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Hospital Marketing

Posted on January 30, 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 mentioned previously and some of you might have noticed the banner at the top of Hospital EMR and EHR that I organize the Health IT Marketing and PR Conference (HITMC). In case you haven’t seen the details, it’s happening May 7-8, 2015 in Las Vegas. Early Bird registration is over tomorrow, and so I’ve been seeing a wave of registrations hitting my email inbox as people register at the last minute. It’s been fun and exciting to see the healthcare marketing and PR community come together. If you’re not in that community, please share the conference with your colleagues who are.

This year, we’ve started wading slowly into the general healthcare marketing world. I’m excited by a number of hospital focused marketing presentations that we’re going to have at the event. Sure, there are a lot of sessions on content marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Branding, PR, and social media that apply regardless of your type of organization. However, I’m excited to learn from some real experts in the hospital healthcare marketing space.

If you’re interested in what the conference will cover, we posted a preview of the HITMC 2015 sessions. Although, we still have a number of tricks up our sleeve that we haven’t announced yet. It’s going to be an exciting event.

If these topics interest you, be sure to also check out the #HITMC hashtag on Twitter. We held our first ever #HITMC Twitter chat and it was an extreme success. We’ll be doing another #HITMC chat on 2/24/15 at Noon ET (9 AM PT) where we’ll be talking about making the most of HIMSS. We’ll post the exact topic for the #HITMC chat a week or so before the chat on the Health IT Marketing and PR Conference blog.

Finally, I’d be remiss to do a post on hospital marketing and my conference and not mention the marketing event of the year: The Super Bowl. Let’s have a discussion in the comments about your favorite commercials and other social media you see during the Super Bowl. I’ll come back and add my comments as well.

Plus, my prediction: Seahawks for the Win! Who are you picking?

Finding Epic Customers

Posted on January 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.

If you haven’t had a chance to read the Life After Epic blog, go and check it out. I’ve referenced it a few times and should probably do a whole series like they did on the 13 Epic Principles. They’ve also covered interesting topics like Epic and the Non-Compete and an Epic Severance Agreement.

I was particularly interested in the most recent post about how to find Epic customers. Once someone’s non-compete is over with Epic, it’s good to know which hospitals and organizations are available to those with Epic experience. As the owner of Healthcare IT Central, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also point you to this list of Epic Jobs. However, depending on where you live or where you’d like to live, it might be helpful to know what hospital organizations have implemented Epic.

In the article linked above, they offer an interesting way to figure this out:

One…comment on a nursing blog said this:
“you can download an app in your iphone “mychart” it will show you the states that have EPIC program”

The MyChart app is available on Android now, and it lists each organization by the state that they serve.

If it’s full time work you want, start your job search with a trip to the app store of your choice.

I like the creative way to find out where Epic is installed. I imagine that not all 100% of Epic users are on MyChart, but thanks to meaningful use I bet it’s pretty close.

EHR APIs Are Hard

Posted on January 22, 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’ve been thinking a lot about healthcare interoperability lately. I’ve long argued that it’s one way we can really lower the costs of healthcare. Plus, I’m a true believer in the value of doctors having all the information possible in the right place at the right time. I’ve also advocated strongly for EHR vendors to create APIs that allow other entrepreneurs to build really amazing functionality on top of the EHR.

This last point is the one I want to address now. I still think an EHR API is going to be essential to the future success of an EHR vendor. The reality is that the EHR isn’t going to do everything for everyone. My favorite example is genomic analysis. EHR vendors are not going to do this. Some other company is going to take care of the genomic analysis and then they’re going to need to want to have to integrate with the EHR for their to be a beautiful workflow for everyone involved. This integration is going to best be done by an API. Plus, genomics is just one example of hundreds of integrations that might be needed.

To me the case is clear why there’s a benefit to having an open EHR API. Why then, don’t we see more of them in the EHR world? The simple answer seems to be that APIs are hard!

I found a great description of the challenge of creating a quality API on the WordPress developer blog:

Developing APIs is hard.
You pour your blood, sweat, and tears into this interface that bares the soul of your company and of your product to the world. The machinery under the hood, though, is often a lot less polished than the fancy paint job would lead the rest of the world to believe. You have to be careful, then, not to inflict your own rough edges on the people you expect to be consuming your API because…

Using APIs is hard.
As an app developer you’re trying to take someone else’s product and somehow integrate it into whatever vision you have in your head. Whether it’s simply getting a list of things from another service (such as embedding a reading list) or wrapping your entire product around another product (using Amazon S3 as your primary binary storage mechanism, for example), you have a lot of things to reconcile.

