Others agree that embracing Open is critical for the future of health care. Take for example this article: Coalition Calls for Action Against EHRs That Block Interoperability. After a RAND Corporation report found that Open technologies could help lower costs and improve care, calls for interoperability are stronger than ever before. A non-technical explanation of Open Open means interchangeability. Take car batteries for example. How big are the posts that you connect the battery wires to? And how many volts? These attributes are standard for all car batteries, no matter who makes them. In health care, unfortunately, the specifications can be very broad, such as HL7 including “industry standard” Continuity of Care Documents. In a car battery scenario, this breadth might allow the posts to be between 5/8” and 2” and power to be between 5 and 20 volts. So […]

You can’t have a separate electronic health record (EHR) for every specialty in medicine. On the other hand, if you have a general EHR, it won’t have the “brains” to support specific workflows. Fortunately, we can customize SunriseTM EHRs with Medical Logic Modules (MLMs). 3 of my favorite MLMs MLMs are packages of computer code that are the building blocks of electronic clinical decision support. Their potential to improve patient safety is unlimited. Here are three of my favorites: 1)      Insulin dose adjustment When caring for diabetics in a critical situation, clinicians must have fine control of blood sugar levels. A nurse under pressure has to rapidly gather information, calculate dosage and document the chart. One of our clients developed an MLM algorithm using 100 data points to assist in these situations. Now the nurse simply enters the current blood […]


Staying on course with Windows 8

Navigating the choppy seas of health care is not for the faint of heart. A patient’s care can only stay on course if the captain and crew have reliable instruments. Electronic health records (EHRs) are at the helm of healthcare delivery. EHRs pull together data to help doctors see trends sooner. To help patients avoid the rocks ahead. One of the instruments that is growing in popularity today is Microsoft Windows 8. It’s hard to buy a new (non-Apple) laptop without it. This operating system offers some distinct benefits for healthcare enterprises. Smoother sailing with easy-to-deploy technology Windows 8 enables enterprises to use the same management tools they have in place today. Why does that matter? Think about a simple update to software. There’s the client side, and then there’s the server side. Both sides have to be in sync […]


Let’s make it easier to access data

There’s a different aspect of Allscripts Open initiative that occurred to me while I was watching a TED talk by Intel’s Eric Dishman. That idea is Care Anywhere. Previously, I had limited my thinking about Open as being a data-sharing, innovation, collaboration initiative. But Open is about more than breaking down the silos around information. It’s about helping to transform care by making it easier for patients and providers to escape physical limitations around care delivery. Overcoming physical barriers to detect heart trouble Spaulding International has an electrocardiogram (ECG) device that patients can use anywhere, with the result saved in the patient’s electronic health record (EHR). The patient no longer has to go to the physical hospital for an ECG. Compare that with wearing a Holter monitor, a technology that has been in clinical use since the 1960s. You go […]

On Wednesday we officially opened our annual client conference, ACE 13. There are about 3,000 Allscripts clients gathered in Chicago to exchange best practices through more than 400 educational sessions, user group meetings and special events. It’s my first ACE, and it’s off to a great start. People are excited to connect, collaborate and share ideas. In the opening session, I talked about what Allscripts and our clients are doing to lead the transformation in healthcare IT. Client insights have helped create our vision. Sharing our roadmap for the healthcare IT journey I’ve been talking with hundreds of clients in my first eight months as CEO. These conversations are shaping our path to better health care for all. Attesting to Meaningful Use – For many of us, the journey began with government incentives, such as ARRA and Meaningful Use. Looking […]

For me success for Open is when we, the inventors of it, are surprised by what people do. Imagine you make steel beams. You might expect people to use them to build skyscrapers and bridges. But someday, someone will build the Eiffel Tower. And we’ll respond with amazement, “You can make that?!” If people only do what we can imagine, then we haven’t built a successful toolkit. When innovators use what you give them to creatively assemble a brand new solution, that’s success. That’s what the Open App Challenge was all about. Phase 1 recipients proved that with access to the right toolkit (Allscripts APIs), they can help solve some of the most vexing problems in health care. For example, keeping patients safe during shift changes. Paving the way for smooth handoffs between care teams Smart Sign Out is working […]

I’m a big fan of Clayton Christensen. In fact, I just got done reading his latest book, How Will You Measure Your Life. I’m concerned, however, with how people might interpret his  opinion piece about Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), recently published in The Wall Street Journal. Some might read it and think that ACOs are a complete waste or because success isn’t guaranteed, the new approach isn’t worth trying. Some ACOs will fail, some will succeed I agree with a lot of the challenges that Christensen points out. However, Pioneer ACOs were launched with the intent that they would start from a more advanced position than other providers and teach the industry what works and what doesn’t in moving to the next phase of technology application – not that they would all be 100% successful. The CMS Medicare Shared Saving […]

As I shared in my post What’s Motivating Healthcare Innovators?, I’m encouraged by my conversations with Allscripts Open App Challenge developers. Solving healthcare problems is not about financial gain for them; it’s a mission to help others. It’s about transforming healthcare. To make this happen, all of healthcare IT has to work together – and so do our solutions.  Interoperability is key to unlocking the potential that technology has to offer. The Open App Challenge holds promise beyond any one vendor or company.  By fostering innovation and collaboration, we have a much better chance to solve problems we once thought were unsolvable. Phase One of the challenge is underway. We’ll likely have far more high-quality applications than we can recognize. I wish I were one of the judges that will review fascinating ideas from inspiring innovators.   Consider Dr. Phillip […]

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 […]