Tips & Tricks
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Obama and Girish
Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The afternoon session began with a talk by Dr. Farzad Mostashari, the Chair of the Primary Care Information Taskforce of the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. (I’m hoping to get one of his cards, to see if that title fits on the card itself.)

He highlighted the Take Care New York Build and Implementation of eClinicalWorks.

At the beginning of his talk, however, he paid tribute to the historical significance of this day (Election Day) by comparing the meteoric rise of eCW with Obama’s campaign, and produced one of the funnier slides of the conference:

The Top Ten Reasons Why eCW and Girish are Similar to Barack Obama:

10. Both have funny names.

9. Girish is also NOT a muslim.

8. Competitors say they will both raise your user’s fees.

7. The number two guy is a hothead (Mahesh)!

6. Detractors say that both just tell you what you want to hear.

5. Detractors say that neither actually care about the little guy.

4. Both campaigns depend on the support of strong ground troups (showing a picture of eCW staffers present at the conference).

3. Both campaigns are run by a bunch of kids (showing a similar picture of staffers, highlighting their youth).

2. The company is about as old as Obama’s campaign.

And the number one reason…

1. What once seemed risky, is now the safe choice!

The New York project is huge, depending on money from the city and providers, they chose eCW as their vendor in 2007 and now have signed up 193 small practices (representing 393 physicians), 22 CHCs (398 physicians), and 4 hospitals (527 physicians). They subsidize and provide training and support to the small practices (and CHCs) that service the underserved.

When I started using eCW in 1997 (it might’ve been later, but it seems like it that was long ago), the company really focused on small practices. This was a brilliant business plan, because it allowed them to mature the product and gave them a niche, because the small practices were generally unable to buy an EMR of the quality of eCW. (Now most of their competitors have migrated down to eCW’s price point.) Once the company began to really grow quickly, they begin to test the waters with large practices and implementations. I worried that such increases in the number of physician users, as well as now there being a subset of users that meant a lot more money to the company, would weaken their support for the little guy.

But watching Dr. Mostashari demo the Take Care NY build, it is apparent that most of the great features I have seen in version 8, including the enhance registry functions, CDSS, complex order sets, all came out of eCW’s work with the New York project. These were features they demanded, and soon these will all be features we will depend on. Especially in the setting of reimbursments becoming more and more dependent on P4P and registry reporting.

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