You have your own programming language (or languages) that you’re using. There’s the use case you have in mind, and the ones the remote devs had in mind for the API. There’s the programming language they used to create the API (and that they used to test it). Finally, don’t forget the encoding or representation of the data — and its limitations. Reconciling all of the slight (or major) differences between these elements is a real challenge sometimes. Despite years of attempts at best practices and industry standards, things just don’t always fit together like we pretend that they will.

He also offers 3 recommendations when you choose to provide an API:
#1 You want people to use your API.
#2 You have no control over what tools others are using.
#3 Your API is a promise.

Let’s also be clear that a WordPress API is much simpler than what a quality EHR API would require. The principles still apply, but the complexity makes it even harder. I think this is a major reason why many EHR vendors haven’t yet done an API to their EHR. An EHR API is not a one time job where you set it and forget it. It’s an ongoing project that has to be updated and improved with every release. Plus, you have to make those changes and additions without breaking things for your partners who use the API. That’s not a simple job.

Despite being hard, I still believe that EHR APIs are going to be the future of EHR. Plus, an EHR vendor should be glad that EHR APIs are hard. That means that if they put in the effort to do one the right way, they’ll have an advantage over the others who don’t. There are hundreds of healthcare startup companies that would love to tap into a quality EHR API. If you build it, they will come.

Getting More Out of the EHR Than What You Put In

Posted on January 21, 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.

When I first met with Stoltenberg Consulting a few years back at CHIME, they said something really interesting that I’m still thinking about today. In fact, I might be thinking about this more today than I was doing before.

Per my notes (so I won’t make it a direct quote), they commented that doctors were putting a lot into the EHR, but they don’t feel like they’re getting a lot out of the EHR.

It’s a powerful idea that is really important for any hospital executive to understand.

I recently wrote about the choice between the Best-of-Breed EHR and the All-In-One EHR approaches on EMR and HIPAA. Here’s the money section:

The real decision these organizations are making is whether they want to put the burden on the IT staff (ie. supporting multiple EHRs) or whether they want to put the burden on the doctors (ie. using an EHR that doesn’t meet their needs). In large organizations, it seems that they’re making the decision to put the burden on the doctors as opposed to the IT staff. Although, I don’t think many organizations realize that this is the choice they’re making.

Choice of EHR is only one of the main reasons why doctors likely feel that they’re getting less out of the EHR than they’re putting into it. Certainly reimbursement requirements and meaningful use should still take a lot of the blame as well. Regardless of how we got here, it’s a very precarious position when the doctors feel like they’re getting less out of the EHR than they are putting into it.

There is a solution to this problem. First, you must work to maximize the physician workflow. Sometimes this means involving the nursing staff more. Sometimes this involves a scribe. Other times it requires a change to your EHR. Other times it means building out high quality templates that make the doctor more efficient.

Second, we must all focus on more ways doctors can get more value out of their EHR. The buzzword analytics has potential, but has been a little too much buzz word and not enough practical improvement for the doctor and patient. We need more advanced tools that leverage all the data a doctor’s putting in the EHR. Clinical Decision Support, Drug to Drug and Drug to Allergy checking are just the first steps. We can do so much more, but unfortunately we’ve been too distracted by government regulation to deal with them. Plus, let’s not kid around. These aren’t easy problems to solve. They take time and effort. Plus, we need a better way for doctors and hospitals to be able to diffuse their discoveries across the entire healthcare community. Sharing these discoveries is just too hard and too slow right now.
EHR Scale
At the end of the day, it’s a simple scale. On the one side you have the time and effort a doctor puts into the EHR. On the other side is the value the doctor gets from the EHR. You can solve this by making the doctor’s EHR work more efficient or by finding more ways the EHR can provide value to the doctor. Much easier said than done. However, if this stays out of balance too long, you can count on a big EHR backlash from doctors.

Google Joins PwC and Open Source Vista EHR Team in DoD EHR Bid

Posted on January 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.

