eClinicalWorks is a very popular EHR system for small physician offices. It is known for storing and managing data in the cloud. It has recently announced a $10MM investment in helping its customers building interoperability among their systems based on the DIRECT project. It is very interesting to see an EHR provider investing in interoperability. Indeed, EHR vendors used to avoid interoperability so that they can lock in their customers. Yet, the federal EHR meaningful use requirements have gradually forced EHRs to support more and more interoperability. It stands to reason that the ones who move fast in this area could be at an advantage: After all, closedness is no longer an effective vendor-lock in strategy, and openness stands to gain from better user experience, easier referral, and less wasted staff time. It is great to see that interoperability becoming a competitive edge in EHR.
The DIRECT project is a federal initiative to use secure email as a mechanism to pass documents between healthcare providers.