HUGE Opportunity in Content Management: Electronic Medical Records

President elect Obama announced parts of his economic recovery plan in his weekly "radio" address. There are a lot of good pieces to it that should help America's down economy, and some that will be a huge boon for the Enterprise Content Management industry:

In addition to connecting our libraries and schools to the internet, we must also ensure that our hospitals are connected to each other through the internet. That is why the economic recovery plan I’m proposing will help modernize our health care system – and that won’t just save jobs, it will save lives. We will make sure that every doctor’s office and hospital in this country is using cutting edge technology and electronic medical records so that we can cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.

Gee... Obama says medical records should all be electronic to help save the economy? I agree! And there's nothing like a presidential endorsement to boost your industry, eh?

Many ECM experts have been preaching this for years... in fact, a lot of them have recently reminded folks about how much hard cash you save with a coherent, electronic, information management system. Just recently, over on the AIIM Blog, John Mancini's most popular posts are all about using ECM to cut costs. Oracle recently started their Survive Or Thrive with ECM web conferences, which give hard data from customers about how ECM made them more efficient. There should be one or two per month for a while... The presentation by Emerson Process has some especially useful statistics for Return On Investment.

Aside: I know some free-market fundamentalists hate the idea of government spending, but this kind of initiative is necessary. The economy is in the early stages of a deflationary spiral... which makes banks are scared to loan cash, consumers hesitant to spend cash, and debtors without cash will find themselves deeper in debt. Deflation may be a good thing for gas and house prices... but the spiral soon forces business to sell products for less than the costs of production. In order to stay in business, they are usually forced to lay off workers...The best way to stabilize deflation is for the government to purchase a wide range of commodities.

This month, there is a great article in Forbes about deflation... what are its risks, and how to we stop it? Instead of throwing money at banks and wall street, the best option is for the government to purchase glass, steel, concrete, computers, light bulbs, and stuff like that. This drives up overall demand, which reduces supply, which stabilizes prices, and ensures businesses don't have to lay off workers.

The Forbes article questioned whether Obama could launch an initiative of sufficient size and usefulness in time... but I'm hopeful, because everything Obama proposed -- make government building more energy efficient, launch a large-scale broadband initiative, repair broken school buildings and bridges, and force municipalities to "use or lose" their federal grants -- all sound practical and swift. The government will soon be buying up a bunch of commodities, and using them to make America more efficient. This will create new jobs, stabilize prices, and get the economy going again. More projects are needed, but this is a promising start.

The potential extra business for my industry is just an added bonus ;-)

Yes, but...

...ECM is a far cry from EMR. I agree with your arguements though. There is a role for government in stimulating the economy. There has for a long time even been a role for Government to play its part in fixing the disfunctional state of healthcare. And there is definitely a role as a regulator to stop some of the more stupid things that happen on wall st before they affect us all;-)

As in the healthcare realm, the problem in finance is that the problems are complex, and the necessary solutions only recognised and understood by a few. Listening to the recent "This American Life: Another Frightening Show about the Economy" I was struck by 3 things:
1. Once you have the whole story, the "financial meltdown" is no longer black magic: it can be reduce to a series of inevitable, understandable events and consequences
2. The mainstream media is not telling us the whole story, probably because they generally don't understand it themselves and are just parroting what everyone else says
2. Yet another case of where proactive regulation is the only way of curbing the worse excesses. Voting against regulation of the credit default swap market because "its very complex" and the "banks are the experts" is such a lame abrogation of responsibility.

When you take this same thinking into the EMR arena, parallels are found. Arguably, one of the biggest inhibitors of widescale adoption of open, interconnected EMR solutions are the dual issues of identity and consent. When I return to the same clinic time and time again, they can assure who I am, and what consent I have provided for my records to be shared. But when I unexpectedly appear at a hospital on the other side of the country, how do they reliably establish who I am and whether consent has been provided for sharing of all my records?

It is a complex issue, and for a long time now industry seems to have only been able to solve it in limited scenarios (as long as I stay within the same regional health organisation for example). But to rapidly develop national and global solutions, someone needs to lead...

many ECM systems manage EMR

they are complimentary technologies... some EMR needs can be satisfied with existing ECM features, some require a slight extension of ECM features, others make more sense to keep in separate EMR repository.

In fact, Swedish Medical used oracle ECM to implement a EMR system. They will be presenting some of their system on February 24, 2009 for Oracle's Survive or Thrive series.

In any event... there are a ton of ways ECM systems can help "paperless" initiatives in hospitals. It could be as big of a driver in 2009 as e-discovery...

Please just consolidate perscriptions

So, do you know how many times I have been to the Dr when one of my kids has an ear infection and we leave with that little white signed piece of paper, which we then hand to the pharmacist two blocks away????

Ridiculous. Dr office A, should electronically contact pharmacy B and it shouldn't matter who A and B are.

The only reason this doesn't work is the same reason there are 4,000 independent cell phone charges. Both of which make me furious.

Do a search on the Common

Do a search on the Common User Interface on my blog, there are many answers without re-inventing the wheel. We need hands on algorithm folks to do it though, too many now rely on what is relayed to them and do not understand the entire concept, which I address in many posts.
http://ducknetweb.blogspot.com/

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