What if We Created a Health EMR Instead of a Sickcare and Billing EMR?

Rules drive ecosystems and those systems drive entrepreneurs to create products and services. EMRs are an example of a system that was designed to "take what the defense gives you" to maximize revenues and add layers of documentation to satisfy compliance requirements. But, what would the EMR look like if we had a health care system that promotes, rewards and pays doctors and patients for disease prevention, chronic disease management, inappropriate utilization and care communication and coordination?

1. The patient would own the record and share it with those at the innumerable points of care like health clubs, retail based clinics and urgent care centers.

2. Patients and doctors would receive prompts and alarms concerning updates or reminders

3. Decision support would help both doctors and patients manage their particular illnesses and identify at risk behaviors

4. Teams would take care of teams and Health Hang Outs would be routine

5. Scheduling would vary depending on the needs of the patient without one-slot-fits-all 

6. Data scientists and researchers as well as care navigators would have permission from the patient to help oversee data and make recommendations

7. The SOPE format would be replaced with one that highlights complaints and issues according to selected priority screens

8. It would be a whole product solution, incorporating digital health applications and Internet of Things connectivity and analysis

9. It would provide actionable information instead of data dumps

10. It would be smarter. Now we are using EMR pay phones instead of smart phones. 

EMRs will become a critical part of new payment schemes and care coordination.

Considering how foundational electronic health IT has become, particularly in the context of alternative payment models such as shared savings and bundling, we need EMR performance to improve dramatically in 2016. Just like Dave the astronaut in 2001: A Space Odyssey, it’s time for providers to take control back from the central computers.

In 2016, particularly as more physicians put in place IT to capitalize on new MACRA incentives, the calls to improve overall functionality and interoperability of systems will reach fever pitch. Already, Congress is hearing the concerns, and legislation was recently introduced that would hold HIT vendors accountable for their systems’ security, usability, and ability to interoperate with other technologies, giving the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT the authority to rate products in each of those critical areas.

Somebody needs to drop a dime on dumb EMR systems and make them smarter. Puttting the data in the background instead of the forefront will give doctors more time to lay on hands instead of dealing with patient pushback.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org