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Electronic Health Records system is called Practice Fusion

Electronic Health Records (EHR) are one of the vital components to overhauling the nation's health care network. The U.S. government feels that EHR will help reduce the cost of medical care by allowing doctors, labs, and hospitals to share data faster and easier than they can currently.

Part of the economic stimulus plan has funds that are set aside to reimburse medical care facilities and doctors for money spent moving to an EHR platform. EHR provider Practice Fusion has announced that its EHR system will be made available free of charge to physicians in a partnership with BioReference Laboratories.

BioReference will feed its lab data into the Practice Fusion EHR system and recommend the product to its network of 15,000 doctors. BioReference is the nation's third largest full-service medical testing lab behind Qwest and LabCorp. The two larger labs also integrate their data into the Practice Fusion system.

"With this deal, we've gained another 15,000 physicians," says the EHR vendor's CEO Ryan Howard. That statement is a bit inflated considering that the 15,000 physicians have to choose to use the Practice Fusion system. The Practice Fusion system is a cloud-based offering that is trying to attract doctors that currently use paper billing.

The labs are keen on EHR because it saves them time and money. With EHR platforms, they only need to update one record rather than individual doctors' offices. BioReference marketing VP Amar Kamath said, "we only have to integrate the data once, not for every doctor's office."

Dell also recently announced a new EHR offering that it was offering to physicians that is a complete turnkey package physicians and facilities must purchase and share data with a provider or a local hospital. The government is enticing physicians to move to EHR systems by promising bonus payments for those who migrate.

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Technical oversight?
By farsawoos on 9/23/2009 2:02:23 PM , Rating: 5
What kills me the most is how little of a choice organizations have. From where I'm standing, based on my terrible experiences with my employer's current solution, it looks like we get to choose between HUGE, steaming piles of poo, and smaller, less steamy piles of poo. To quote a games magazine article I read one time, we are essentially "picking the plumpest turd from the poo pond."

There's no standardization of data export/import requirements, there're no standards on software and hardware compatibility, and every single one of them has their own idea of HIPAA compliance. I don't know how many time I've argued w/ vendors and their techs over the phone about how their garage-band application that saves patient data in an unprotected ACCESS database ON THE ROOT OF C: (!!!!!!!) is probably NOT compliant with any sensible security policies, only to be told that "OH,, we know HIPAA, ok? We're totally compliant! Look at this letter that RANDOMCOMPANY001 wrote saying we are! They can't be wrong!"

*massive facepalm*

RE: Technical oversight?
By lightfoot on 9/23/2009 4:19:19 PM , Rating: 2
So now the records will be placed on the internet, in the cloud somewhere. Hopefully not in an unprotected Access database. They should at least be using an unprotected MySQL database.

RE: Technical oversight?
By Iaiken on 9/23/2009 4:37:21 PM , Rating: 2
You might want to brush up on your knowledge of how cloud computing works...

A proper cloud has all of its hardware and data compartmentalized so that it is inaccessible except through the thin client interface. This allows the clients to access the service without the need for sophisticated infrastructure on their end.

So the outside world basically interfaces with an interactive display that is relayed to/from the cloud service. This allows the security implementations to be independent of the architecture at each step from db -> service -> client and back again. For example, Encrypted DB -> Firewall -> DMZ -> Firewall -> service -> Package Encryption -> Firewall -> Client -> Package Decryption -> Data Decryption. Like Lego blocks, you just snap together an architecture that suits your needs.

Read, then talk...

RE: Technical oversight?
By lightfoot on 9/23/2009 7:30:57 PM , Rating: 2
You don't know me so I'll forgive your lack of understanding.

My entire post was sarcastic. There are huge benefits to cloud computing, and I would never condone the use of an unencrypted database from any vendor being used to store patient health records.

My only point is that a bad design will still be a bad design even if it uses "cloud computing." You must still engineer the solution to be accessible and secure (two traits that generally conflict with each other, but can be done.)

RE: Technical oversight?
By KLO on 10/2/2009 8:57:18 PM , Rating: 2
Okay, yes I get it also but heres the problem...when you don't own your own security on your own intranet then regardless of the number of times you encrypt someone else owns the key. We all have suffered enough at the hand of others but due to that we cannot go and make the same mistake again. I cannot stress how important it is not to put your eggs all in one basket especially for something as sensitive as HIPPA. We no longer have privacy anymore and this country has so many big brothers that we are now beginning to get selectively destroyed through electronics. Our health is our business and no one elses. Do not share it at all. Intranetworks can be interconnected and you do not need a cloud or a vulnerability. Accessibility may be the only good thing in the end but really its like a microwave. Is making the food any faster really that important? Would you go out and buy a microwave that went faster even if yours was fast enough even though you ran the risk of burning all your food? Come-on! This sounds like a disaster and this comes from an IT and Medical person.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh
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