VARs Will Find Opportunities Helping Hospitals Toward EMR Adoption

Bernadette Wilson

By Bernadette Wilson

VARs Push EMR Adoption

John Daniels, VP of strategic relations for HIMSS, assured VARs there are opportunities for them in healthcare. In his keynote at the Smart VAR Healthcare Summit, powered by ScanSource and Business Solutions, on Aug. 21 at the Westin Chicago Northwest, Daniels explained how HIMSS tracks a hospital’s progress toward electronic medical records (EMR) adoption, which technologies are likely to be in the highest demand in the next one to two years, and how to explain ROI to healthcare IT clients.

The research arm of HIMMS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society), HIMSS analytics, has devised the EMR Adoption Model (EMRAM) to track EMR adoption progress at hospitals and health systems. According to the HIMSS website, the EMRAM scores hospitals in the HIMSS Analytics Database on their progress in completing the 8 stages to creating a paperless patient record environment. 

Daniels provided information on the EMRAM to Smart VAR Summit attendees:

  • Stage 0: laboratory, radiology and pharmacy ancillaries not installed
  • Stage 1: laboratory, radiology and pharmacy ancillaries installed
  • Stage 2: CDR (clinical document repository), controlled medical vocabulary, CDSS (clinical decision support system), may have document imaging, HIE (health information exchange) capable
  • Stage 3: Nursing/clinical documentation (flow sheets), CDSS error checking, PACS (picture archiving and communication system) available outside radiology
  • Stage 4: CPOE (computerized physician order entry), clinical decision support (clinical protocols)
  • Stage 5: closed-loop medical administration
  • Stage 6: physician documentation (structured templates), full CDSS (variance and compliance), full R-PACS (radiology picture archiving and communication system)
  • Stage 7: complete EMR, CCD (continuity of care document) transactions to share data, data warehousing, and data continuity with the emergency, ambulatory, and outpatient departments.

To bring this into perspective for VARs, Daniels provided an additional description of the characteristics of Stage 6 and Stage 7 hospitals: 

  • Use data to drive improved process, financial, clinical, and quality and safety outcomes
  • Are paperless or nearly paperless
  • Fully commit to continuous process improvement through collaboration
  • Have embraced their technology suppliers as partners

As hospitals move toward EMRs, their demands for IT change and grow. Daniels shared the results of a HIMSS Analytics survey of all U.S. hospitals that provides insights into the healthcare IT market. Daniels offered these conclusions drawn from the survey:

  • The most frequently acquired/installed healthcare IT application is physician documentation, followed by CPOE.
  • CPOE is not yet installed in 15 percent of U.S. hospitals.
  • 54 percent of hospitals have not automated data warehousing.
  • 23.49 percent of hospitals are planning bar coding for medical administration.
  • Only 34 percent of hospitals have implemented HIE, a requirement for Stage 3 Meaningful Use and related reimbursements.
  • Of the 5,458 hospitals reflected in the study, 4.07 percent plan to implement CPOE; 3.41 percent plan patient portals; and 3.35 percent plan for physician documentation.

He also gave VARs and other Healthcare IT solutions providers information to share with their clients and prospects on the ROI from implementing advanced systems. For example, data shows Stage 7 hospitals in 2013 showed a profit margin of more than 6 percent, while Stage 0 hospitals operated at a loss. In addition, hospitals achieving higher EMRAM stages can benefit with higher bond ratings. He says analysts “use EMRAM as a reflection of good vision, execution, and commitment to excellence.”

Daniels pointed out that the data he presented at the Smart VAR Summit has been compiled over several years. “Adopting technology doesn’t happen overnight … It takes time for the market to mature and to get to the point where we have a transformed healthcare system. There is still room for growth … room for adopting and improving technologies … That’s good news for you.”

Smart VAR Healthcare Summits, powered by ScanSource and Business Solutions, are sponsored by Datalogic, Honeywell, Motorola, and Zebra.