New EMR Vendor Support

I recently came across this really interesting comment from Abby Nardo on the DrChrono blog:

Thanks for featuring me. I’m really liking Dr. Chrono, and what I’m liking most is your responsiveness to suggestions. As an early adopter to new technologies, this is often what makes/breaks my allegiance, and you guys are great. If you aren’t able to respond to feature requests right away, you tell me why or let me know when it’s going to happen. I’m never left hanging. So far, I’m really happy.

This is one of the challenges in selecting an EMR software vendor. If you choose one of the older EMR vendors with a large established client base, then your comments and feature requests often fall on deaf ears. I’m not saying that these larger EHR vendors don’t listen to their customers. It’s just that they’re getting messages from 1000′s of EMR users at the same time and so you have to work a lot harder to make sure that your request is heard above the noise of the other 1000 voices that are shouting at the same time. Even with only 100 EMR users it’s hard for an EMR vendor to be able to really give personalized attention like is described above by Abby.

As a new entrant into the EMR world DrChrono and other new EMR software have this to their advantage. Since they only have a few customers, they can be very responsive to those customers in ways that a large company never could do. Part of it is what I described above (ie. lack of noise), but the other part is that DrChrono is still really actively developing the features in its EMR. Older EMR systems have likely already built the features that DrChrono is just now getting requested. Some consider this an advantage and some consider it a disadvantage.

Turns out that this is a perpetually cycle. Assuming DrChrono lasts, one day they’ll be the entrenched player and some other company will come along that can be more responsive to customers for the same reasons that DrChrono can be responsive today.

Which is Better?
I’m sure some people are then asking, which option is better? Is it better to have a more responsive EHR company or an EHR company that already has the EMR features that I need?

My answer is that it likely depends upon the nature of the clinic. Certainly you want to be really careful adopting any EHR that doesn’t have essential functions that you need in your office. However, after those baseline features, it depends how involved as a clinic you want to be in the future development of the EHR software. Most providers that I know don’t really want to actively participate in the development of the EHR software. They just want to open the box and have it work. However, for those few who really want to play an active role in shaping the future of an EMR, working with a smaller company can really produce great results for their clinic.