Why give up a thriving orthopedic practice? To focus
on a thriving electronic health records service, says Eric Fishman, MD.
And so it was that the former orthopedic surgeon shelved
his scalpel last spring, invited some employees of his office-based medical
practice to join his latest career venture, and permanently hung his shingle
on EHRConsultant.com, the online EHR service he founded in 2004.
The free service, which uses a proprietary computing
method to help physicians choose the best EHR software for their practices,
has taken off since CAP TODAY first reported on it in September 2006 ("No
need to shop 'til you drop, thanks to Web-based EMR service," ). The
company's turnaround time for providing EHR recommendations has been cut
from two to four days to one to two days, the list of EHR vendors that
can be recommended has increased to about 340 from 300, the number of
users accessing the service has grown by about 20 percent annually, and
the company now has 12 full-time employees.
What separates EHRConsultant.com from the growing number
of companies offering similar services is the amount of information collected
from and distributed to physicians to aid in decisionmaking, says Dr.
Fishman, who serves as president and CEO of the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.-based
firm. On the information collection end, physicians can fill out a questionnaire
that takes about 60 minutes to complete or a shorter version that takes
about 30 minutes, he says. For small physician practices that have one
or two doctors and budgets of less than $5,000, Dr. Fishman offers a free
self-serve feature that allows physicians to answer seven questions and
then receive an instant recommendation.
On the information distribution end, Dr. Fishman began
offering an online journal, called EHR Scope, in April. The journal
includes synopses of 240 systems along with articles contributed by a
variety of professionals, including physicians, EHR vendors, and investment
bankers. "What's interesting about EHR Scope is that physicians can search
it as they [would] search a database looking for their specialty or particular
operating system," says Dr. Fishman. Those interested can download the
quarterly publication from the company's Web site, www.emrconsultant.com,
or receive it via e-mail.
The first edition of the online journal addressed the
company's name change from EMRConsultant.com to EHRConsultant.com. "I
wrote an extensive article in the first edition of EHR Scope
that basically indicated that there is a general consensus that EHR is
rapidly becoming the more common acronym for the industry," says Dr. Fishman.
"I do continue to use the names somewhat interchangeably," he adds.
Along with EHR Scope, Dr. Fishman introduced
a series of short Web-based videos that demonstrate how EHR systems can
be integrated with Nuance's Dragon NaturallySpeaking Medical speech-recognition
software, which EHRConsultant.com markets and distributes. Dr. Fishman
plans to expand the video series to include dozens more systems. "It's
one of the things I'm pretty proud of," he says. "We've gotten good reviews
Dr. Fishman has also been enhancing the company's color-coded
matching system, called Matrix, which narrows the number of EHR matches
physicians receive to about five or so. The company has moved to a second
version of Matrix, which has substantially improved its ability to provide
a higher percentage of "spot-on" recommendations, he says. "The EHR vendors
tell me that the appropriateness of the match is improving," Dr. Fishman
EHRConsultant.com is expected to release a third version
of Matrix next month. This version is designed to improve the process
of completing the questionnaire on which the recommendation is based.
Those interested in voice-recognition software, for example, will automatically
be presented with a more extensive set of questions about this feature.
Those not interested in such software will skip through the questions
related to voice recognition and be directed to more relevant questions.
In the meantime, due to a backlog in the U.S. Patent
and Trademark Office, EHRConsultant.com continues its nearly two-year-long
wait for patent approval for the algorithms and methodology used in the
Matrix system, Dr. Fishman says.
Yet the holdup has no effect on the company's day-to-day
operations. Dr. Fishman continues to run EHRConsultant.com as a commission-based
business. He has agreements with some vendors to receive a fee if physicians
purchase those vendors' systems based on recommendations from his company.
However, he says, referrals are not linked to whether or not a vendor
has entered into a fee agreement. More recently, Dr. Fishman has assigned
a staff member to contact the thousands of physicians who have accessed
the EHR service through the years to see if they used it to make a purchase.
Until a few months ago, tracking of sales had been inconsistent, which
Dr. Fishman deemed "a flaw in the business model."
Recognizing that there is always room for improvement,
Dr. Fishman continues to seek ways to further refine methods and improve
matches. And shuttering his office-based practice has allowed him more
time to do just that. It was "the best decision I've made in a long time,"
Global Med Technologies recently announced that its
PeopleMed subsidiary will offer complete validation and consulting services
to the donor center and hospital laboratory markets to help facilities
with the transition during software implementation.
