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August 11, 2009 News 1 Comment

Patients with cardiac disease  who kept in touch with their doctors via electronic health records were able to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol two years after being discharged from a risk reduction. This Kaiser Permanente study concluded that electronic reminders and direct physician counseling were equally effective in maintaining healthy cardiac risk factors.

Last week we ran an excerpt of a letter from a physician frustrated with his EMR implementation. Since that time, we’ve heard from the EMR vendor, who was thankful we filled them in on the situation. Here is what the vendor shared with us: “We have been in contact with the customer and have been told that the project as a whole is doing well. In fact, 80 percent of the implementations are complete. We are committed to our customers and we work closely with them  to make sure they can optimally utilize the system.” Kudos to the vendor for trying to address the issue quickly. As to the critics who suggested we were siding with the vendor and blaming the victim, let me re-iterate my comment that just about any vendors’ name could be inserted into the letter and, sadly, the story would be similar. There is not one EMR on the market today that addresses workflow issues to the satisfaction of all uses. Almost all practices suffer productivity losses for several weeks after going live. Salespeople, of course, don’t like to highlight the negatives. If there were a vendor who had figured out all the issues, that company would surely dominate the market. Instead we have hundreds of vendors and just a handful at the top.

Noteworthy Medical Systems adds Louisville, KY-based MedX12 as a sales and service partner.


Digital consults are on the rise, especially as insurers like Cigna and Aetna agree to cover their costs. About 20,000 physicians now use RelayHealth’s webVisit and typically receive $25 to $35 per online visit; patients also pay a co-pay of about $10. Patients with no insurance usually $25 to $45 for the service.

Mr. H recommends checking out this interview in the Journal of New England Technology. eClinicalWorks president Girish Kumar Navani predicts his company will see a 20-25% impact from the economic stimulus, and that it will take 5-6 years to evidence itself. Great answer to the question of whether he wants to take the company public: “No. There is no question about it. There’s no way I would kill my freedom to be shackled by reporting to Wall Street every quarter … I think going public is like the hangover after a night out. You really feel good about it the day you go public, and then after that it feels like a hangover — and it never stops.”

Healthcare employment grew by 20,000 in July, including 9,600 new jobs in the ambulatory care sector. The national unemployment rate, by the way, is a dismal 9.4%. Over the last past year, the number of health care jobs rose from 13.3 million to 13.6 million.

ehr scope blog

EHR Scope explores why EMR adoption is still slow, despite the HITECH Stimulus Act. The primary issue seems to be that doctors are taking their time researching vendors because they don’t want to risk purchasing a system that won’t qualify for stimulus money. Of course it doesn’t help that we likely won’t know until January 2010 the final definitions for “certified EMR” and “meaningful use.” The author of the article suggests physicians purchase a simple, flexible, and inexpensive EMR that fulfills their needs and conforms to meaningful use requirements, and to avoid unnecessary features. Perhaps. Then again, I wonder if physicians who are on their second or third EMR would agree that this is the best strategy.

Interestingly, this study finds that EMR adoption is ramping up as a result of the stimulus plan. Providers are increasing their focus on implementing systems in time to qualify for funding.

Nuance Communications, the maker of Dragon Medically Speaking and other speech technology products, beat analysts’ expectations for its fiscal third quarter. The company posted a quarterly net loss of $1 million, compared to a  $9.9 million during the same time period last year. Total revenue grew 11% over last year, led by a 27% increase in Nuance’s healthcare and dictation revenues.


E-mail Inga.

Comments 1
  • Yo Hombre – The cover letter alluded to in your second paragraph was written by the hospital system itself and NOT by the actual end-user customer – your note makes it sound like the doc in question is now happy. He’s not. Why you writing the triple beam lyrical dream rather than dealing the straight dope?

    I find it surprising that the vendor was made aware of the issue by you, given the extent to which the doctor documented his on-going problems, including a message that went out to all the practices in the network…

    A key point of the letter, which you didn’t run, is that the problems he’s had have been in place since before his installation and are not scheduled to be fixed for years, if ever. Sounds to me like the vendor
    is NOT addressing the issue quickly. Last time you played yourself…now the vendor is playing you? We both know you are better than that.

    Why not run the entire letter to let readers decide for themselves? Redact the vendor name and see if folks here think it’s a perfectly reasonable response for every EMR.

    The truth will set you free. Rasie the bar yo!

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