Like many healthcare IT (HCIT) vendors, eClinicalWorks (eCW) hosts an annual conference where users come together to experience the latest trends in HCIT and get a firsthand look at the new functionality and enhancements in store for the coming year. This year’s eCW conference took place on October 11–14 in San Antonio, and the sold-out event most certainly proved that everything is bigger in Texas.
The spotlight was on the V10, the latest software release, which boasts over 500 new features, including myriad improvements, mostly stemming from suggestions for V9. Some of the most notable changes include streamlined ordering, enhanced voice recognition functionality, improved navigation, and the ability to meet meaningful use Stage 2 requirements. A fresh, sleeker appearance indicates that eCW is taking aesthetic cues from consumer-focused companies like Apple in an effort to stay competitive; however, V10 has not yet enabled navigation of multiple windows at once, which remains a top concern for many users.
CEO Girish Navani’s “closing the loop” motto served as the cornerstone for developments in response to HCIT trends, including patient engagement, population health analytics, and interoperability. eCW’s patient engagement platform, healow, is a new suite of tools available for iPhone and Android that allows patients to link to their own portals and those of family members, making it simple to manage clinical care for entire families. Healow is reportedly the result of a $25 million commitment to patient engagement that eCW made in February 2013.
The Care Coordination Medical Record (CCMR), eCW’s health analytics and care coordination tool, is described by eCW as “an interoperability platform that supports the component parts of accountable care.” With a robust, real-time reporting capability, eCW markets this tool to accountable care organizations (ACOs) and patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs). CCMR is a Web-based solution that includes analytics, care planning, referral management, patient engagement, and care coordination tools; however, clients should note that CCMR is an enhanced feature that comes at an additional cost. We believe that organizations hoping to utilize CCMR in the future should consider investing in eCW’s health information exchange tool (eEHX) now to lay the necessary groundwork for system interoperability down the road.
Presentations from eCW staff were helpful when it came to unveiling new features, but frequent overlap of content was a bit disappointing. What was most compelling were the panel discussions, where attendees could hear other users speak candidly about using the system and provide more realistic, implementable solutions.
In all, V10, population management, and patient engagement took center stage at this year’s conference, and we look forward to Orlando in 2014.