The following question and commentary is provided by Dr. David Vincent. As it is an issue that is great importance, I have posted it on his behalf.
"I have a concern that I would be interested to see if others have a solution to. I have used EMR for almost four years now. I have spent 100's of hours inputing data for CPP maintenance. My concern is that if my vendor ceases to support his program, which isinternet based, for reasons of bankrupcy, non compliance re provincial standards. Or should the Ontario government finally get to the point where they are seriously supporting physicians in acquiring and maintaning EMR, and the program I use does not "work" with their system, I have no way that I am aware of, of moving all the work I have done into another EMR software. Most companies will only guarantee migration of patient demographics,and nothing else. This is a big disincentive for me to change programs as all this time I have personally spent would be lost.
AS I get deeper into this process I am worried that if I had to change programs for any reason that the task as I see now of reentering all that information would be so daunting that I would likely give up Family practice and start something new. This is the big "time" gamble of going into full EMR, with one of the many companies that provide it. In the future I don't see how all of the current EMR companies will survive as EMR evolves and the government fully supports it and therefore will have their own standards. The company I work with does give me backup files in pdf format when ever I ask for them, so I can at least have a local back up. Are the leaders at the government/policy level looking at this issue so that when the time comes, people like myself, will have some way of transferring data to a new program that will not take 100's of hours again?
I would think that vendors should have to show how they are going to deal with this issue before becoming an approved EMR vendor. Or alternatively does anyone know of a software program that could convert this information into another program? I would appreciate any comments or advice anyone may have on this issue. Dr. David Vincent."
To comment on this posting, please click on the 'Comments' link below.