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 article from Kevin MD cited the Government as a great way to standardize and test usability requirements. I have some issues with this approach and I am sure many providers are with me on this one. Before I explain, let’s get some background.

 

Creating a usable product

Usability has always been a number one priority for WebPT. We feel that if your system isn’t usable it doesn’t matter what kind of blood, sweat and tears went into building it. This mindset is crucial to software and is exactly the reason development teams need a Subject Matter Expert (SME). A Subject Matter Expert is essentially a person who will use the product after the development phase. The SME is your target audience and they are chock full of insights into how the system should work in the clinical setting.  How are software programmers supposed to understand the nuances of a patient encounter? They must have a resource available to provide them the necessary insight. If you don’t understand the needs of the customer you are designing for, you won’t be able to create a highly usable system.

 

Mandating Usability

Back to the article in question: If expertise is what we need in the development process, how is the Federal Government going to provide that? There are hundreds of medical specialties that each require different modules, tests, and workflows. The missing ingredient in EMR software is the expertise not the standardization. If your end user is considered every step of the way, you will create a system that ranks high in the usability department. Systems that are currently low in the usability department will eventually become obsolete. The end result will be a robust marketplace with usability at its foundation. It is not the Government’s responsibility to ensure software vendors are making good products; fortunately, the free market already knows how to weed out unwanted products.

 

How can the government help?

The government could assist adoption of EMR by implementing initiatives that foster entrepreneurship in the Healthcare IT space or by expanding their incentive offerings to include medical professionals outside of MDs, but relying on them to ensure a usable EMR seems counterintuitive. What are your thoughts on the Government getting involved with EMR usability requirements?

Physical Therapy Software Buyer’s Guide - Regular BannerPhysical Therapy Software Buyer’s Guide - Small Banner
  • articleApr 8, 2011 | 4 min. read

    Understanding the Meaningful Use of EMR in Your PT Practice

    The recent emphasis on healthcare has been contentious, but there are some good outcomes from the dialog. One of the biggest areas of evolution in how any medical practice runs is the move toward computerization of medical records. The automation of a PT practice documentation system fits in with those changes because the move toward networked and automated management of patient records is changing the physical therapy world in a very positive way. In terms of the …

  • 3 Newsworthy Notes about the HITECH Act in 2015 Image

    articleMay 27, 2015 | 6 min. read

    3 Newsworthy Notes about the HITECH Act in 2015

    The HITECH Act ignited a fervor in the healthcare industry in the early 2010s. Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (a.k.a. the HITECH Act) incentivizes the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health record (EHR) systems—and penalizes those who fail to do either. According to CMS , eligible providers could receive incentives up to $44,000 through Medicare and up to $63,750 through …

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Reform: 5 Key Healthcare Forecasts for 2017 Image

    webinarJan 5, 2017

    Cloudy with a Chance of Reform: 5 Key Healthcare Forecasts for 2017

    Predicting the weather is tough—just ask any meteorologist who has called for sun on the day of a major downpour. Well, predicting the fate of the US healthcare system isn’t much easier—there’s a lot up in the air, after all. But, even without a healthcare equivalent of Doppler Radar, there are a few key trends that are sure to have a major impact on PTs, OTs, and SLPs in 2017 and beyond. And to keep your practice …

  • 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 …

  • articleJul 19, 2012 | 3 min. read

    Land Before Interoperability

      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 …

  • Common Questions from our Cloudy with a Chance of Reform Webinar Image

    articleFeb 13, 2017 | 13 min. read

    Common Questions from our Cloudy with a Chance of Reform Webinar

    In our first webinar of 2017 , WebPT’s co-founder and president, Heidi Jannenga, teamed up with CEO Nancy Ham to discuss the current and future healthcare trends that will impact PTs, OTs, and SLPs. (Missed it? No worries; you can view the complete recording here .) As always, we received quite a few questions during the presentation—way more than we could address live. So, we’ve put them all here, in one handy Q&A doc. Scroll through and …

  • The Physical Therapist's Guide to Contract Negotiation Image

    downloadSep 15, 2016

    The Physical Therapist's Guide to Contract Negotiation

    As a PT, you put your heart and soul into your work. So, it’s only fair that you get paid what you deserve. Unfortunately, payers don’t often see it that way, which means that in order to get what you want out of your private payer contracts, you’ve got to negotiate. And to do so successfully, you need to know how to play ball. Enter your email address below, and we’ll send your free guide.

  • articleSep 26, 2011 | 3 min. read

    An EMR should never do the thinking for you

    With several years of experience providing EMR software to Physical Therapists all over the country, we have heard a million different needs for a million different scenarios. One of the more surprising requests is the desire for a system that "does all the work for me." We have thought a lot about this request and decided that it is rooted in education. EMR is the future of healthcare and with the future comes ideas of artificial intelligence …

  • Is Your Physical Therapy Software Ready for ICD-10? Image

    articleAug 25, 2015 | 6 min. read

    Is Your Physical Therapy Software Ready for ICD-10?

    At this point, the majority of physical therapy clinics are using some type of software to document, schedule, and bill for patient treatment. Thanks to ever-increasing compliance regulations, paper had to go the way of the VHS, becoming nearly obsolete. When your practice switched from paper to software, it was a big change. The process took time and training, and there undoubtedly was a period of adjustment. Now, you’re faced with another switch: ICD-10. And just as …

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