A reader sent in an email asking “Is there an online health record that is open source or one that I can private label?” The answer is generally yes. Here are just some of the options for open source health records management:
Note that none of the above choices is good to just private label and start a PHR or EHR without some modifications but there are at least FOSS products that won’t require you to start from scratch.
HISTalk mentioned a recent Cerner vs. Epic discussion on their forum. It’s a wonderful example of what an end-user or customer view of a product comparison should look like. I like the idea of forums to ask questions publicly (I get emails asking questions often which I post answers to online sometimes). I’m thinking of adding forums at my new HITSphere health IT blogs aggregator and specialty search engine. Let me know what you think either via email or comments here.
I spoke with the BizDev manager of Fortis TCS today. They are an interesting company that focuses on the tax side of technology. That is, if you spend money on R&D and would like to get tax credits (refunds of what you’ve already paid in taxes) then they’re a group you should get to know.
Fortis comes in and talks with you for 30 to 60 minutes and can then give you an idea of how much money you might be able to get back from the government in the form of tax refunds based on R&D expenditures. They also do similar work with export expenses — meaning you can get tax credits if you do exports. The idea is worth looking at because if you invest in product R&D you can get cash back from the government. And, who wouldn’t want that?
It is very common for networked medical applications that need to work consistently even when momentarily disconnected. I ran across an interesting technology at IBM called FluidSync. It seems to be helpful in those situations when a user needs to use an application across several devices and be able to maintain the application state across the devices seamlessly. For example, if a nurse is moving between several rooms across several computers she would be able to run the same application across the machines and see the same data across the machines while she moves.
Seems very nice for data replication. Even better for state replication, which is a bit more difficult. Using FluidSync one could imagine starting a transaction on one machine and completing it on another. Neat.
The folks at MedGadget asked for Medical Blog Awards nominations and about 6 different readers nominated this blog for an award. I’m flattered, and I thank all of you who thought about me .
Over at Microsoft, reports HealthBlog, they are using their tried and true “eat your own dogfood” approach to open the lines of communication between docs and patients by getting their own employees to be the early users of the system. Dr. Crounse writes:
…we learned that patients really like being able to correspond with their physicians by e-mail, and physicians enjoy providing clinical cognitive services electronically when they get paid for doing so. We also learned that such technology enhances the physician-patient relationship, and more importantly, that our employees didn’t abuse physicians with unnecessary or unwarranted communication.
Roll forward a few years. Microsoft has announced that we will once again test consultations between physicians and patients with Seattle-based Virginia Mason Medical Center and a PPO operated by Premera Blue Cross in Washington. Under the pilot, Premera will reimburse physicians for online consultations for non-urgent care with a small group of Microsoft employees and dependents. The Blues plan, medical center, and employer all will track results.
Seems like an excellent test case and I look forward to learning more about how well Microsoft’s employees (who are obviously technically adept) and a local Seattle physician community (also technically adept) can make this work. If it works here it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work in all settings but it’s great to see that Microsoft is putting their money where their mouth is and I hope they’re able to show that it’s worth trying. I, for one, am tired of hearing why things won’t work before anyone’s even really tried it. I respect Microsoft really giving it attention.
I, for one, would love a virtual office visit. As long as I don’t have to stare at the screen waiting for my doctor for 30 minutes.
It’s time to add a new acronym to the long list of medical records-related acronyms: the DHR. The disaster-time health record is similar to a personal health record (PHR) except it’s meant to maintain an electronic record that is concise and simple enough to be used by emergency personnel in times of natural or other types of disasters (or even personal disasters, I guess). We should have EMRs managed by care providers, PHRs managed by individuals themselves, and DHRs managed by governments and disaster relief services like Red Cross. Ok, so now that we have a new acronym I’m sure all our medical records management problems will be solved .
Medgadget just announced the call for nominations for The 2005 Medical Weblog Awards.
Healthcare Informatics has a good article on Healthcare Customer Service using kiosks, portals, and bedside carts.
The move towards treating the patient as a true customer which has to be won over and catered is requiring new techniques and technologies; the old model of a patient who has no choice but to come to your facility is no longer the case.
Customer service, which has long held a back seat in our industry, is now more important than ever and as consumers continue to be empowered using physician ranking websites, hospital scoring companies, and specialty search engines it will be become paramount if a provider organization is to thrive. Consumers want their healthcare providers to woo them like their banks do and they want the service to match. Those that don’t provide it are doomed to mediocre revenue and low profits.
In healthcare, we have good customer loyalty when the care is good but service goes beyond care to convenience, scheduling, and information access.
Peter Coffee, one of my favorite writers because he actually knows what he’s talking about, wrote a column entitled A Healthy IT Outlook in which he opines that the medical sector holds the key to innovation and growth. Specifically, he says:
Health care technology and practice have long been sources of some of the best case studies available to eWEEK’s analysts. Medicine adopts new technology aggressively and has a tradition of extensive discussion and peer review of new techniques, whether we’re talking about emergency readiness or hospital management or international assistance.
Enterprise developers and managers should take advantage of that propensity to share lessons learned in medicine that may have broad applicability elsewhere. For that matter, no enterprise of any size can safely neglect the impact of health care costs, and the ripple effects of health information handling mandates, on its human resources systems and management practices: Supply-chain opportunities and challenges will continue to reshape the outward face of enterprise IT, but the need to contain health costs and address an evolving spectrum of medical needs will define much of the enterprise’s internal IT agenda.