Chris Paton posted an interesting bit of news about Google joining forces with PwC, DSS, Inc, Medsphere, Medicasoft, and General Dynamics Information Technology. Here’s an excerpt from what Chris posted:

PwC and Google recently announced a joint business relationship where the two organizations will team together to help companies accelerate their journey to and build trust in the cloud. The combined advantage of PwC and Google teaming together on the DORHS proposal – along with commercial EHR vendors DSS, Inc. and Medsphere Systems Corporation, MedicaSoft, and systems integrator General Dynamics Information Technology — offers the DoD a distinctive, reliable and secure open source EHR solution with innovative, user-friendly operations. In addition, DORHS’ flexibility will help prevent the federal government from being locked into a single technology, avoiding “vendor lock” and “innovation lag” which can occur with proprietary EHR and technology companies.

With $11+ billion at stake in the DoD EHR project, it’s not surprising that companies are trying everything they can to make their bid the most attractive out there. Although, I’m not sure how much Google really brings to the table as far as technical expertise with Vista. Seems more like a PR move than a decision to bring on specific expertise.

I’m also interested to see if open source EHR vendors based on Vista really have much of a chance against Epic, Cerner and Allscripts (and their government contractor partners). I try not to predict government decisions, but it would be quite the coup for a Vista based EHR bid to win.

3D Printing Saves Wife’s Sight

Posted on January 14, 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.

This is a great article which illustrates the importance of being an active patient advocate in your care, but also illustrates some of the future of technology in healthcare. Here’s a brief excerpt from the article.

Balzer downloaded a free software program called InVesalius, developed by a research center in Brazil to convert MRI and CT scan data to 3D images. He used it to create a 3D volume rendering from Scott’s DICOM images, which allowed him to look at the tumor from any angle. Then he uploaded the files to Sketchfab and shared them with neurosurgeons around the country in the hope of finding one who was willing to try a new type of procedure. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he found the doctor he was looking for at UPMC, where Scott had her thyroid removed. A neurosurgeon there agreed to consider a minimally invasive operation in which he would access the tumor through Scott’s left eyelid and remove it using a micro drill. Balzer had adapted the volume renderings for 3D printing and produced a few full-size models of the front section of Scott’s skull on his MakerBot. To help the surgeon vet his micro drilling idea and plan the procedure, Balzer packed up one of the models and shipped it off to Pittsburgh.

Pretty amazing use of 3D printing technology and it’s great to see that he could pretty easily convert the MRI and CT scan data into a 3D image that could be printed on a 3D printer. No wonder the 3D printing area was next to the digital health section at CES.

Healthcare Analytics is Everything and Nothing

Posted on January 13, 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 Analytics has been the buzzed word ever since last year’s HIMSS. It’s been included in pretty much every healthcare IT company imaginable. I was talking to an EHR consulting company today and I asked if they were moving into some sort of analytics offering. As we discussed the idea further, we realized that they’re not really going into healthcare analytics specifically, but that many of the projects they see as the future of healthcare IT involve analytics.

As I think over this discussion, it’s easy for me to see how healthcare analytics is involved in everything, but that the term itself means nothing.

If I dive a little deeper into this subject it reminds me of a video interview I watched last night with a popular venture capitalist. At one point in the conversation he casually said, “Once again it goes back to the data. I guess it all goes back to the data, because we think data is at the core of the future of everything we’re investing in.”

While this comment didn’t necessarily apply to healthcare, it very could have been about healthcare. The future of healthcare is about the data. It’s about how an organization leverages data to improve the care they provide a patient. EHR was just the first step in making much of the healthcare data digital. However, this new wave of wearables and health sensors is bringing another form of data to healthcare. Genomics is bringing another wave of data to healthcare. Watson is reading through all the medical studies and making that data useful and actionable for a doctor.

It’s easy for me to say that the future of healthcare is going to be dependent on data. It’s at the core of everything that we will do. Going full circle, healthcare analytics is one way of describing how you take the data and make it useful. So, it makes sense that however you look at the future of healthcare IT, you probably have some sort of healthcare analytics involved in what you’re doing. It’s all about how you slice the data.

FHIR Adoption Needs Time to Mature

Posted on January 7, 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.

In John Halamka’s look at Health IT in 2014 he offered some really great insight into how regulators should look at standards and adoption of standards.

Here’s one section which talks about the lesson learned from meaningful use stage 2:

“Stage 2 was aspirational and a few of the provisions – Direct-based summary exchange and patient view/download/transmit required an ecosystem that does not yet exist. The goals were good but the standards were not yet mature based on the framework created by the Standards Committee.”

