EMR-net explores the premise that the most significant value of electronic medical records will be in the network that allows the records to be shared among all or most of a patient’s medical care providers. The people and systems that capture the data and the systems that process it are important but the significant value will be in the sharing of at data between providers, services, and patients.
The flip side of value is cost. The most significant costs are the investment the provider must make to acquire the system and get data loaded, and the cost of complexity. Early in the development of EMR systems they were by and large stand-alone with interfaces that were essentially extensions of fax transmissions. Data formats and protocols were of limited importance. As the number of interfaces and the amount of traffic increases compatibility among systems becomes increasingly important. Additional sources of data and uses also raises issues of data quality.
The systems to capture the data in an electronic format had to be in place before the network could develop: without the data there could be no network. We are now well beyond proving that the data can be captured although there are still debates about the best ways to do that. The Internet is providing the network structure and the network processes are evolving.
As the network becomes more robust it creates more value and complexity. That value from the network is part of the benefit of an EMR system for each medical facility that choses to make the investment and join the network. The complexity is part of the cost of creating a massive network with minimal impact on what has alread been invested and maximum flexibility for future development.
We reserve the right to express an opinion on almost any EMR topic, but our focus is on the value and complexity of the network