Custom Built EHRs: Too Good to be True or Coming Soon?

As much as we try to capture all the innovation in Health 2.0 at our Annual Fall Conference, there is just no way to cram it all into three short days. Sometimes exciting players escape the stage. This year, one of those companies was San Diego-based Doctrly.

Founded in May 2014, Doctrly is tackling the much talked about issue of EHR usability. One RAND study found that up to 80% of doctors are dissatisfied with their EHRs. Some of the frustrations expressed in the study include excessive alerts and messages, interference with clinical workflow, interruption of face-to-face patient care, and lack of efficiency. All of these issues are a result of legacy EHR vendors locking clients in to predetermined interfaces, functionalities, and applications.

Doctrly aims to tear down those constraints with an open API for EHRs. Yes, you read that right. Doctrly has big dreams for the future of medical records, and it starts with their REST API. The technical details, including the level of security that will be required, are without a doubt complex, but the core of the service is simple. With Doctrly handling the complexity of the backend and much of the HIPAA regulation requirements, developers are free to enter the health care market, and do what they do best, as it says on the  Doctrly blog: build something great.

For large hospital organizations or integrated delivery systems, this means that physicians across all specialties and care settings could potentially customize their front-end apps and UI, while still connecting to a single backend database. In theory, any physician could partner with a front-end developer to build the EHR they’ve always wanted.

As an API, Doctrly is 100% interoperable, which means that hospitals and providers can use Doctrly to extend the functionality of their current systems. Of course, interoperability with other EHRs is largely dependent on the pre-existing EHR vendor, and not all vendors on the market may be willing to play nicely (we shan’t name names). Yet, if Doctrly delivers, the potential for hospital systems to reach a new level of interoperability and control over their data is huge. Doctrly even caters to the hot population health trend with native support for Hadoop and predictive analytics on 100% of the data within Doctrly.

Easy to use, adaptable technology is at the core of Health 2.0, which makes Doctrly an immediately exciting prospect. It’s going to be a long, hard journey in the complicated world of medical records and hospital systems, but with a new ONC report citing lagging interoperability for EHRs, Doctrly has certainly picked an appropriate and timely problem to work on. Ultimately, it all depends on what Doctrly can actually deliver. Individual providers are saturated with technology and not necessarily looking to do more, but provider systems are still scraping for the right tools to help them move towards the triple aim and value-based payment system. Doctrly will have to win over both groups.

Doctrly is currently in a closed beta, having received an overwhelming number of applicants for the beta from around the world — designers and developers in the US, but also Europe, South America, China, and India. We’ll keep track of their progress, and of course, if they make good on their promise, you can expect to see them on a Health 2.0 stage at some point in the future.

 

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