Then, he offers this money line about FHIR and how we should handle it:

“We need to be careful not to incorporate FHIR into any regulatory program until it has achieved an objective level of maturity/adoption”

There’s no doubt that FHIR is on Fire right now, but we need to be careful that it doesn’t just go down in flames. Throwing it into a regulatory program before it’s ready will just smother it and kill the progress that’s being made.

2015 Hospital Healthcare IT Predictions

Posted on January 5, 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 the start of 2015, I thought I’d put down some predictions on what will happen in the world of healthcare IT and EHR. These won’t be crazy predictions, since I don’t think anything crazy is going to happen in healthcare in 2015. We’ll see some clarity with a few programs and we’ll some some incremental change in things that matter to hospitals.

ICD-10 – I predict that ICD-10 will again be delayed with the next SGR fix. I don’t have any inside information on this. I just still believe that nothing’s different in 2015 that wasn’t true in 2014 (maybe AHIMA’s lobbying harder for no delay). I think another delay will put all of ICD-10 in question. Let’s hope whatever the decision is on ICD-10, it happens sooner than later. The ICD-10 uncertainty is worse than either outcome.

Meaningful Use – MU stage 2 will change from 365 days to 90 days. It will probably take until summer for it to actually happen which will put more people in a lurch since they’ll have even less time to plan for the 90 days than if they just made the change now. MU stage 2 numbers will be seen as great by those who love meaningful use and terrible by those who think it’s far reaching. The switch to 90 days means enough hospitals will hop on board that meaningful use will continue forward until it runs out of money.

EHR Penalties – Doctors will be blind sided by all the penalties that are coming with meaningful use, PQRS, and value based reimnbursement, even though it’s been very clear that these penalties are coming. Doctors will pan it off on “I can’t keep up with all the complex legislation.” and “I knew the penalties were coming, but I din’t think they’d be that big.” Watch for some movement to try and get some relief from these penalties for doctors. However, it won’t be enough for the doctors who want to start a perpetual SGR fix like delay of the EHR penalties. Many practices will have to shut down because of poor business management.

Direct to Consumer Medicine – Doctors will start to move towards a number of direct to consumer medicine options such as telemedicine and concierge medicine. These doctors will love their new found freedom from insurance reimbursement and the ongoing hamster on a treadmill churn of patients through their office. How far this will go, I’m not sure, but it will create a gap between these doctors who love this “new” form of medicine and those who feel their stuck on the treadmill.

Interoperability – 2015 still won’t see widespread healthcare interoperability, but it will help to lay a clear framework of where healthcare interoperability needs to go. A couple large EHR vendors will embrace this framework as an attempt to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

There you go. A few 2015 predictions. What do you think of these predictions? Any others you’d like to make? I feel like my predictions feel a little bit dire. A few show signs of promise, but I think that 2015 will largely be a transitory period as we try to figure out how to get the most value out of EHR.

Happy New Year! 2015 Hospital EMR and EHR Stats Report

Posted on January 2, 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.

Happy New Year to everyone!

I hope that everyone has had a safe and wonderful holiday season. Today I posted a stats report on EMR and HIPAA and so I decided I’d start doing the same on the other Healthcare Scene blogs. I think it will tell an interesting story about the progression of the Healthcare Scene blog network over time.

So, without further ado, here are some interesting stats I got from a report on Hospital EMR and EHR for 2014.

In 2014, we published 213 new posts on Hospital EMR and EHR, growing the total archive of this blog to 793 posts.

Hospital EMR and EHR was viewed about 200,000 times in 2014. The busiest day of the year was October 15th with 1,484 views. The most popular post that day was Investor Wants to Take Down Epic. Imagine that!

I always find my list of top posts for 2014 ironic since they often are posts from previous years. However, you can see why the top posts are still interesting in 2014:
1. Why Is It So Hard to Become a Certified Epic consultant?
2. Investor Wants to Take Down Epic
3. CMS Issues Final Rule on EHR Certification Flexibility, MU Stage 2 Extension, and MU Stage 3 Timeline
4. Soarian: Does Siemens Finally Have an Epic-Killer?
5. The Argument for Meditech

Not too bad. Epic is only involved in 3 of the top 5. That’s a little surprising since so many people on this blog love to read about Epic.

Hospital EMR and EHR has had visitors from 147 countries in all, but the US is far and away the top readership. Thanks to the 165 views that came from Italy (sorry, I have an Italy bias addiction in case you didn’t know).

I hope you enjoyed the stats and thanks for reading! Here’s to a wonderful 2015!