Global Med realigned the business operations of its
PeopleMed subsidiary to meet the need for validation services presented
by clients of Global Med's Wyndgate Technologies division and others.
"The establishment of this new service within the PeopleMed
subsidiary allows customers to obtain assistance from the experts who
know the company's products best while maintaining independent objectivity
as a separate business unit distinct from Wyndgate Technologies' operations,"
says Tom Marcinek, president and COO of Global Med Technologies.
Wyndgate markets SafeTrace, SafeTrace Tx, and El Dorado
Donor Doc software for blood donor centers and hospital transfusion services.
Orchard Software recently announced that it has upgraded
its Orchard Copia version 4.0 front-end outreach system.
Copia provides Web-based access or electronic medical
record integration with user labs' customers for remote order entry and
results delivery. It is designed to work with Orchard's Harvest laboratory
information system or other legacy lab systems.
The upgraded version of Copia offers such features
- order screen that is customizable by location or
- customizable order-entry rules
- customizable result-evaluation rules
- schedules that allow results to be delivered according
to user-specified criteria.
Copia is geared toward more complex outreach business
scenarios, such as those found in hospitals and reference laboratories
with multiple labs and collection stations and serving multiple business
Nuance Communications has entered an agreement to
acquire Vocada, a provider of critical test result management solutions.
Vocada's Veriphy solution, delivered through a software-as-a-service,
or SAAS, model, is designed to help pathology departments better communicate
critical test results.
The acquisition allows Nuance to broaden the capabilities
of its Dictaphone Healthcare solutions and accelerate its revenue growth
through SAAS offerings.
"By combining forces with Dictaphone, we can tap into
new capabilities and resources through the Nuance team to expand our market
penetration and continue technology advancements to improve clinical communications
and minimize risks," says Vocada CEO Peter White.
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information
Technology recently announced that it has certified six electronic health
records designed for use in acute care hospitals.
The products are marketed by Eclipsys, Epic Systems,
Healthcare Management Systems, Prognosis Health Information Systems, and
Siemens Medical Solutions.
All of the products underwent CCHIT inspections that
demonstrated their compliance with 100 percent of the commission's published
criteria for ensuring that they can offer clinical management support
and exchange information seamlessly and securely.
The newly certified vendors represent 25 percent of
the companies selling inpatient EHRs.
Practice Fusion has announced that it will integrate
ZyDoc's medical transcription service into its practice management and
electronic health records software.
Users of Practice Fusion systems will be able to dictate
via telephone or a handheld digital recorder that downloads audio files
to ZyDoc transcriptionists. The information will then be automatically
inserted into the patient's electronic health record.
The National Library of Medicine has announced that
its Web site, www.MedlinePlus.gov, will now link to the site www.VisualDxHealth.com,
developed by Logical Images.
VisualDxHealth.com features more than 2,000 medical
quality images and information on over 150 diseases. The site tailors
pictures and disease information to its consumer users' needs. Content
and images for a specific condition are customized based on factors such
as age group, gender, and skin color of the Web site visitor.
MedlinePlus.gov provides information from the NLM,
National Institutes of Health, and numerous other sources in the form
of a health encyclopedia, dictionaries, tutorials, news stories, and links
to other health care resources on the Web.
Four hospitals in the Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare
system recently licensed Mediware Information Systems' HCLL transfusion
management software system, bringing to nine the number of Tenet hospitals
that have entered into agreements with Mediware. The latest four to license
HCLL are Frye Regional Medical Center, Hickory, NC; Spalding Regional
Medical Center, Griffin, Ga.; and Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center and
Houston Northwest Medical Center, both in Houston.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has signed
a contract, effective for nine years, to use Cerner's Millennium PathNet
laboratory information system in more than 150 hospitals and 800 clinics
in the Veterans Health Administration system.
The Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Administration Medical
Center, Houston, has contracted for TheraDoc's real-time electronic surveillance
and expert clinical decision support systems. The medical center will
implement TheraDoc's Expert System Platform and Infection Control Assistant
and Antibiotic Assistant modules.
Dr. Aller is director
of automated disease surveillance and team lead for disaster preparedness
Focus B, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. He can be reached
at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hal
Weiner is president of Weiner Consulting Services, LLC, Florence, Ore. He
can be reached at email@example.com.