Michael Stearns, M.D. (e-MDs)

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Eric Fishman, MD speaks with Michael Stearns, President and CEO of e-MDs.  Today, they discuss the past, present and future of e-MDs.

Category: EHR Press
Date: August 30, 2010
Views:11,537 views

Dr. Eric Fishman: This is Dr. Eric Fishman with EHRtv and today we have the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Michael Stearns who's President and CEO of e-MDs. And you may recall that Dr. Stearns was the first interview we did at EHRtv over a year ago and I thank you for coming back. Michael, a lot has happened in this industry in the last year and so welcome back to EHRtv. Thank you for coming.

Dr. Michael Stearns: Thank you.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Let's start with the Company and then we'll quickly get to some of your specific interests which include data capture and things of that nature, improvement of care but what has happened with e-MDs in the last 12 months?

Dr. Michael Stearns: Well, we're looking at some very major growth and almost doubled in size as far as staff members in the last year and we're seeing tremendous opportunity so we're... like many of the companies right now we're trying to look at ways of helping to create workforce so working with several partners and universities, etc and trying to create people. We've still been very fortunate to be very well ranked by the primary care organizations, the AFP...

Dr. Eric Fishman: You've gotten quite a number of awards through AFP as you've just mentioned and class. Tell me some of the others.

Dr. Michael Stearns: We've done very well in class, particularly in the small to mid-sized practice. I think we're ranked number one in 2010 mid-term for practices of I think of two to six physicians and the AFP, American Academy of Family Physicians released an EHR satisfaction survey, over 2,000 members of November and looked at 22 systems and we overall, had the highest ranking of 22 systems which has been very helpful for cause it gives us a lot of credibility with the people, the decision makers right now.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Talking about 2,000 physicians, you've got well more than that at this point and time that's actually users of e-MDs.

Dr. Michael Stearns: Yeah, we have about, it's probably getting close to 30,000 users nationwide of product.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Forty-nine states I understand?

Dr. Michael Stearns: Forty-nine states, several territories and growing rapidly and we're like all the vendors right now, we're in the middle or the Regional Extension Center selection process.

Dr. Eric Fishman: So you were one of the very, very first announcements. I think it was Alaska announced that they had chosen e-physicians. There are 60 RECS. Tell me how you're fairing with the others.

Dr. Michael Stearns: They're still a lot going on right now. I think we're actively engaged with somewhere around 30 or 40 of them and some have not released the other RFIs yet. We were selected Alaska. Alaska was interesting even though there's only a few thousand providers there. They had 250 companies apply to be the preferred EHR for the state and they end up choosing two, at least initially, and we were one of the two chosen.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Has that led to any actual work on your part after (inaudible) is a nightmare I would imagine, but once that's been accomplished and Alaska has chosen you, have they geared up quickly enough to that they're actually recommending you to doctors, are you engaged with physicians in Alaska because of the REC?

Dr. Michael Stearns: Yes, the selection process is being merged with the REC so the official REC choice I don't think has been announced but yes, it has drawn a lot of attention to us through the Alaska EHR Alliance so there's been tremendous amount of interest, not just from the provider but also for the IT partners in the state. We also were chosen by a pre-REC process in Arizona. It was actually the first one to come out.

Dr. Eric Fishman: So you're going alphabetically and Wyoming will be last for you guys.

Dr. Michael Stearns: And we did hear that the selection process used by a program called Pacer in Arizona is being looked as the model for selecting vendors. So they also chose two vendors. There's also another (inaudible) of their extensive vetting process and we're seeing a lot of activity. We've identified I think about eight or nine RECs that are not going to do a formal preferred vendor selection process which is interesting. There are four in Texas, Oklahoma and Utah-Nevada RECs are not doing that. Maryland is doing something a little different choosing MSOs. And I think also we've some other states are following the same pattern

Dr. Eric Fishman: Getting back to Alaska and Arizona for a moment. Do you find that you need to have your staff spending a lot of time teaching the REC itself about e-MDs and the functionality and tell me how that process works.

Dr. Michael Stearns: Right. What we've done is open it for as much training as they can absorb.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Online or do you physically go into in Alaska?

Dr. Michael Stearns: Both, we're offering both and sometimes they require it a lot of the programs we were looking at and we're looking at them really helping us. So we're trying to form very tight partnerships with the RECs. We are really looking at them. Right now, the ones that were chosen in the first round only have 18 months left to get to get the most of their money whether it's the 90 percent funded by the government. So in years three and four they're going to have to become 90 percent self sufficient. So we're working with them on some strategies to get them up to speed there and there's several different initiatives that we've been focused on which many of the RECs have responded to favorably.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Good. Mike, tell us if you would about the Texas e-health alliance. I understand that you're actively engaged in that.

Dr. Michael Stearns: Yes, thanks. We realized in Texas there was one piece of legislation that would have been to the benefit of one particular industry or one particular vendor which nearly was passed. So there was recognition of a need to form a policy body that could prevent improper legislation from being passed. So we developed basically a coalition of industry partners, non-profit partners, university partners, etc to act as a stakeholder resource for the legislation. So we're a policy and advocacy body and are a 51C-6 so we can retain a lobbyist. We're very actively engaged. We've taken a number of initiatives in the state. We're working on a fairly unique patient safety initiative which caught the attention of Dr. Blumenthal. We have our first annual policy meeting and Dr. Blumenthal has graciously agreed to be our keynote speaker.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Nice.

