I’m heading home today, after a quiet Monday evening catching up on emails and the like. Well, I did go down to the casino long enough to feed the slot machines another $20. And had a couple of glasses of wine and a good dinner. Before leaving the hotel this morning I had breakfast with a few users and listened to their impressions about the conference and eClinicalWorks in general.
As mentioned in a previous post, ECW’s biggest challenge will be to beef up its support. While users will tell you the product is great and much less expensive than other EMRs with comparable features and functions, they will also complain that it takes too long to get issues resolved. And then users will also say they value the 24/7 live support that ECW provides at no extra charge.
My breakfast-mates relayed stories about new releases not functioning correctly and of frustrations that desired features always seem to be promised for the “next” release. And that they did not receive adequate training. When I asked them their experience with other software vendors, they agreed ECW was not the only vendor they have known to have problems with support and product QA. And, I was told their doctors do not want to pay additional money for training. And, as users, they were too busy to learn new functionality on their own. I say this, not in defense of ECW as much as to remind all of us that no vendor is perfect. No one has come up with the perfect model for support/QA/and training. If a company had, they’d have the market cornered and we’d have more than 20% of physicians using EMR. It takes time and commitment to maximize the use of software, whether it be ECW, Cerner, or Microsoft Excel. The government can throw billions to the industry, but that doesn’t change certain fundamental “truths” about software, physicians, and vendors.
Meanwhile, back at the Venetian, ECW was busy releasing press releases. ECW now has a west coast presence, opening an office in Pleasanton, CA. The company also shared news of its new patient-record sharing tool that will allow ECW users to electronically share medical information with other ECW practices,as well as third-party EMRs. Finally, Children’s Hospital Boston and ECW are collaborating to combine patient data from their ambulatory physicians’ systems and the hospital’s Cerner EMR.
I’m leaving Las Vegas…