When I first launched OpenEMR HQ, I thought I'd be joining a rich community of committed entrepreneurs who were all concerned about the state of health care and thought their products could help improve it. It certainly was one of the main reasons I got into the industry and continues to be one of the driving reasons I work so hard to make sure I get the word out about OpenEMR, OpenMRS, and VistA. I genuinely believe that these three solid software packages can make a difference in the quality of care doctors provide and I'm 100% committed to working to make sure they get into the hands of as many people as we can possibly reach.
But as time went by, we began getting calls from potential customers who had a hint of desperation in their voices. We heard stories about how companies had taken thousands of dollars in consulting fees and never delivered a working implementation and how some doctors couldn't even get some of these companies to return their calls so they could actually give them money and do business with them! I quickly learned that the electronic medical records industry is largely one where the customer is treated poorly, not served well, and definitely not 'always right' as the old saying goes.
So I decided to change that.
In early September, I met with 15 doctors from around the Midwest to discuss what their 'issues' were with EMR providers. One after another told stories similar to the ones I'd heard from other customers and all of them expressed how valuable it would be to have some sort of quality guarantee that would allow them to at least somewhat quantify the level of commitment a given consultant had to the product they were using (in our case, OpenEMR).
That meeting led to more discussions and the skeleton of a certification program slowly began to emerge. We kept it under wraps for months until we got it right and covered all of the issues we'd heard were so pressing to doctors looking at buying EMR: technical acuity, product knowledge, support skills, and training were all included in our certification criteria.
Today, marks the culmination of the last 4 months of hard work.
Today, we're happy to announce the formal launch of the OpenEMR Certified Consultant and the OpenEMR Gold Certification Program. These two certifications, created for individual consultants and consulting companies respectively, will provide doctors with a way to know that the consultant or company they've chosen for their OpenEMR needs has formally demonstrated their commitment and knowledge of the OpenEMR platform and have taken time to invest in their chosen field through education, service, and time.
Additionally, I'm going to take this opportunity to announce that, as of January 15th, 2009, OpenEMR HQ will only contract with Certified Consultants or Certified Gold Partners to provide installation or support services to our customers. This affords us the same benefit it affords our customers: a measured guarantee of proficiency and knowledge. We'll continue to do business with our currently contracted partners and will support them in achieving their certifications as we move forward but we will slowly phase out non-certified contractors starting on the 15th.
Personally, I believe that the new certification programs will lead to very good things for the OpenEMR community. Our goal is to place OpenEMR squarely on the table alongside other commercial, proprietary EMR systems and this program will be yet another step in that direction. Everyone benefits: customers, contractors, and the community. Most importantly, OpenEMR moves forward.
Thank you to all of you who worked so hard with me over the last few months to create this certification program. OpenEMR has a bright future and it's even brighter because of your work.
Happy New Year!