Merger, MU revelations, genetics make for remarkable week in EMRs

Wow, what a week!

And I don't mean that just because the Chicago Blackhawks last night won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1961 and I'm hoarse from celebrating a remarkable two months of playoff hockey. It's been a memorable week in the EMR world, too.

As we report today, Allscripts is buying Eclipsys for $1.3 billion in stock. Don't be surprised if this deal sets off yet another round of consolidation among EMR vendors. These things tend to happen in bunches.

We also learned this week that even the largest healthcare organizations with long-established EMRs and advanced IT shops are going to struggle to achieve "meaningful use." I mean, if Intermountain Healthcare is lacking on 36 of the 48 proposed requirements, imagine what position many community hospitals must find themselves in right now. Or, for that matter, how are small physician practices going to reach meaningful use and earn the Medicare and Medicaid bonus payments?

HHS promises the final regs by the end of the month, so the countdown is on for that, too.

Meanwhile, in what may be the most interesting story of this week's FierceEMR, a federal advisory panel says EMRs can serve as instant education tools for clinicians trying to figure out the fast-changing world of genetic medicine. From what I can gather, the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society is promoting clinical decision support and doesn't even realize it.

I wrote in FierceHealthIT on Monday about a new study showing that consumers don't understand evidence-based medicine. That seemed pretty obvious to me, especially since many healthcare professionals don't understand EBM either, or at least have some serious reservations about it. Well, if they don't understand evidence-based medicine now, just wait until genetic testing and genomics become routine parts of care. Physicians will be begging for clinical decision support then. - Neil