn from hospital CIOs. The event does cost extra, so make sure you get the right pass if you want to attend. If you’re there, come say hi.

New Media Meetup
I’m a little bias on this event since it’s the one I host, but it’s always my favorite part of HIMSS. There’s a special energy at the event that comes from all of the amazing people in New Media that are at HIMSS. Everywhere you turn at the event you run into someone else that you’ve likely interacted with on Twitter or some other social media.

The event has evolved over time. Originally it brought together bloggers, but quickly expanded to anyone involved in social media. You can find all the details for the event here. I hope that some readers can make it. If you do, be sure to come take a selfie with me or something.

Those are a few of my favorite events at HIMSS that many people don’t know about. What are your favorite parts of HIMSS?

Another Day…Another Healthcare Breach

Posted on March 19, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

We all know about the Anthem Healthcare breach of millions of patient records. That’s been followed by an announcement by Premera Blue Cross that they’ve had 11 million records breached as well. Plus, I’m sure we’re just at the start of healthcare data breaches that are going to occur.

What’s astonishing to me is that many seem to be playing this up as a new thing. I remember about 15 years ago when I was in college and a guy I knew told stories about hacking through an entire hospital system. In fact, he casually made the comment, “You don’t want to hack the government cause they’ll come after you, but hospitals and universities you can easily hack and nothing will happen.”

This story illustrates two points. First, breaches of healthcare organizations have been happening for a long time. This isn’t something new. Second, we’re just now starting to put in place the technology that will detect breaches. That’s a good thing. In fact, in some ways we should applaud the fact that we actually know these breaches are happening now. I’m certain that many of these breaches happened before and we just never knew about it because you don’t have to report a breach you don’t know about.

Now that we know about these breaches, will that spur action? I think it will in some organizations. It certainly won’t be a bad thing for security and privacy. Unless we’ve become so callous to the breaches (like the title of this post suggests) that we stop caring about breaches because “they’re bound to happen.”

I hope that this post doesn’t encourage apathy on the part of healthcare organizations security and privacy. I assure you that no hospital wants to go through a breach of healthcare data. While impossible to guarantee it won’t happen, a sincere effort to create a culture of compliance in your hospital can go a long way to preventing many breaches.

As my college hacker friend told me many years ago, “You can never make something 100% secure, but you can make it hard enough for someone to hack that it’s not worth their time.” If it’s not worth their time, they’ll usually move on to someone easier.

Sometimes We Forget the Consequences of Doing Nothing

Posted on March 18, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Healthcare IT publications like to hop all over a story that talks about the negative side effects of EHR or some other technology in healthcare. The train wreck is something that people love to read about and so publications love to lather up the story and report all of the problems and challenges a hospital faces when going electronic.

This isn’t an awful thing. We should be aware of the challenges related to implementing technology in healthcare. Hopefully that extra exposure will help us to improve the technology so it’s no longer an issue. However, we have to be careful to not skew our view of technology based on what’s being reported by the healthcare IT publications we read.

The problem with basing our assessment of something on the media is that it’s not exciting for them to report on benefits that have become part of the status quo. No one’s going to read the article that says lives are saved because a doctor can read the chart since it was typed as opposed to illegibly written on paper. Being able to actually read the chart has become so common place, that we’ve started to take it for granted. Medical students today might never have the opportunity to read paper medical hieroglyphics. That’s a fantastic thing, but it doesn’t make for a good story.

It’s almost like we ignore the benefits once they become part of the fabric of how we practice medicine. Plus, we don’t even think about the negative consequences we’ve avoided. As someone told me recently, “No one gets paid for the crisis they averted.”

As part of our analysis, we have to remember to compare the status quo to the alternative and not to the ideal. That’s not to say that we don’t continue to strive for the ideal. We absolutely should push towards it. However, it does mean that we keep a proper perspective on reality and don’t forget the past.

Exploring Non-EHR Technologies – What’s Next?

Posted on March 17, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

While this site is named Hospital EMR and EHR, you may have noticed that we’ve been covering more and more non-EHR related technologies. I’m certain that this trend will continue as EHR software becomes mature and most hospitals have implemented an EHR. Although, I’m sure we’ll still cover some EHR switching and related topics as well.

While it’s safe to say that many of these non-EHR technologies still have some tie to the EHR, there are some that can really benefit a hospital and may have nothing to do with the EHR. Think about your HR system for example. Almost nothing to do with your EHR (unless you want to talk about EHR user provisioning). However, a well implemented HR system can dramatically improve a hospital’s human resource function.

