Where Are We in Terms of Electronic Medical Records?

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Well we've made great progress here in the US, over the past couple of years and that's because of health reform, and the HITECH Act and the federal stimulus. This actually rewarding patients, physicians rather, paying them a if you will to purchase electronic medical record and use it meaningfully and of course that's the catch phrase is meaningful use which means that they must document and report out that they are truly meeting certain criteria and certain standards and how they're using it in order to receive the funds.

Now we've probably gone from, it depends on whose figures you want to believe, but let's say 40-50% if I go back a couple of years of physicians using electronic records. To today somewhere in the 75-80%, so just over a couple of years, that's a big change we are hitting a bit of a wall I think a lot of the specialists are finding that the electronic records that are cureently in the market don't meet their needs.

I hear a lot of complains from pediatricians and ophthalmologist and oncologist, that the sort of, I call it the broad spectrum, one-size-fits-all family practice or internal medicine EMR, isn't meeting their needs because there are much more of a niche they have special needs.

So they're called, many of them are still holding out. There are also primary care doctors who for one reason or another feel that the federal stimulus funds aren't enough, to have that, basically the cost of them is greater than the stimulus that they would receive or the reimbursement they would receive.

There are estimates, again it depends on whose numbers you want to believe, but some people report that a good Electronic Medical Records system for a typical office can run 40 or $50,000 per seat and $10,000 in annual sort of maintenance fees. That's a lot of money particularly for primary care docs.

And then there is the whole issue about just computers in general and the fact that a lot of docs who are in their 50s, or 60s are nearing retirement, are just kind of holding out saying I'll just wait till this is over and I'm out of here and. So we face that but I am optimistic that we've made very good progress and we'll continue to make progress, because I also see the technology getting much better, I'm seeing new solutions coming to market, as we move to a sort of cloud and services and new devices kind of environment in IT.

I'm quite hopeful that the technology has matured to the point that we can deliver some really good solutions for physicians no matter what their specialty, and at a price point that's affordable.