Free EMR is it Really Worth it?


Since the introduction of Cloud computing in the EMR industry, the market variables have changed significantly.

The Web enabled EMR solution brings a lot more to the table because of its accessibility and cost benefit. With major EHR vendors aiming to go mobile, Cloud based EMR’s have become a more practical option for developers – effectively reducing the cost for both vendor and the user.

The advent of Cloud computing has also yielded other business models, such as the advertisement model; whereby the EMR vendor generates its revenue through ads and in some cases through statistical data sales to Health/Disease control bodies thus becoming the “Free EMR”.

The skepticism surrounding the “Free EMR” is usually fueled by the question, “Is it really FREE?” and although your better judgment may have already answered the question, let’s restate “It is, in fact too good to be true.” Though vendors may actually not charge you anything for the EMR application, the long term cost for training, maintenance and support still remains.

Free EMR applications offer a certain period (few hours) of freeFree EHR training and support, which obviously (tactfully) is insufficient even for advanced users. This ensures that you will eventually end up paying for ”the Free EMR”; but despite the maintenance and support costs, it may still be a viable solution for some providers.

Let’s consider the other issue with the advert models (selling medical data). Although the data has been cleaned to protect the identity of the patients, many professional practitioners may still have an ethical or moral dilemma. Also, ethically the patient consent may be necessary and breaking such news to your patients can be tricky, “Mr. Abc I have a responsibility to tell you that your medical data under anonymous pretext may be sold to health control bodies, etc. enabling me to save some money on my “free EMR”.” However, this dilemma can be avoided by paying to secure your application from adverts and retain patient confidentiality.

Also, a Free EMR usually does not include complete functionality that even a modestly priced EMR may possess. Features like document imaging, alert messaging or integrated modules of practice management or patient portal would not be provided, hence requiring you to buy them from other vendors. This would not only end up costing you more but may also create interfacing nightmares.

The problem is that most of the Free EMR companies are still barelyEMR for Free through their introduction phase, still working out the kinks of making such a model work. Whereas, conventional client base and subscription based EHR hosting models have existed for a while; allowing them to gain significant market and customer exposure in comparison. Leading EMR companies have not only incorporated customer feedback but also have grown expansively in functionality over the years and their tried and tested solution hence provides a much safer bet.

Lastly, due to their limited functionality Free EMRs usually also end up facing certification problems, which in turn can effect a practitioner’s incentive qualification criteria. A Free EMR company CEO admitted that CCHIT certification was not their cup of tea. The rigorous functionality, security and interoperability requirements required for an CCHITcertification just cannot be supported by a fairly unique revenue model for providing enough resources to build a competitive no cost EMR.

With that said, the purpose here is not to discourage practitioners from utilizing a free EMR, but, in fact, to allow them to make an informed decision.

The Right EMR – Profitable Investment

 

Specialty EMR – Is it the future?


Over the past few years we witnessed lots of developments in the healthcare industry. Although EMRs have been around for as long as 40 years, but it was not until a decade ago that EMR adoption finally gained some momentum. Although the previous administration started laying the foundation for EHR adoption, President Obama made the drizzle into a torrid that swept the medical community off its feet! With the introduction of the American Recovery and Re-investment Act (ARRA) and the CMS incentives; providers, vendors and investors all jumped on the bandwagon of Electronic Medical Records.

However as they say partying hard makes your crash harder; providers started to realize the problem with going all in; although EMRs had come a long way both in features and usability, complete shift from paper to the detailed functionality of a modern EHR is quite overwhelming. Though established vendors realizing the situation did act to provide bewildered practitioners with somewhat customizable templates, a lot still felt hapless as they forcefully tried to shape their practice to adapt to its EMR or “the way of the EMR”.

However dark clouds must part! In this evolutionary age of technology and opportunity, vendors began to develop specialty EHRs; more advanced and focused templates to provide specialists with the right tools the very least. Specialty EMR’s provided much relief to specialist groups such as dermatologists (early targets) providing advanced specialty templates to allow quicker information entry and workflow, customization to enforce best practice guide lines and pre-defined data captures.

Specialty focused EMR has definitely helped in making workflow more targeted to everyday tasks and there yet be more to come as vendors continue to develop advanced applications to remain competitive in this cut throat market.

 

NYC REC Select CureMD for State Wide EMR Adoption


NYC REACH, the federally designated Regional Extension Center (REC) for New York City overseen by the Primary Care Information Project at the NYC Health Department, has teamed up with CureMD Healthcare, the leading provider of web based EHR/PM and portal solutions, as a partner of choice to assist eligible health care providers in New York City to achieve Meaningful Use.

Meaningful Use EMR

“This partnership with CureMD will enable us to combine resources to best help NYC providers achieve Meaningful Use and use their EHR to improve patient care.” said Dr. Jesse Singer, Acting Assistant Commissioner for the Primary Care Information Project.

CureMD CIO, Mr. Bill Hashmat said “We are happy to partner with NYC REACH, together we will reach thousands of providers caring for millions of lives. Being partners with both RECs of the State of New York, we will accelerate EMR adoption across the entire state. We are happy to offer F@ST TRACK MU implementations, delivering quality, efficient and cost effective implementations that start the day our customers sign up. Our new SAS 70 certified hosting infrastructure, six sigma based MU implementations backed by fifteen years of experience in delivering SaaS services is the key advantage for CureMD community of providers.”

NYC REACH provides technical assistance, guidance and information to health care providers seeking to implement EHR systems and achieve Meaningful Use as defined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In addition, NYC REACH facilitates the use of EHRs by providing classes, one-on-one site visits, and feedback on quality measures to help providers use EHR tools to prevent and manage chronic conditions.

NYC REACH is federal designated regional extension center serving physicians in New York City. It was launched by the NYC Health Department’s Primary Care Information Project (PCIP), in partnership with the Fund for Public Health in New York (FPHNY). NYC REACH encourages health IT adoption in physician offices, community health centers, and hospitals to coordinate care and improve health outcomes, specifically through the use of prevention oriented EHRs. More information can be found at http://www.nycreach.org or by contacting pcip@health.nyc.gov or (347) 396-4888.The program evaluates vendors based on numerous factors including company history, financial stability, industry experience, market penetration, solution capabilities, marketing, sales and implementation capabilities, industry partnerships, client satisfaction, MU Strategy and compliance, HIE, and Interoperability. Regional Extension Centers are funded by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator. Regional Extension Centers offer health care providers a local resource for technical assistance, guidance, consulting, education and information in support of acquiring electronic health records and accelerating the process by which health care providers become meaningful users of EHRs.

CureMD Healthcare is an award winning network of health information management systems and services offering certified EMR, practice management, patient portal, revenue cycle management and discrete reportable transcription to help accelerate adoption and Meaningful Use – driving outcomes and subsidy payments to maximize value and returns. CureMD’s advanced web technology and award winning usability facilitate quality decision making, streamline operations, and ensure compliance.

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