This idea is actually a theme for my coverage of the upcoming HIMSS 2015 annual conference in Chicago. In the past I’ve always done a bunch of meetings with EHR vendors and sprinkled in a few other non-EHR meetings. This year I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing a bunch of non-EHR meetings with a few EHR meetings sprinkled in. I’m looking for the answer to: What’s Next?

I think this is on trend with what most hospital IT leadership are thinking. EHR’s are mostly installed and they have a handle on meaningful use along with a group of resources that understand the challenge deeply. Now I think they’re starting to look at what’s next.

When I think about what’s next after an EHR is implemented, I think about it in two ways:

  • How Can I Get the Most Out of My EHR?
  • What Other Non-EHR Technologies Could Benefit My Organization?

I’d love to get your thoughts on both of these questions. Hopefully my posts in 2015 we’ll help to answer these questions. It’s certainly what I’ll be looking for at HIMSS 2015 and of course I’ll share what I find.

Is Your Hospital Embracing or Ignoring Social Media?

Posted on March 16, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.


At this point, I don’t think there’s any argument that social media influencers our health choices. In the above mentioned survey, 40% of them realize that it’s impacting them. Trying to say that social media doesn’t influence health decisions is like trying to say that your friends and family don’t influence your health decisions. Social media is the new way we communicate with friends and family. They influenced our health before social media and are still doing it, but in the new social media medium.

We know that social media is influencing health decisions, but is your hospital embracing the power of social media or trying to ignore it? I bet most hospital CIOs have no idea. I bet most hospital CMO (Chief Medical Officers) don’t know much better either.

There’s a simple way for you to know how well your hospital is embracing social media. Just ask yourself the question, “Is social media in my hospital considered a marketing and PR task?”

If the answer to that question is yes, then you have not embraced social media in your hospital. Certainly there is a lot of opportunity for a hospital marketing and PR department to use social media and they should (Side Note: I have a conference focused on hospital social media, so I intimately know the power of it in marketing and PR). However, if social media is only considered a marketing and PR task, then your hospital is missing out on so many benefits that can come from a hospital using social media.

The first step to embracing this culture is involving your hospital CIO and hospital CMO (Chief Medical Officer) in social media. They’ll have ideas and insights into how to use social media that go well beyond marketing a hospital’s services. In the new value based reimbursement world, this new form of outreach and connection to patients is going to be critical.

The second step to embracing hospital social media is to put budget and resources (ie. people) behind the initiatives that are created by your marketing/PR team, IT team, and medical team. There’s very little value that’s created from a meeting of these people without the ability to follow through on the ideas and suggestions they create.

Sadly, most hospitals have never even had this meeting (possibly because they don’t want to commit the resources). Those few hospitals who have had this meeting haven’t committed the resources needed to turn their ideas into reality. I think these are both failed strategies for hospitals that will catch up to them in a big way. I think a hospital’s approach to social media will soon tell us a lot about a hospital’s approach to patient care.

Who Will Be the “Hidden” ACO Heroes?

Posted on March 12, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I love the concept of hidden ACO heroes. The speaker was a doctor who worked with Banner Health and he introduced me to the idea of hidden heroes and since it was an ACO conference he applied it to ACOs.

In order to illustrate the concept of hidden heroes, this doctor showed us a picture of the plane which landed in the Hudson river and everyone walked away. He asked who the hero of that incident was and everyone responded: Sully Sullenberger. We know him well in healthcare since he’s spoken regularly at healthcare events.

Then, this good doctor pointed out that nobody knows the co-pilot of the plane who played a big role in landing the plane safely. Nobody knows the engineers of the plane which designed the plane to float on water for 30 minutes after a crash landing on water which allowed the plane to float long enough for help to arrive and take the passengers away. Nobody knows the names of the engineers that made it so the engines could handle being hit by a bird without the wing getting ripped to shreds and taking the plane down.

His point was that each of these people are heroes in their own right. Nobody knows their names and so their hidden heroes, but they’re heroes nonetheless.

In the world of ACOs, there are hundreds of people that are during amazing work at institutions across the country. Nobody knows their names, but they’re doing an important work that will help improve so many people’s lives.

This concept applies to so many parts of healthcare. There are hidden heroes every day in hospitals around the world. If you’re their boss, take a second to recognize their heroism. They aren’t asking for it, but you might be the only one who knows about the amazing work they’ve done. Take a second and thank them for it. Then, don’t be surprised if they do it again and again and again.

Thank you to all the hidden heroes in healthcare.