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Open Letter to MEDITECH

Written by Joel Berman, CEO of Iatric Systems

From the late 1970s thru the 1990s, MEDITECH was a technology leader in supplying hospital information systems. Your expertise resulted in many community hospitals being able to install more integrated systems than many of the so-called big teaching hospitals. MEDITECH’s unique MAGIC operating systems and language enabled the delivery of fast, reliable, and economical solutions. 

About 10 years ago, with the delivery of the 6.X solution, things began to change. When clients were faced with installing a completely new software system, many decided to explore their options. Also at this time, vendors like Epic disrupted the standard by better integrating the physician offices into the hospital-based solution. Hardware costs continued to decline which made other systems more economical. Consequently, the perception began to build that MEDITECH was beginning to fall behind the times and was resting on its past accomplishments.

To your credit, you’ve recognized some of the problems and are trying to fix them. The new Web Ambulatory EHR is a strong step in the right direction. The question is whether it is too little, too late. Will this result in a Palm Computing situation where the company started to create the right products too late, or will this be like IBM’s revival? Only time will tell. What else can MEDITECH do? I have an idea.

A few years ago, I attended a Health 2.0 conference, which is a show where very small healthcare software companies can show their products and attract investors. I recall talking to an analytics vendor and asking him how he would get the data they needed from a hospital. He replied that the hospital would just give it to him on a spreadsheet! I just rolled my eyes, handed him my card, and told him to call me if that didn’t work out. He never did. 

However, this brings to mind an opportunity. What if MEDITECH published an API for both reading AND filing data into their HIS?  If all the small vendors who are pushing the envelope of ways to help patients could easily file their data into MEDITECH, then the MEDITECH ecosystem could grow significantly. This would provide greater value to MEDITECH customers.  Is it time to make a bold step toward true interoperability, and create  a vigorous third party software market for MEDITECH?

What do you think?

Topics: Interoperability, MEDITECH, EHR Optimization, Healthcare Industry

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