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GE Phasing Out Centricity Enterprise, To Some Surprise

Posted on April 22, 2015 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Conceding that its competitors have the upper hand, GE is phasing out its Centricity Enterprise product, informing the world in a #HIMSS15 announcement which has gotten little play from our tech media colleagues.  As we’ve argued before, HIMSS is not only a great time to announce big plays, it’s also a great time to bury unpleasant news, and GE seems to have succeeded.

Not surprisingly, employees saw things coming long ago. More than a year ago, for example, a 10-year-plus employee of GE Healthcare called the vendor out on what they saw as low-wattage efforts on company rating site Glassdoor.com. The ex-employee cited a “lack of resources to deliver a good EHR product, [causing] a strong customer base to choose other EHR vendors.”

It’s little wonder that GE is backing out of Centricity Enterprise, which according to a report in MedCity News generated only 5 percent of its EMR revenue, according to Jon Zimmerman, general manager of clinical business solutions. “Is it in the best interest of our customers, shareholders and employees to (be) in a market where competitors are clearly ahead, or should we recognize the situation and go to where the market is going?” Zimmerman told MedCity.

But the fact is, Zimmerman’s comments are somewhat disingenuous. At HIMSS, the company admitted that it had begun the process of dumping Centricity Enterprise three years ago, though it’s not clear how long ago it began to let customers know about its plans. For example, I doubt that Continuum Health Partners CIO Mark Moroses, who as of summer 2013 was moving his organization to the Centricity enterprise EMR, expected to have it phased out less than two years later.

It’s worth wondering why a player with GE’s resources seemingly couldn’t hack the enterprise market. But the problem isn’t new. As far back  as 2011, GE was forced to admit that some of its ambulatory and enterprise customers wouldn’t be able to achieve Meaningful Use with their products. That was probably the beginning of the end for the Enterprise product, which ranked either fifth or sixth in the market recently depending on who you asked. But with Epic alone controlling 15% to 20% of the enterprise EMR market of late, and Cerner hot on its heels, giving up probably was a reasonable response.

The real question is what comes next. If Glassdoor.com posters are any indication, GE Healthcare is prone to frequent strategic changes as management shifts, so who knows what the future holds for its ambulatory Centricity EMR?

At the moment,  it seems that GE is firmly behind its ambulatory product. And that makes sense. After all, physicians are decommissioning their existing EMRs at a frantic rate, and are eager to find substitutes, and that gives GE plenty of sales opportunities. With 70% of physicians unhappy with their EMR, according to a study announced in February of last year, it should be easy pickins.

But given the way GE may have fumbled the ball on the enterprise side, I’d want some proof that leaders there had a long-term commitment to ambulatory care. Practices have a hard enough time finding EMRs that work for them; having to switch for reasons that have nothing to do with them makes no sense.

Meaningful Use Reporting Period Changed to 90 Days and Other Proposed Changes

Posted on April 10, 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 case you missed the news, CMS posted the proposed rule that modifies meaningful use in 2015-2017 (Here’s the rule on the Federal Register). The 210 page document dropped late on Friday right before HIMSS. If you think we’ve seen CMS do this before, we’ve seen it happen a lot. They love to issue the rules on Friday and often right before HIMSS. At least that’s better than when they released the rule during HIMSS, but not much.

The summary of the changes is pretty straightforward:

  • Streamlining reporting by removing redundant, duplicative, and topped-out measures
  • Modifying patient action measures in Stage 2 objectives related to patient engagement
  • Aligning the EHR reporting period for eligible hospitals and CAHs with the full calendar year
  • Changing the EHR reporting period in 2015 to a 90-day period to accommodate modifications

The patient engagement was changed from 5% to a single download, view, and transmit as it’s been called. I think many will look on this as a very favorable change since you can’t force a patient to do something and so your incentive and penalties shouldn’t depend on their action.

