In preparation for an upcoming talk on how Open is driving innovation in healthcare, I contacted a number of applicants to Allscripts Open App Challenge. Over the course of just a couple of days, I was able to video chat with CEOs and Founders of, SampleRx, Purple Binder, ROYL, Chiron Data Systems, mHealthCoach and more. My main reason for contacting them wasn’t so much to understand what their companies do. Rather, I wanted to understand WHY they had started a healthcare company. I was inspired to learn more after hearing the story of Samuel Pierpont Langley in this amazing Ted Talk by Simon Sinek, one of the most famous Ted Talks ever. A couple of takeaways from my interactions with these innovators: First, these innovators have extremely deep understandings of their domains within healthcare. Whether that’s making it easier […]

PinnacleHealth Medical Group was ready to leave “the paper chase.” The medical group, home to 100 providers and 23 clinical locations, recognized it was time for an Electronic Health Record (EHR) to help improve patient care. Thanks to the power of speech, PinnacleHealth Medical Group caregivers can make even better use of the new EHR. A point-and-click environment gives some information, but it doesn’t tell the full story, according to Joseph Cincotta, MD and Medical Director for PinnacleHealth Medical Group.  Physicians needed a better way to record their thoughts about what’s happening with the patient now, and plans for the future. The medical group also wanted to make it as easy as possible for physicians to adopt the new EHR. “We had an immediate need to facilitate EHR adoption with several of our older and less computer savvy physicians,” said […]


Where’s the Beef in EHR Savings?

A recent NY Times article, In Second Look, Few Savings from Digital Health Records, focuses on a new RAND report.  It asks that age old question: Where’s the beef? In other words, when will we see financial benefits from our investment in health information technology? I think we’re all impatient.  It’s not just the economic gains we want; it’s the personal gains we look forward to as patients. But the real savings won’t come from individual healthcare organizations embracing healthcare technology – that’s a “get on board” cost before the organizations are connected to one another. True, electronic health records (EHRs) cut down on costs for things like transcription and medical records storage, and they can also help make sure that providers are appropriately billing. (Where do you find any other profession that doesn’t bill the full price for services because someone lost […]


In EHR Adoption, Patience is a Virtue

A recent RAND study featured in the January issue of Health Affairs suggests that we are slow to achieve the cost-savings promise of health information technology. Authors suggest this is because the systems are not used widely enough, interconnected or fully embraced by the physicians who use them. It’s true that U.S. healthcare hasn’t achieved the savings predicted by groups like RAND themselves (whose models were over-aggressive and questioned at the time by experts in the Congressional Budget Office). But the recent study still concluded that adoption presents the potential to save more than $80 billion annually.  Unfortunately, like the first RAND study published in 2005, this one takes the complex issues challenging healthcare providers, software developers and regulators alike and boils them down to simplistic analysis that ignores the size of the change we are collectively affecting here. Big […]


The Path to Reduce Readmissions

Hospitals are wrestling with readmission rates, some as high as 25-30%. They’re eager to help patients avoid returning soon after being discharged. There is also a financial impact. Some estimate Medicare annual readmission costs as high as $17 billion. As Medicare cuts payments for readmissions, hospitals have financial incentives to reduce readmissions. Strategies to help prevent hospital readmission How many readmissions are avoidable? No one knows for sure. But improving the discharge process could help. There are various approaches to solve this problem, according to Steve Blau, senior director of case management and patient logistics at Medstar Good Samaritan Hospital in Maryland. The top two strategies are improving case management and better care transitions management. In a recent webinar, Blau outlines the components of successful readmission reduction program. He examines specific approaches hospitals are taking – such as focusing on […]

2012 was an awesome year. We released 3 versions of Allscripts Wand™ application for the iPad®. Wand 1.1 turns Wand from a roaming nurse product into a physician one (Clinical Documentation, Orders & Charge). More than 500,000 patients have been touched by a healthcare provider using Wand. Not bad for a product that’s just over 6 months old. Let’s look at Wand as an example application – we used our open API (Application Programming Interface) to build Wand. Yes, we eat our own dog food. Every screen, every field – everything you can see on an iPad – is available in our open API. (an API is like a command language – Sit, Stay, Roll Over… fetch the Doc’s schedule) In 2012 we built Wand and the open API that made that magic all happen. And a few of our partners also delivered […]