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Writing Apps for the EMR. It Worked for iPhone

April 14, 2009
by James Feldbaum
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The Wall Street Journal today reported on the “perspective” by Kenneth Mandl and Isaac Kohane in theNew England Journal of Medicine. Their point of view, namely creating an iPhone-like open platform, would allow developers to write applications that would rise or fall on their own merits. Their argument “allowing competition and 'natural selection' for high-value, low-cost products. This approach contrasts sharply with design of a national system by committee."

This perspective will send shivers down the collective spines of vendors who are counting on their “certification” as their ticket into the EMR arena. Clearly, there are already dozens of advanced “home-grown systems” that could be faced with obtaining some form of certification if the government agencies make it a requirement for stimulus money. In my travels I have seen some extraordinary EMRs created by physicians for their personal practices. There is some real talent out there that would enjoy the opportunity to contribute to an open system EMR. Are we missing an opportunity? The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges, or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in the common people. Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892)

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