It also makes sense that they change the hospital reporting period to the calendar year like it’s been for EPs. The change probably has some logistical questions for many hospitals, but it will make the process cleaner.

The big one of course is the 90 day attestation period. We knew it was coming and I think everyone’s glad that it’s here. Now it will be interesting to see how many wait until October to start their attestation period. That’s pretty risky if you ask me, but that didn’t stop organizations from waiting just the same.

I don’t think there will be many issues with what’s in this proposed rule. Although, we’ll see over the next week what other things people find as they dig into the rule. I know many were waiting for this to drop and are now breathing a sigh of relief over the 90 day reporting period.

Let us know in the comments if there are other details you find that we didn’t talk about or nuances we might have missed. Enjoy the light reading on the flight to HIMSS.

No Cloud Based Hospital EHR of Note…Yet?

Posted on April 8, 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.

Scott Mace offered this interesting intro to his article “Cloud Adoption Gains Traction” in Health Leaders Magazine:

While no cloud-based electronic health record software of note for hospitals has yet to emerge on the scene, cloud-based ambulatory EHRs continue to gain traction, storage remains a strong cloud option, and intriguing new analytics options are tapping the versatility of cloud technology.

A look at hospital EHR market share and the main EHR companies (Epic, Cerner, MEDITECH, etc) are not cloud based EHR systems. Sure, some of them might have their client server installs hosted in the cloud, but that’s not a true single database EHR cloud.

What’s fascinating to me is why cloud EHR hasn’t taken off in hospitals like it’s taken off in the rest of the world (even ambulatory EHR as the article notes). It’s worth noting that athenahealth is working on a cloud based hospital EHR. However, there still at least a couple years out from even being in the conversation when a hospital considers selecting an EHR. The small SaaS Hospital EHR vendors don’t even make a dent in the market share.

Here’s why I think cloud EHR hasn’t taken off in hospitals:

Early Adopters – Many hospitals adopted some form of EHR really early on. They made the investment before cloud was really a decent option to consider (ie. before high speed internet was ubiquitous). Now they’re stuck with a legacy investment and they’re still paying off that investment

Switching Costs are High – Switching EHR in the ambulatory world is hard. Doing so in a hospital is infinitely more difficult. If I’m a CIO at a hospital, do I want to put my organization through that process? It takes a really visionary CIO and a supportive CEO to make the change.

No Great SaaS Hospital Alternatives – Once hospitals decided they needed one all in one system, that narrowed the number of EHR options to very few. We still have yet to see a SaaS software expand their offerings to cover the full gamut of software that’s required by a hospital. For example, even Epic which has been around forever (and is not a cloud EHR for the record), still gets complaints from hospitals about their lab software. Now apply that to 100 departments in a hospital and SaaS software just hasn’t been able to provide the full suite of software a hospital requires.

Fear – I think most hospitals are still afraid of the cloud. There are plenty of reasons why they should be less afraid of cloud than their current set up, but there’s still very much fear surrounding cloud. Somehow having the servers in my data center, on site where I can touch them and feel them makes me feel more safe. Reality or not, this fear has prevented most hospitals from even considering a cloud based EHR. I think they’re starting to get past it since every hospital now has something in the cloud, but that wasn’t true even 5 years ago in many organizations.

I’m sure there are other reasons you can offer in the comments. Of course, Scott Mace’s article linked above goes into a number of the benefits of a cloud EHR. However, that’s not yet a realistic option for hospitals. I’m sure one day it will be.

1/5th of Hospital EHRs are Poor Fits

Posted on April 6, 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 really fascinating stat from Black Book. I’d like to dig into their methodology for this question. Defining what’s a “poor” fit is really hard when you realize that a poor fit is defined by hundreds and possibly thousands of EHR users in a hospital.

What I’ve found is that it’s really hard to make broad statements about EHR satisfaction at a hospital. The doctors may hate it, but the executives love it. The front desk may be annoyed by it, but the pharmacy is really happy. The nurses may love it…ok…I don’t think I know of any EHR that’s loved by nurses, but that’s a discussion for another blog post. Nurses often get left out in the EHR design and we’ll leave it at that for now.

