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Should Hospital Associations Choose EMRs?

Today I read a press release trumpeting the new relationship between the Texas Hospital Association and Enterasys Networks, which is now the THA’s preferred provider for wired and wireless network infrastructure products.

When I read this I found myself thinking “wow, is it really that easy?” Will hospitals rely on intermediaries like the THA to do the due diligence and sort out what sort of networking gear they should buy?

To me, this is an intriguing concept which could easily and logically extend to EMRs. After all, state hospital associations could do an analysis of an EMR’s technical strength, usability, interoperability and features as well as a  health system or hospital could.

It would certainly upend the industry if hospital associations routinely got down and dirty with EMRs, went through a selection process and put their “recommended” stamp on a small handful of systems.

If nothing else, it would be a shock to vendors, who would have to create new channel relationships with the associations, quickly and well. Marketing to associations wouldn’t superceded marketing to individual hospitals completely, but it would add a new layer of effort.

It would also give some attention to lesser-known EMR vendors. I’d argue that in an honest process, it’s unlikely that all — or even most — of the hospital associations would only choose as “winners” the enterprise EMRs that dominate the market today.  This is not to say that giants like Epic and Cerner would never be selected; it’s just that as I imagine it, a thorough hospital association selection process would identify some underdogs that deserve hospitals’ business.

The truth is, though, that most hospital associations wouldn’t want to go down the road of officially putting their stamp of approval on a small collection of EMRs. The task is enormous, the political costs high if members don’t agree with their choices, and the downside is considerable if a recommended vendor completely flames out in some way.

No,  it seems to me that while the THA has put its credibility on the line for Enterasys, I don’t see it (or its peers in other states) sticking an oar in the EMR selection business. There’s just too much at stake. They’ll spend their last penny fighting regulatory battles — particularly as Meaningful Use steams along — but hospital trade groups are not going to become the EMR Fairy.

October 10, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 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.

How Danish Leaders Are Choosing Their EMR

This is something you don’t see every day. Courtesy of my always-on-top-of-things colleague John, here’s a look at the process by which Danish government authorities are selecting an EMR for the Capital Region of Denmark.

As the TBKConsult blog notes, this is a big decision. The authorities expect to spend 135 million euros on the EMR, which will have 40,000 IT users and need to support up to 12,000 clinical and administrative users at 17 hospitals and 54 other healthcare institutions simultaneously. Once installed, the system will support a region serving 2.5 million patients.

Once chosen, the EMR will be implemented with a pilot in the Capital region and eventually, by the end of 2016, rolled out throughout Eastern Denmark.

The selection process has already narrowed down the list of possibilities to five prequalified vendors: Systematic, Epic, Cerner, Cambio and Siemens.  None of the vendors have submitted official proposals yet.

What’s interesting about this isn’t the shortlist, but the means by which the authorities have decided to narrow the list down. Here’s their list of fourteen criteria by which TBKConsult expects them to do so:

  • Installed base and references
  • Clinical reputation
  • HIMSS/EMRAM level 6/7 certifications (Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model)
  • Fit for purpose – clinical processes
  • Fit for purpose – PAS
  • Fit for purpose – external integration
  • Software scalability – current installed base
  • Software scalability (SIG test)
  • Software maintainability (SIG test)
  • Price/Performance
  • Implementation capability
  • Product strategy and influence
  • Political preference
  • Staff perks and community participation

TBK Consult has also ranked the importance of each of these criteria, assigning the most weight to “Fit for purpose-clinical processes” (25 percent), “Fit for purpose-PAS” (15 percent) and “Fit for purpose-external integration” (15 percent). They rated “Implementation capability” at 10 percent and most of the rest of the criteria at 5 percent.

By their weights and ranking, vendor Cambio comes in first, Systematic second, Epic third, Cerner fourth and Siemens fifth. Intriguing. I wonder how close TBK will be when the actual results are announced?

February 19, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 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.