Doc develops hybrid EHR

By Molly Merrill
12:19 PM

A board certified emergency physician has developed a new Web-based EHR system that he calls a hybrid because although it is free for physicians its personal health record component puts patients at its core.

Kare Information Services (KIS)-EHR is the brainchild of Martin H. Orens, MD, who developed the system with an eye toward what would suit physicians, but also would allow for the record to follow the patients wherever they were treated.

“The patient is the No. 1 party we want to reach,” says Orens, “but also the thousands of doctors that in no way can afford such a system.”

The KIS-EHR is free for physicians and costs $75 a year for unlimited use per member user. As for installation costs, Orens says there is a one-time $15 setup fee for the first year.

If it prevents one prescription or lab test from being unnecessarily done, they have paid for the program,” Orens said.

KIS-EHR is currently not being used by a hospital or physician practice, however, he says the Children's Rare Disease Network has been “active with its involvement with KIS-EHR,” and it has reached out to the American Cancer Society, the X-Chromosome Foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation “with an offer to contribute to the service of their members.”

“As a parent of two special needs children… the idea of having all of my child’s health records and medical history stored in one place and having the ability to share that information with any doctor or hospital I choose, really made me think seriously about trying the service,” said C. Spooner, a member of the Children’s Rare Disease Network in the Southern California region.

But as John Moore, an analyst with healthcare IT firm Chilmark Research, sees it, broad “adoption and use by both physicians and patients will require a major cultural shift that I do not believe most physicians are ready to accept (though there are some that will).

But there may be hope yet if more doctors get onboard, according to a recent survey from IDC Health Insights, which found that 34.1 percent of patients were willing to use a personal health record if their physician recommended it to them; of those who already used PHRs, 36.9 percent did so because their doctor recommended it.

However, Moore also sees hurdles for the KIS-EHR system when it comes to “entering an extremely crowded market with over 300 EHRs today” and problems of “data ownership, governance and provenance.”

But he does not see meaningful use as being among the top hurdles. Less than 15 percent of all practicing physicians have signed up for the HITECH Act incentive program, Moore says, “so there is a significant number that appear to be sitting out this incentive program and adopting what they want at their own pace.”

This may be good news for the KIS-EHR.

“We provide everything that HITECH and CCHIT require. We could start certification now if we wanted to.” The problem he has is with the cost, which he said would be around $37,000. To be certified for e-prescribing add another $18,000 plus a $9,000 annual renewal fee. He doesn’t want to invest a “huge amount of money,” he says, when the government incentive money may not even be available next year.