We were happy to catch up with John Lynn, healthcare thought leader, blogger, and entrepreneur. John is the founder of HealthcareScene.com. The HealthcareScene.com blog network currently consists of 15 blogs containing over 6,500 articles, with John having written over 2,500 of the articles himself. These EMR- and healthcare IT-related articles have been viewed over 12.2 million times. John also recently launched two new companies, InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, in partnership with Shahid Shah, and is an advisor to docBeatapp.com. John is highly involved in social media and also can be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.
Meaningful Use Stage 2 is nearly upon us, yet some early EHR adopters are switching software seemingly midstream? Why?
There is a lot of EHR switching that is happening in the market. I recently wrote a post on the three drivers of EMR switching: Hospital Acquisition, EHR User Dissatisfaction, and Not Meaningful Use Ready. In the case you describe, it's almost always due to EHR user dissatisfaction. There were many organizations who rushed to implement an EHR in order to meet the EHR incentive and meaningful use deadlines. Unfortunately, those rushed EHR selections and implementations are now coming back to bite them. I've heard many EHR vendors say that a large portion of their EHR sales are to organizations who are switching EHR software. I expect this trend to continue and won't be surprised if many of those who attested to meaningful use stage 1 don't attest for meaningful use stage 2.
As you look out longer term, what are some of the EHR platform benefits you envision as a springboard for innovation to encourage broad adoption?
I think it's quickly becoming clear that if you want to practice medicine, you have to have an EHR. I believe we'll achieve broad EHR adoption even if no more EHR innovations occur. However, I'm excited for the day when EHR vendors can stop committing resources to government-funded requirements, which are the antithesis of innovation. Once this occurs, I believe that we could see many benefits from the data stored in an EHR.
One of the core innovations I think we'll start to see is around quality outcomes. I believe the EHR will become the proverbial "scale" that a practice can figuratively "step on" and know how their practice is doing. The measures they use to evaluate their practice will vary based on specialty. However, the data in an EHR will have a powerful effect on an organization. EHR data will help a provider focus on the right patients. EHR data will incentivize action. EHR data will remove subjectivity when a doctor is evaluating the care they provide a patient.
In what ways do you believe technology can improve patient engagement?
Unfortunately, most doctors translate patient engagement to more work for no pay. Technology is helping doctors to understand how patient engagement doesn't have to work this way. A clinic can use technology to engage with their patients without overwhelming the doctor with a lot of free work.
The number one way technology helps patient engagement is through improved communication. All of these technologies are about improving the communication between providers and their patients: patient portals, secure messaging, and social media, etc.
In your opinion, which area of healthcare IT holds the most promise, but is often overlooked or severely untapped?
Health information exchange (HIE) is by far the most promising use of technology in healthcare and is severely untapped. There are some really powerful forces that are trying to prevent the exchange of health information. However, those forces are getting broken down, and I believe we'll soon be able to tap into the promise of health information exchange.
What are some of the most innovative healthcare IT solutions you’ve seen through your work at InfluentialNetworks.com?
In one of my pieces for InfluentialNetworks.com, I wrote about the potential of Windows 8 in healthcare. Whether you like Windows 8 or not, the potential for tablet computing in healthcare is huge. We're in the first inning of tablet innovation. I believe tablets will play an important part in health IT innovation going forward.
What do you predict will be the biggest game changer in healthcare IT in 2014?
I predict no major game changers in healthcare IT in 2014. Unfortunately, government regulation is going to lock healthcare into much of the same. With that said, I am interested to see if the various self-tracking devices can finally break out in 2014. There are plenty of companies trying, but unfortunately, very few of them have really proven to provide meaningful results. I'm hopeful that will change in 2014, and someone will crack the code.