Blogging about EHRs from a social service perspective

Specialty Electronic Health Records — are they needed?

I’ve recently come across several electronic health record (EHR) vendors in my travels that market themselves in a certain ‘specialty.’  There are EHRs for primary care, hospitals, child welfare organizations, long-term care, residential facilities, college/student health, nephrologist, optometrists etc.  It’s easily overwhelming.

Some vendors offer customizable solutions.  If they include some sort of bed assignment module, that could be adapted to residential facilities, long-term care, and hospitals.  However, if a provider only provides outpatient mental health, they don’t need this functionality, and it is ‘turned off.’

Similarly, some vendors are certified to meet Medicare/Medicaid’s meaningful use requirements.  If a provider doesn’t bill or intend to bill these programs and the EHR includes these measurements and reports, is the provider meant to ignore them?  Some of these are ‘core’ requirements, and I imagine cannot be customizable.

It seems to me that the majority of these EHRs are ‘specializing’ as a marketing ploy.  If there are too many specialty EHRs then interoperability becomes an issue.  Is there also more of a concern that a ‘specialty’ EHR could go under faster than a ‘generalized’ one?


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