Politics and party lines aside, it’s tough to debate the need for improvement in the current state of US healthcare. After all, the World Health Report 2000, Health Systems: Improving Performance, did rank the US health care system as 37th. In the world. Trending downward. 

According to “Ranking 37th — Measuring the Performance of the U.S. Health Care System,” published in The New England Journal of Medicine, “the conceptual framework underlying the rankings proposed that health systems should be assessed by comparing the extent to which investments in public health and medical care were contributing to critical social objectives: improving health, reducing health disparities, protecting households from impoverishment due to medical expenses, and providing responsive services that respect the dignity of patients.” 

In an effort to keep everything copasetic, I’ll avoid a deep discussion here about the recent Supreme Court decision on the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act. Instead, I’ll state something we can all agree on—the importance of creating electronic versions of all patient information and medical records, i.e., an electronic medical record (EMR). In fact, this was one of the few issues that both Republicans and Democrats agreed upon. In this case, health data = gold.

Dr. Jody Ranck, a global health policy and health technology researcher and strategist, wrote an article for Forbes entitled, “How Connected Health, Public-Private Cooperation, and Big Data Can Revolutionize Health Care.” In addition to discussing some of the deeper issues arising from the NFIB v. Sebelius decision, Ranck discusses the specific challenge of EMR interoperability, and, because all challenges are ultimately opportunities, he posits that this is a significant one for the public and private technology sectors.

“Having the ability to choose different devices and technologies to collect and store our [health] data and to be able to move that data from one health plan to another or across healthcare providers is no easy feat,” Ranck says. “Most large healthcare IT programs in the 1990s–early 2000s were very capital intensive, lengthy technology implementations that are expensive to replace.”

In other words, they’re server-based and require significant investments in both time and money. And, because many of these systems are unable to communicate with one another, the industry is left with behemoth, dinosaur-like programs that don’t play nice with others (think Sarah the Triceratops on steroids).

According to “Epic Challenge: What The Emergence of an EMR Giant Means For the Future of Healthcare Innovation,” contributed by David Shaywitz in Forbes,  “Any one company’s EMR system isn’t particularly compatible with the EMR system from another company, resulting in—or, more fairly, perpetuating—the Tower of Babel that effectively exists as medical practices often lack the ability to share basic information easily with one another.”

So what’s the next step in EMR interoperability? According to Shaywitz, it’s a software-as-a-service-based (SaaS) open data approach that will win out because this architecture provides flexibility, nimbleness, and cost effectiveness. But has the dawn of the lightweight, agile, and cloud-based niche electronic medical record systems truly begun? (Think WebPT for physical therapists.) Or can the dinosaurs evolve? Only time will tell, and these next few years will certainly be pivotal in the digital health landscape.

Triumph in the Triple-Aim Game: The Healthcare Executive’s Guide to Readmission Reduction, Patient Safety Promotion, and ACO Success - Regular BannerTriumph in the Triple-Aim Game: The Healthcare Executive’s Guide to Readmission Reduction, Patient Safety Promotion, and ACO Success - Small Banner
  • articleAug 15, 2011 | 2 min. read

    How can an EMR in the Cloud Increase Profits for my Clinic

    By now, everyone is aware of the financial incentives available for clinicians who switch to Electronic Medical Records. The incentives are supposed to help clinics offset their costs while they digitize their entire office, including getting rid of those awful filing cabinets. Before too much excitement sets in, you should also be aware that while rehab professionals are not eligible for the financial incentives . The reasons for this exclusion are confusing, but we will save that …

  • articleApr 27, 2011 | 4 min. read

    4 Things to Look for in any EMR System

    There is no doubt that a quality EMR system is going to make things faster and more efficient in a PT setting. However, not all of these systems are designed the same. Some of them are really good and others leave plenty to be desired. It is important to carefully evaluate several features of them before you choose one to implement for your PT practice work environment. When possible, try free trials of EMR systems before you …

  • Top 3 PT Billing Software Must-Haves Image

    articleJun 13, 2016 | 4 min. read

    Top 3 PT Billing Software Must-Haves

    When I go clothes shopping, I usually head straight to the clearance rack (I love a good bargain), but—as my husband loves to remind me—there’s a solid reason some of those items didn’t sell for full-price. Sure, sometimes the manufacturer made too many—or a particular style didn’t sell as well as planned. Most of the time, though, the discounted items are simply poor quality—and that’s why it’s crucial to be able to spot the difference between cheap …

  • articleJul 29, 2011 | 7 min. read

    Expected and Unexpected Costs of an EMR

    9 Ways to lose your wallet on an EMR Ever feel like you're getting milked dry?  Here's a look at 9 expected and unexpected costs of implementing an EMR   1. Software Licenses : Many providers charge for a software license per users.  It is important to note the cost and renewal periods of the license.  Key questions: Is the license a one-time/lifetime cost? Does it require an annual subscription/renewal cost? How about upgrades?  What if a …

  • The Essential Guide to Disaster-Proofing Your PT, OT, or SLP Practice Image

    articleSep 28, 2015 | 11 min. read

    The Essential Guide to Disaster-Proofing Your PT, OT, or SLP Practice

    September is Disaster Recovery Month, which makes it a perfect time to think about disaster-proofing your practice. If you’re ready to skip this blog because you don’t think a disaster will impact your practice, consider the following factors: Not all disasters are city-wide events, and a disaster of any scale could destroy your practice. These events come in all shapes and sizes, from the sprinklers going off in your clinic and destroying your equipment, to snow storms …

  • articleSep 10, 2011 | 3 min. read

    Should the Government standardize EMR usability?

    Usability provides the foundation At WebPT, we are glad that the EMR industry is finally realizing that usability is the key to adoption . The widespread use of Electronic Medical Records will not only save money and time for providers, but also for patients. The benefits of full EMR adoption are immense.   Proposed "solution" to increase usability  What is somewhat perplexing is the method that is being proposed to increase usability of existing systems. A recent …

  • Last Legs: The Compliance Vulnerabilities of Dead or Dying Software Image

    articleOct 24, 2016 | 5 min. read

    Last Legs: The Compliance Vulnerabilities of Dead or Dying Software

    Rusty mechanical equipment. Creaky carnival rides. Wobbly chairs. People are naturally skeptical of things that are dilapidated, rundown, or slipshod—and with good reason. After all, that which is ramshackle usually isn’t reliable. Now, imagine it’s the physical therapy software you use everyday to run your rehab therapy practice that’s gone derelict. Take PTOS EMR, for example , because if you didn’t know, this therapy office software is going out of business, and it has ceased all updates …

  • What Happens if Your Physical Therapy Software Goes Out of Business? Image

    articleJul 15, 2016 | 7 min. read

    What Happens if Your Physical Therapy Software Goes Out of Business?

    You’ve most likely heard the news: PTOS is going out of business. That means that in a few short months, PTOS customers will be left without a physical therapy practice management and billing software solution, so they’ve got to find new systems—stat . After all, no one wants to lose all of their valuable patient and business data—nor do they want to wait until the last minute to find a replacement. Shopping for a PTOS alternative, partnering with …

  • webinarAug 9, 2011

    Understanding Security and Technology Behind Cloud-Based Applications

    Have you ever wondered what 'The Cloud' actually means? Wish there was an easy way to understand the technology you are currently using? This webinar was hosted by WebPT Expert, Michael Manheimer, joined by WebPT Co-Founders Brad and Heidi Jannenga. Webinar attendees will learn: What exactly is cloud computing? What makes cloud computing different from traditional models? What type of security does a cloud vendor offer? WebPT will debunk a few myths about 'The Cloud' itself.

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.