I’m ready to call the Golden Age of EHR Adoption Over. We’re not getting ready to enter the nasty, ugly, dirty, swamp filled waters of EHR adoption. If you’re an EHR vendor you likely already know this to be the case. That’s not to say that there’s not still real opportunity in the EHR space, but it will take on a very different form.
I think this image of the adoption lifecycle describes the EHR adoption cycle really well. I’m sure it will be familiar to many of you:
It’s very clear to me that we’re somewhere in the middle of the Late Majority cycle of EHR adoption. This plays out well since we’re somewhere between 50-84% EHR adoption. While the chart shows a downhill slope, the ride to get the Late Majority and Laggards on EHR is going to be anything but a downhill ride. I’d say it’s going to be more like climbing Mount Everest. It’s possible, but it’s going to take a lot of work.
The reality is that those who wanted to adopt EHR already have adopted EHR. That means we have left a group of practices and hospitals that for the most part aren’t EHR convinced. However, there is one advantage for those wanting full EHR adoption. Almost all of those who haven’t adopted EHR see the writing on the wall. They’re just going to take their time and make a deliberate choice based on the experiences of those around them.
EHR vendors will now start to focus on creating what I call Smart EHRs. Doing so will be how they battle each other in the next wave of EHR switching. Plus, this will usher in the next EHR Golden Age: Use.
Future Golden Age of EHR Use
While the golden age of EHR adoption is over, we’re entering a new EHR Golden Age. It’s the golden age of amazing EHR use. It’s still very early in this new cycle, but the innovators are going to really surprise us with the innovation that’s going to be possible on the back of an EHR.
Many of the changes will be subtle and we’ll take them for granted almost instantly, but they will be amazing in aggregate. Take for example, Jennifer’s recent post on EMR and EHR about her child’s well visit. How beautiful is it that her child’s record was available at a new clinic with no effort on her part. We’re not there yet, but we’re going to get there. Although, we wouldn’t get there if we were still at 25% EHR adoption.
Jennifer’s example is a simple, but powerful one. No doubt there are going to be much more complex and much more powerful examples to come. Many of which will actually save people’s lives.
The Golden Age of EHR Use is going to bring about dramatic benefits that would have never been possible without massive EHR adoption. The Golden Age of EHR Use will be so good that even the EHR adoption laggards will finally want to change.