I love fall! Not only for the changing colours and cool, crisp days but also for the many conferences and trade shows that take place this time of year. At the recent HealthAchieve conference, organized by the Ontario Hospital Association, for example, I learned that there is a growing trend in Canadian hospitals towards a single, enterprise-wide electronic medical record system. Experience elsewhere in the world suggests that this preference for single vendor systems over best of breed environments is fraught with challenges and runs counter to the trend in other industries.
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A new report from KLAS, a market research firm that measures vendor performance based on feedback from the user community, shows while the market for hospital EHR systems nearly doubled in 2009, only two vendors, Epic and Cerner, appeared to benefit from this market growth. According to an article summarizing major findings from the KLAS report, hospitals “want a vendor that can be a consistent and reliable partner in their efforts to reach meaningful use”. Jason Hess, author of the KLAS report, suggests that “Changes in the CIS (clinical information system the marketplace as a result of ARRA seem to have blindsided some vendors and left them struggling to stay afloat in the hospital market”.
While the US has chosen to let the market decide the vendors with whom they prefer to work, the introduction of “meaningful use” regulations is nonetheless having an impact on the US market. Vendors such as Eclipsys, GE, McKesson, and Quadramed lost more hospitals than they gained, according to KLAS and are “struggling to regain lost ground”. While Siemens and MEDITECH did not lose ground in the same as some other vendors, their growth was much more limited than either EPIC or Cerner.
Following up on early post regarding LHIN use of social media, I was intrigued by the following item in the Ontario Hospital Assoication’s most Executive Report:
To address the growing expectation for accountability and transparency across the sector, the OHA, along with a number of partners in health care, has produced a unique “one-stop shop” approach to community engagement that supports both health service providers and Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) with new or existing community engagement strategies.
“Engaging People. Improving Care.” – or EPIC – has been developed as an easy-to-use website that includes over 60
useful community engagement resources. The first website of its kind in Ontario, EPIC allows users to search and tailor community engagement tools and resources specific to their needs, covering topics such as why community engagement is important, key steps to planning, and ways to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies. For further information, contact Sundeep Sodhi at 416-205-1307 or email@example.com, or visit http://www.epicontario.ca.
I spent a few minutes scanning the EPIC web site. I was surprised to find no apparent information related to use of social media or other Internet-based tools for community engagement. Perhaps this information is contained in one of the many reference documents cited on the web site or I missed in my quick scan. If there is no such resource then I suggest that the site authors seriously consider adding information about how to use social media as part of a community engagement initiative. While technology is not the “magic bullet” to making community engagement work, it is certainly a powerful tool, one that is still relatively and for which guidance on best use is particular useful.