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Guest Consultant Joe Hage Talks With Expert Michael Pacquin on EMR Implementation and Training

This is a guest post from Joe Hage, CEO of medical device marketing consultancy Medical Marcom.

My friend Michael Paquin is a fellow of HIMSS, the Health Information Management Systems Society, and an expert in EMR connectivity, Meaningful Use, and the pitfalls of both. Michael shares his thoughts on both in this short video, which is also in transcript form below.

Michael Paquin: I think if we are looking at physicians today and trying to address some of the problems they’re having in their offices and what they’re afraid of in purchasing an Electronic Medical Record, I think we have to start from the beginning and that is service and implementation.

I want to empower all physicians to make vendors give them the service they need. Getting an EMR is just one part of the puzzle in being successful in achieving your Meaningful Use dollar.

The Meaning Use dollars over a five-year period can add up to about $48,000 to $64,000 depending if you’re applying for Medicare or Medicaid. What you really need to think about is that purchase price and negotiate it well, don’t overspend but do overspend if you will, I know that’s contradictory, but do overspend when it comes to implementation and training.

A lot of doctors purchase an Electronic Medical Record and think they can have the training done in 3 days. I’d like you to think about that for just a moment.

If each and every one of you just bought Microsoft Office and brought it into your practice for the first year or first training, could you get trained on PowerPoint, Outlook, Word, Excel all the different features of Microsoft Office in three days while you’re not seeing patients or you are seeing patients? Can you train all 3-4 nurses in your office? What does that mean?

So what I’m suggesting to you is take the time to get trained so that you can use the product correctly. What I’m seeing out in the marketplace is doctors starting to go with their second or third vendor for their Electronic Medical Record software because they have an unsuccessful first brush with Vendor A or Vendor B – they weren’t trained.

All these systems have workflow issues, all of them are trying to address them, and all of them are trying to get better. None of them are going to be perfect but what’s going to make a perfect EMR installation for you is the training.

  • Make sure you negotiate all the prices.
  • Make sure you buy from a vendor that is certified by the ONC.
  • Make sure you’ve got that certification.

Certification means when you get your Meaningful Use dollars you can show your product was certified. So there is a lot to getting ready for purchasing an EMR, there is a lot to choosing the right vendor.

Make sure that you get in touch with an EMR consultant, there are a lot of lessons learned that will pay for a consultant’s time. Anyway in this first video I think we’ve covered enough but feel free to contact me with any questions.

Joe Hage: So I’ll paraphrase. When you’re choosing an EMR partner make sure that it is going to be around and one that can provide you with the level of training you need.

Michael Paquin: And certified.

Joe Hage: And certified, Michael thank you very much.




The Personal Health Record (PHR) is Alive and Well! Meet Zweena.

Smiling Couple with iPadA personal health record (or PHR) is an individual electronic health record that is stored securely on the Internet so it can be accessed by medical providers and caregivers who have permission.

PHRs allow the storage of all critical health history information in one place. In the event of an emergency, the patient, caregiver or family member can give providers access to health information. By having the most current information always available, duplicate or unnecessary tests can be avoided as can possible drug interactions. This benefit is achieved without having to rely on the memory or incomplete records of the patient. PHRs also allow patients, caregivers or third-party vendors to update information regularly over the Internet so that new data can always be accessed by stakeholders.

Although Personal Health Records have been around for more than 10 years, they have gained little traction. Amidst a healthcare environment that is increasingly supportive of the empowered patient, most patients have neither the time nor the knowledge to enter their own records into a PHR. Many PHRs can interface with an individual hospital or physician’s EHR system, but most are unable to share information bi-directionally with more than one entity or flow seamlessly into a Health Information Exchange (HIE).

With that being said, PHRs could be poised to make a big impact on the future of the delivery of health services. Today’s providers are shifting their focus from individual visits to entire episodes of care across the care continuum, which has the potential to benefit from digitized patient records. As more providers convert to electronic medical records, one of the next steps towards fulfilling the Meaningful Use criteria needed to receive Federal incentive payments is to achieve Enterprise Integration with their electronic records, defined by the HITECH act as:

“the electronic linkage of health care providers, health plans, the government, and other interested parties, to enable the electronic exchange and use of health information among all the components in the health care infrastructure in accordance with applicable law.”

In short, healthcare providers have to adopt systems that can then interface with other providers to share patient data, and collect public health data for comparative effectiveness research.

Although the death of Google Health this year has led many to speculate that the PHR is an idea too far ahead of its time, Zweena is challenging that notion.

Zweena is a personal health record management solution, as opposed to a standalone PHR. Zweena overcomes the traditional downfall of PHRs by taking care of everything for the patient and bridging the (huge) gap between healthcare providers and patients. Upon request by the patient, Zweena contacts the patient’s care providers, requesting their records and entering the record information into the PHR properly. The patient record, accessible via Microsoft Healthvault, is then available for easy exchange with hospitals, physician offices, continuing care communities, family members and others permissioned by the patient.

Zweena is involved in a fascinating pilot program starting October 2011. Virtua Hospital in Southern New Jersey has contracted with Zweena to provide ALL residents in a three-county area a free PHR with all the heavy lifting done by Zweena. This three-year agreement will be a tremendous test of the concept of the personal health record and the improvement of health and healthcare for these communities.

Zweena CEO John Phelan comments, “Most of us only think about our health and our medical records when we are reacting to a health crisis. By then, it is too late to harness the power of our assembled health information. Zweena gives all of us an opportunity to use the information we have today and be more proactive and engaged with our own health information and the information for those we love and care for.”

Image by Mary Pat Whaley

This article was first posted on Technorati.