Friday, January 28, 2011

Electronic Medical Records (EMR) - 3 reasons it's a hot topic

Health IT and Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are predicted by many to be the most significant issue in the health care industry for 2011. “Why?” is a question that is unclear to many. Here are the top 3 reasons:

2009 Economic Stimulus Package
Health care providers can collect reimbursements of $44,000 or even $63,000 if they attain something called “meaningful use” of a certified electronic health record system. Meaningful use is a fuzzy concept… it’s tied to a practitioner’s increasing adoption of EMR and subsequent ability to retain – and eventually share - more and more health care data. The challenge now is that many practitioners are “stuck in the mud” trying to decide what to do. This is so common that entire organizations and events are springing up to help them with these determinations.

And for those who STAY stuck… in 2015 the incentives will be replaced with penalties.

New Medical Codes
The ICD-9 medical coding system will soon be replaced by the ICD-10 codes. This increase, along with new formats imposed by HIPPA changes, bring a five-fold increase in the number of diagnosis and inpatient codes (over 1,300 mod’s by 1/1/12). Imagine trying to keep up with THAT on paper… practitioners need a 3rd party to manage this task.

Medical Device Event Tracking
The FDA is likely to require closer tracking of adverse events related to medical devices, resulting in an online system to track such events.

What does all this mean for real estate?  It means that (1) Health IT companies are all going to be in a major growth mode this year, (2) practitioners need to be considering technology infrastructure when evaluating real estate, and (3) specialized know-how matters more than ever.

The health care information in this post comes largely from my interaction with health care and technology leaders, but there's a report worth mentioning... it's Price Waterhouse Cooper's report on the top health industry issues of 2011, and it has some great insights. You can access the report here.

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