Comparing EHRs–like measuring how wet is water

The following is a reply I wrote to John’s post at on

EMR Key Differentiators.

You are spot-on with your comment about the requirement that they be measurable.  Otherwise everyone will be arguing something as nonsensical as how wet is the water.

Even on the second group of differentiators, one can argue that they are too easily qualified.  “Excellence” and “easier” are difficult terms to measure.  Stating that an EHR was designed for a specialty may be of no more value than stating a Yugo was designed for the sports car enthusiast.

I’d look for differentiators along the lines of the following, and then see if they result in business improvements:

  • Our system requires 25 % fewer clicks per process than systems A, B, and C
  • Our system uses 1/3 less screens to enter X than systems A, B, and C
  • Productivity at hospitals H1, H2, and H3, as measured by factors E, F, and G, is up 12%
  • We are able to see an average of 12% more patients since we started using XYZ
  • Rework and errors by our clerical staff is down 8% since we started using XYZ

These differentiators each translate to measurable increased revenues and decreased costs.

But, for how long will this matter?  The business driver towards EHR seems to be to ameliorate today’s problems.  I believe the future of healthcare is not the EHR, HIE & NHIN.  The future of healthcare is post-EHR, electronic medical records will be in a cloud, and will be here before the paint on the NHIN has dried.

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