Are vendors neglecting system reliability?

Installing an EMR is not enough to get to meaningful use. You actually have to, you know, "use" the EMR in a "meaningful" way. We've said it plenty of times before and probably will repeat it frequently in the coming months.

It's rather obvious that the federal government wants to see some benefits, financial and clinical, from its multibillion-dollar investment in EMRs and EHRs. But are vendors leading providers down the wrong path by paying too little attention to reliability?

"Medical IT carries different expectations than standard business IT, and foremost among them is availability. Unlike most business IT systems, which can tolerate some unscheduled downtime, EHR systems have to run constantly," contends Roy Sanford, chief marketing officer at Stratus Technologies, Maynard, Mass.

"For EHR to deliver the quality and improvements and cost reductions its advocates promise, some of the focus has to shift away from software and onto hardware--specifically, uptime. If vendors and policy makers don't face uptime requirements now, they're going to face them later when a lot of the money is doled out and the mistakes are made. Unless they want to be one of those mistakes, healthcare IT managers have to be ready to force the uptime issue with vendors," Sanford writes in an opinion piece published at

To learn more:
- see Sanford's column