Rating Top EMR Companies

Posted on April 21, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Lately I’ve been really intrigued by the concept of trying to rate the long list of EMR vendors in order to identify the “Top EMR Companies.” I guess I’ve been intrigued by this idea for a number of reasons.

First, tons of people are searching the internet and finding this website in their search for the top EMR vendors. Makes a lot of sense that doctors would want to narrow down their search for an EMR since it’s just unreasonable for them to try and review 300+ EMR vendors. Although, I do think it’s a little bit funny that they think they can just enter “top EMR vendors” into Google to find the answer.

Second, I’ve seen a number of groups touting an EMR vendor showcase with the “top EMR vendors.” The problem I have with this is that how can they say that they’re the top EMR vendors. More than likely these organization took the EMR vendors they had connections with and allowed them to present. In fact, in this case, I know one EMR vendor gets to present because they’ve made those connections. This is all well and good, but that’s not really “top EMR vendors” in my book.

Finally, a number of EMR vendors are interested in having some sort of “top EMR vendor” rating. Kind of a stamp of approval that they have a high quality EMR system. EHR certification has attempted to give this assurance. The problem there is that EHR certification doesn’t actually rate the top EMR vendor. It just tests a list of criteria which can easily be gamed and does little to measure the usability or actual clinical acceptance of that software product.

No doubt there’s a desire to try and have a “top rated EMR comany” list. The real question is how do you go about making a list like this?

I don’t know all the details around JD Power and Associates, but I think that many EMR vendors and physicians alike would love to give that type of stamp of approval that an EMR vendor’s software meets some standard level. However, I think just a general stamp with no other data just feels empty to me. It’s almost like you need to rate and provide qualitative feedback on various rating areas. Otherwise, the stamp of approval has little value to doctors and clinics trying to select an EMR.

Beyond that, it almost seems like there needs to be an evaluation or verification with existing users of the EMR. They’re the ones who really know how well an EMR functions, how responsive the support people are, and how usable the EMR system really is. Of course, this would require talking to multiple users of an EMR system and not just the company shills (excuse the term). Definitely a challenge.

Beyond that, it seems wrong to just provide a general rating for an EMR. For example, one EMR vendor might be great for general medicine, but might be horrible for an OB/GYN. It’s almost like you need to rate the EMR vendor based on various specialties to provide real value. Not to mention, adding in things like size of the organization, location of the organization, etc. There’s a lot of factors that would drastically change the rating of an EMR vendor.

Of course, the other problem with the concept of “top EMR companies” is that any EMR company could be the top. What are they the top of? Are they the top implemented EMR vendor? Are they the top customer support EMR vendor? Are they the top specialist EMR vendor? Are they the top SaaS based EMR vendor? etc etc etc

Obviously, I don’t yet have all the answers to this problem. Although, I’m very interested in the idea. More importantly, I’m interested in finding ways to provide valuable information like “top rated EMR vendors” that could help doctors select the right EMR. Seems like RECs could benefit from this information as well.