Dr. Michael Stearns: We're also actively engaged with patient privacy issues and we are taking a work force development consumer education, provider education, some tele-medicine issues and we have a long list of other objectives. We're also looking to put together, we're in the process of forming a national genomics and HIT workshop also in Austin (inaudible) some very significant players.

Dr. Eric Fishman: You've been speaking, Mike, about policy committees and the ONC and one thing that's particularly of interest in Washington as well as for very many physicians around the country is infomatics and getting codified data and improving the quality of care and certainly that's one of e-MDs strong points. If you could discuss that for bit that'd be helpful.

Dr. Michael Stearns: Well, thanks. A lot of physician infomaticists and other infomaticists are very invested in the use of applied biomedicine. There's a whole industry of clinical infomatics and academic (inaudible) pursuit of clinical infomatics and we're now seeing that being applied. Arrow really had a lot of infomatic components so we did see the authors that were obviously very well versed in standard principles of clinical infomatics. So things like (inaudible) and I was the international director of (inaudible). That's what really got me into the industry full time. The potential benefits of that in patient care, quality of care and research in particular are of great interest. We're now seeing groups around the country, the RECs in particular, the HIE establishments and the medical societies are all developing a keen interest in the value of this entire industry, this body of knowledge as applied by biomedical infomatics.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Can you tell us if many of the actual e-MDs physician users are using that that technology, I don't want to say that the bedside, in the examining room in real time with the patients?

Dr. Michael Stearns: We've looked at our Meaningful Use (inaudible) likelihood of people being meaningful or effective users, cause Meaningful Use criteria had quite been established yet and we think we have a high percentage of people that are using the tools in the way they're meant to be used. They're using clinical decision support site, point of care. We're ranked pretty highly nationally as one of the prescribing groups and that's (inaudible) of EHR so it's not an independent e-prescribing tool we offer. So that's pretty significant and they're obviously using clinical decision support at the point of care when they're prescribing medications. Also they're using it for population health maintenance where they're running checks to see when their diabetic patients are overdue for certain tests and getting reports and using that, sending out information. We’ve been doing that for a number of years.

Dr. Eric Fishman: And it's being done by physicians, by the users.

Dr. Michael Stearns: Being done by physicians and it's being done for several years now. So we really think our docs that are using the tools effectively, which is the majority from what we can tell, are going to easily just slip right into Meaningful Use very, very comfortably. So (inaudible) make some changes, maybe use some new reports that we're going to be releasing to help the process but I really think it's going to be a very smooth transition.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Very good. Let's move a little bit now, Mike and speak about the marketplace for e-physicians. You've said that klass in a small practice, two to five, is a number that I heard in the past. Tell me, if you could design your prototypical office practice, for which e-MDs would be perfect and then maybe a number of prototypical office practices, what size, what specialties, what do you think would be best?

Dr. Michael Stearns: We haven't really limited, we've got very large practices, several hundred doctors, which are in the process of looking at us. We do have opportunities that are well over 100 physicians that had decided to use our technology so we don’t really have a theoretical limit but right now the market share is primarily in the smaller practices.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Okay. And any particularly specialty?

Dr. Michael Stearns: Well, primary care is initially being targeted and that's where we have about 60 percent of our docs are primary care and I think the splits somewhere around 50 percent for specialists versus primary care.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Okay.

Dr. Michael Stearns: So we're a little bit weighted towards primary care but we have a lot of other specialties covered. We're very interested as we move forward, as kind of the next phase, is to explore the unique specialists needs primary care pretty well covered so we're looking to go into (inaudible) they really need unique technology like orthopedics, dermatology and several others that really have a different way of practicing medicine.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Great. Now, lets talk the future of e-MDs any new features that have recently been implemented or are coming right down the pipe.

Dr. Michael Stearns: Right. Just around the corner we have our i-Pad applications, i-Phone applications and I think that's not unique to any specific vendor. We do have some other unique HIE connectivity tools and one of them we can use locally is the ability to publish a CCD automatically within your own clinic and that was asked for by some of our clients who are in disaster-prone areas like Florida for instance. They're worried about not having the Internet, they're remotely hosted clients and they're worried if they have say a tropical storm, they could lose connectivity. So as long as they have battery backup, they can get to their, the continuum of care document and their schedule which is what the minimum and then they could be up and running and they could call patients etc. So when the phones work and still conduct business.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Its great technology. It's a great time to be in this industry and Mike I thank you very much once again or coming by and discussing e-MDs and I look forward to doing this again next year.

Dr. Michael Stearns: Thank you.

Dr. Eric Fishman: This is Dr. Eric Fishman for EHRtv. We've been speaking with Dr. Michael Stearns, President and CEO of e-MDs Until next time, thank you.


One Response

  • David Stipe says:

    Dr. Stearns,

    Are you the Dr. Stearns who worked at Greenway Medical back in the early 2000’s? You sound the same as you did then. Is there anyway I can email you about your opportunity with the Hawai’i HIE group. We will be moving soon to Kuaia. Peg is accepting an executive sales position with Westin. I would like to share my profile with you and if you have any opportunities in Hawai’i that I may be able to fill. I hope to hear from you soon.


    David Stipe
    3419 30th Ave SW
    Seattle, WA 98126
    206 819 0963

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