With that disclaimer, let’s think about what it means that 20% of hospital EHRs are a poor fit. Does that mean that we’re going to see a wave of EHR switching in the hospital EHR world? I don’t think so.

The reason I don’t think so is that the hospital EHR is too expensive. Plus, changing EHR is so disruptive that you have to be really down on your EHR to actually switch. Sure, some of them are that down on their EHR that they’ll switch EHR. However, most of them don’t like it, but they aren’t ready to go through heart replacement surgery and take out their current EHR and replace it with a new one.

Some other factors at play is that they may not like their current EHR, but it’s the devil they know. That’s a powerful reason not to switch. Also, is there really a better alternative? Many who aren’t satisfied with their EHR aren’t convinced that switching to another EHR will be much better. Plus, many of these organizations are in the middle of meaningful use. If you switch EHR vendors in the middle of meaningful use, you might as well announce that you’ll be taking a year off from meaningful use (and all that entails…ask Intermountain).

While I don’t think we’ll see a wave of immediate EHR switching, once the renewal licenses come up, we’ll see more switching of EHR. Plus, if someone can come out with a high quality cloud based EHR for hospitals, then that could help with switching costs as well. However, until then, hospitals have mostly chosen their horse and now they have to ride it out. Of course, this assumes they don’t get acquired by a larger hospital system and are forced to switch EHR. That’s happening in a big way and is likely to continue.

Bringing Meaning to Disparate Clinical Data

Posted on April 3, 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.

For a while, I’ve been extremely intrigued by vendor neutral archives. While they’re usually applied to the PACS and imaging world, I’ve always thought that the concept will eventually spread across all healthcare data. With that in mind, I found this whitepaper, Bringing Meaning to Disparate Clinical Data, provided an interesting view into the world of vendor neutral archives (VNA) and it was very clear to me that the problems we’re working to solve in the medical imaging world are very much applicable to the problems we need to solve with other healthcare data (ie. EHR data).

Here’s how the whitepaper suggests you evaluate VNA solutions:

  • Interoperability
  • Image accessibility
  • Disaster recovery
  • Upgradability
  • Data security
  • Ease of use

It’s quite easy to see how this same list could just as easily apply to any healthcare IT system that a hospital adopts. The image accessibility may not apply, but accessibility of data (which is what the image represents) is extremely important. I think that many organizations would be much happier with their EHR today if they’d used the above list in their EHR selection process.

The whitepaper also lists events that affect the timing and direction around enterprise image management planning:

  • Replacing a PACS
  • Joining an integrated care community
  • Accommodating new sources of images
  • Impending mergers, acquisitions, and associations
  • Storage convergence
  • Centralized management

Looking through the list, it’s very clear to me that many of the above items are going to be drivers of EHR switching as well. In fact, it’s going to make up the majority of future EHR purchases. Plus, we’re seeing a lot of changes when it comes to joining care communities and mergers, acquisitions, etc.

At the conclusion of the whitepaper, it suggests that the single most important key to choosing an enterprise solution for image management is flexibility:

  • Flexibility of connecting all kinds of devices and systems.
  • Flexibility of accessing information anywhere, anytime
  • Flexibility to scale effectively with facilities’ growing needs
  • Flexibility to meet departmental needs

We didn’t use this framework for selecting EHR vendors, but will we use it the next time around. Has our current EHR experience helped us to realize the value of flexibility with our healthcare IT software vendors? I think these will become part of the future EHR purchase process.

I don’t think the markets are that much different. The future of EHR in healthcare organizations will likely follow the path that imaging vendors have already trod. It’s just too bad we couldn’t learn from imaging’s experiences and apply them to EHR already. Since we haven’t, I think learning about the history of image management systems in healthcare will help us better understand where EHR is headed.

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?

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.