There's a great post on the Hyland Software blog about how the Electronic Health Record needs to show more than just Patient Data. The post highlights some feedback from Last Month's HIMSS Conference, but the point is that Healthcare Organizations need to keep their eyes and ears open as they move forward with implementing Electronic Medical Record Systems.
It's alarming how many of these EMR Vendors are creating completely closed systems and relying on inexperienced technical resources to develop their "Document Management" portfolio. I would compare this to Ford Motor Company deciding that they were going to let Automotive Engineers design the LCD Screens in their newest Vehicles... It just doesn't make sense. The logical choice is to let the LCD Screen Makers do what they do best while Ford focuses on producing quality vehicles.
The Document Management has an entire industry behind it with focused, specialized software products that address issues such as integration, distributed capture, and technical details such as Image Caching, Security, and Audit Trails. Most of the EMR Vendors that I've been exposed to have a great core competency in managing Data relating to a Patient - meaning that they excel information that is naively electronic or input directly into their product. I've seen a trend, however, where the Document Management piece of the solution is much more of a bolt-on that doesn't work quite as nicely or provide the features of a true Enterprise Content Management System.
In the end, the best case scenario for many practices, clinics, and hospitals is to choose the EMR that is going to suit their Clinical Practice the best, while at the same time exploring a Document Management Solution that enables efficient Medical Record Scanning for Legacy Information and tight integration with various business and clinical applications, including the EMR. This strategy provides the best long-term prognosis for success by leveraging the strengths of each technology while not sacrificing future flexibility or scale.
What's been your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments!