Connectivity, not completeness will create a winning EMR product

In a recent post, I have expressed my belief that a comprehensive EMR product will not necessarily guarantee a successful/profitable one. It’s not that I don’t think comprehensiveness is impossible, just that it is unlikely for a comprehensive product to be maximally relevant to and productive for a private practice.

So if comprehensiveness is not always a goal, is there a goal to which all EMR products should aspire? I think so, and I think that goal is connectivity.

Consider the underlying goals of the meaningful use legislation. The legislation ostensibly makes healthcare better by making its records electronic. But why are electronic records necessarily better?

Easy to store? Sure.

Easy to find? OK.

Easy to check values? Fine.

Easy to transfer?  There we go!

Electronic EMR workflow products, like Ankhos, will certainly improve safety, productivity and (gasp) profitability of a private practices, but the real benefit will come from the ease of transfer of information. It is the transfer of information that increases the number of eyes on a patient chart and decreases the possibility that a provider will miss something important.  This may be old news to some people, but I think this point deserves more emphasis than it is getting. Meaningful use should be emphasizing connectivity, not comprehensiveness or auditability. The latter aspects of meaningful use will improve patient safety but the surest and biggest industry-changing gains will come from stronger record exchange formats and connectivity options. The driver in this debate should be connectivity, not simply electronic storage.

It is obvious that this is being overlooked by lawmakers as they have demanded connectivity without a stable, unique connectivity standard! I would like to know how much information is actually being shared between companies with existing EMR products installed.

Do you have a positive connectivity story to share? Prove me wrong!

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