One of my favorite posts ever I created back in May 2006. It was titled, “Develop Your Own EMR – Are You Crazy?” In the post, I make a couple of high level observations about why you shouldn’t develop your own EMR. The first is the sheer volume of EMR features you have to create. All of the individual modules are quite easy, but when you add up all of the functions that are required in an EMR, the volume is overwhelming. The second is the need to continually add new features to the EMR. The EMR development is never over and if you stop developing your own EMR, you get behind really quickly.
7 years later, you’re still crazy to develop your own EMR. Certainly the technology is better today than it was back then. However, the volume of features and functions you need in your EMR has grown exponentially. If you decide to develop your own EMR, you’re going to be even farther behind.
I understand why it’s really tempting for a clinic to want to develop their own EMR. It’s a beautiful idea to think about creating a piece of software that perfectly matches your workflow. Of course, if you’re in a practice with more than one provider, then you’ll have to start making compromises with your colleagues to match their workflow as well. Not an easy task. If you ask 6 doctors to describe their clinical workflow, you’ll get 36 answers. That’s a developers nightmare.
My previous post also asserts that there are a lot of good EMR companies out there. I think this is even more true today than it was back then. In fact, back then was just the start of the EMR pricing revolution. Today the challenge is more a paradox of choice as opposed to a lack of good options.
Turns out, there are still plenty of crazy people out there that are willing to start developing their own EMR. In fact, many of the EMR software we see in existence today was because a crazy doctor decided he wanted something better. I’m sure many more will continue this trend.
I would offer one time where you might not be as crazy to develop your own EMR. If you’re crazy enough to eschew Medicare, Medicaid and insurance, then you might be wise to develop your own EMR. Once you take out the complexity of reimbursement and instead focus on patient care, the EMR becomes much simpler. Plus, no EMR vendor has focused their EMR on patient care instead of billing. Plus, the advanced features that you might need, will also be available from third parties. For example, if you want ePrescribing, you can integrate it with a third party company. This will be true for more and more advanced EMR features.
Many people have asked me why I haven’t developed my own EMR. My question to them is, “do you think I’m crazy?” I’m actually afraid to hear the answer.