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September 21, 2009 News 4 Comments

From No Free Lunch: “Re: EHR excuses. You seem to be stating that physicians in private practice are looking for a free lunch or free EHR. I think this is off the mark as HIStalk has published at least two analyses that pointed out that the physician ‘stimulus’ dollars are a poor business deal if one is rushing into the fray just to get them. I would not characterize practices as ‘cheap’ but as ‘cautious’.” I agree.  My point was that physicians continue to avoid adopting EMR. The biggest barrier appears to be cost, and in some cases, “free” is not cheap enough. As an industry, we need to ask why this is the case. Is it because the ROI is poor/non-existent? That the potential improvements in quality of care do not outweigh the cost of using a time-consuming EHR? In many cases the stimulus money may provide the tipping point, but that’s probably not true across the board.


From Peeving: “Re: additional pet peeves. Add those that take those registrations and put you on everyone’s e-mail list for solicitations! The Everything Channel got my address, signed me up for "everything", and the Unsubscribe link was blocked by my corporate firewall.” The weight loss spam bugs me. Did some ex-boyfriend sign me up as a cruel joke? Or worse, is my mother try to tell me something?

AmeriHealth says that 75% of all claims are now submitted electronically, which is up 50% from three years ago. I was actually surprised that the number is not closer to 90%, so I guess I am out of touch.

Dell announces it will pay $3.9 billion for Perot Systems. The announcement comes less than two weeks after Dell released plans to expand its healthcare offering, starting with an EMR offering for hospital-affiliated physicians. Given that almost 50% of Perot’s business is healthcare-related, it sounds like Dell is trying to further a stake in the healthcare arena. Not a bad move, especially if Dell wants to be known for more than making and selling PCs.

In Clay City, IN, a family physician relies on his practice’s EMR while making house calls to remote areas.

accent capzule

Webahn launches two new iPhone Apps that target physicians. Capzule is an EMR service that allows physician to access to patient records outside of the office. I don’t think I have ever heard of Capzule, but they offer an EMR for $50 a month via a SaaS model. OvernightScribe allows physicians to dictate notes an letters on the iPhone and sent them to OvernightScribe.com for transcription.

If neither of those applications meet your fancy, Keystone Insights has also launched DocWrite. The free application provides mobile dictation and transcription and allows doctor to dictate patient information to add into an EMR.

Navicure adds Heartland Orthopedic Specialists (MN) and Fon du Lac Human Services (MN) to its client roster.

Phytel releases version 5 of its Web-based Proactive Patient Outreach solution, which Phytel CEO Steve Schelhammer says will help physicians to manage the health of their patients while quality for P4P rewards. We published an HIT Moment with Schelhammer back in June, when he explained some of the ins and outs of the product.

If you are wondering how US healthcare compares to the rest of the word, this article includes a number of “real-life” anecdotes from American travelers. For the most part, patients reported care was good and much cheaper than comparable services in the US.


Piedmont Medical Care Corporation (GA) purchases an additional 230 EHR/PM licenses from NextGen. Piedmont says they are purchasing the licenses in pursuit of the financial incentives being offered through ARRA legislation.

This AMA article encourages physicians to not let their EMR get in the way of the patient/physician relationship. Making eye contact and discussing the technology are two key strategies to ensure patients don’t feel the computer is cutting into their time with the physician. The article also quotes Lyle Berkowitz, MD, an occasional HIStalk Practice contributor.

The Social Security Administration is making plans to develop an EHR for deployment across its 30 employee health centers nationwide. The agency recently published a request for quotes for contract services.


E-mail Inga.

Comments 4
  • Re: EHR excuses. The problem is not that there is no ROI. In fact, most third generation EHR systems can easily show a definitive Hard $ ROI that would make any financially astute person salivate. The problem is that physicians are (generally) not financially astute. Even when you show them a strong ROI, they still want to know why they have to write a check. Of course, that’s when we have to again explain the “I” in ROI. I think if we’re going to expect doctors to run multi-million dollar businesses, maybe medical schools should spend a little time teaching basic business principles.

  • Of course “free” isn’t good enough for most practices…with many EHRs reporting a loss in production of as high as 30% (though, more likely, closer to 5-10% over time), that’s an *enormous* hit on a practice.

    I work with pediatricians and the ARRA math is ridiculous – one or two extra well visits a week, and each pediatrician would make more $$ than ARRA provides, owe the Feds no data, and provide more healthcare. And peds are at the looooooooow end of the scale.

    Cripes, even $100K over 5 years doesn’t make up for a loss in productivity of 5%. $20K/year, cost of money aside, is only $1m in charges…which most doctors blow by before the end of summer (if I have pediatricians doing it, the other specialties are doing it).

    Does anyone here – except for the employees and owners of EHR companies – actually believe that the ARRA funding is benefiting anyone?

  • RE: EHR ROI and business sense.

    Two jokes I often tell directly to the docs struggling to make a smart decision:

    – I’d have a hard time selling a printer that printed $2 bills to a doctor because they’d hold out for the “printer that prints $3 bills” that they heard about from a colleague.

    – Most doctors would rather collect 75% of $1 than 50% of $2.

    I’ve watched many-a-practice walk away from insurance negotiation contracts that might cost $25-50K, but are all but assured of returning 5-10x that amount, annually.

  • RE: The SSA wanting to purchase an EHR. This is a mess…pilot is 6 locations, total will be 30 locations. Amount to be awarded not to exceed $25million. The system will be selected off the RFQ—no demos of the software before purchase and it must be “live” 30 days after the contract is awarded. Are these people serious ? Inga, can you watch this and let us know who was awarded the contract…if anyone?

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