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EMR Market Share

Posted on July 18, 2013 I Written By

James Ritchie is a freelance writer with a focus on health care. His experience includes eight years as a staff writer with the Cincinnati Business Courier, part of the American City Business Journals network. Twitter @HCwriterJames.

Editor’s Note: This is the first post on EMR and HIPAA by James Ritchie. James is a longtime journalist including the past eight years as a staff writer with the Cincinnati Business Courier.

Practice Fusion announced in June that it led the EMR industry in market-share gains.

Citing SK&A reports, the San Francisco-based firm boasted that it controlled 5.8 percent of the market as of May, up from 3.8 percent in July 2012. Beyond Practice Fusion, only Epic, AthenaHealth and Cerner showed gains.

In this data, which represents physician offices only, Allscripts was the market leader, with a 10.6 percent share. Not far behind were eClinicalWorks, with a 10.5 percent share, and Epic, with 10.3 percent. (The report that Practice Fusion links to is actually dated January 2013.)

But there’s more than one way to look at the EMR share picture.

Epic was the clear winner in a report by the Austin, Texas-based consultancy Software Advice on meaningful use attestations. Epic, based in Verona, Wis., accounted for 20.3 percent of attestations for a complete EHR in an ambulatory setting.

The firm’s competitors were nowhere close as of the March 2013 report. Allscripts was the system of choice for 11.6 percent of attestations by eligible professionals, and eClinicalWorks accounted for 8 percent. Next on the list were NextGen Healthcare, GE Healthcare and, with 2.7 percent share, Practice Fusion.

Software Advice claimed that the figures, based on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data, might be the best around. They at least provide a standard in a market where vendors “use varied criteria to calculate their customer base,” according to the company.

Companies “might count number of users (which could include everyone from physicians to administrative staff), number of medical providers (which could include everyone from physicians to midwives) or number of practices,” Software Advice noted on its website.

Practice Fusion, founded in 2005, claimed in its press release to have doubled both its monthly active user base of medical professionals and its patient population between 2012 and 2013. The company claims to reach “a community of 150,000 medical professionals serving 65 million patients.”

The prospects for the free model that Practice Fusion uses are still up in the air. Doctors might question whether they want ads, unobtrusive as they are at the bottom of the screen, to compete for their attention when they’re entering patient data. Data, by the way, might prove to be the real revenue generator for Practice Fusion. In June the firm launched Insight, an analytics product offering a population-level view of diagnoses, prescribing patterns and other information. It’s a model worth watching. If Facebook and google can build businesses on data, maybe Practice Fusion can, too.

The SK&A figures show just how fragmented the outpatient EMR/EHR market is. The top 10 vendors accounted for only 64.8 percent of attestations, leaving about 35 percent of the market to the “other” category. By Software Advice’s count, 560 firms logged at least one meaningful use attestation.

Eager to steal share are firms like Irvine, Calif.-based Kareo Inc. It launched its own free, cloud-based EHR in February based on technology acquired from San Mateo, Calif.-based Epocrates Inc. The firm reported in June that 4,000 providers had signed on, with a third of them moving from another EHR.

Of course, ambulatory adoption is only part of the EMR story.

Epic is No. 1 among the nearly 3,000 hospitals that have received federal incentives for using complete electronic records systems, according to Modern Healthcare. The company holds a 19.6 percent share, followed by Computer Programs and Systems Inc. with 15.5 percent, Meditech with 14.1 percent and Cerner with 11 percent. The late-May report was based on numbers from CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

The inpatient market is far less fragmented than the outpatient space. The top 10 companies control 92 percent of share, according to the report.

No matter how you count share, the EMR space will continue to be hypercompetitive because of the dollars at stake. The market amounted to $20.7 billion in 2012, up 15 percent from 2011, according to the research firm Kalorama Information.

NBA Implements Cerner EHR – NFL Implements eCW

Posted on December 17, 2012 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.

Over the past couple weeks, a number of major athletic organizations have announced that they’re standardizing their healthcare documentation using EHR software. The NBA is using Cerner’s EHR and the NFL is using eCW’s EHR.

At first blush these announcements remind me of Walmart selling eCW at Sam’s Club and Costco selling Allscripts EHR. Everyone wondered why Costco and Sam’s Club were selling EHR. The obvious answer was that it was a great PR move by eCW and Allscripts. Although, I did hear about one doctor that hijacked an EHR selection process thanks to a Costco mailing. I think that’s the exception.

While big popular sports organizations like the NBA and eCW might be great PR for a company, it is really interesting to consider the unique healthcare needs of a sports league. The first thing that came to my mind was actually whether the teams would want to have their athletes’ health data on one platform. Often, the health of their players is part of their strategic advantage. Certainly there are a lot more rules about disclosure of injuries, but teams still play the injury card before games, in trades, and when signing new players. I imagine the staff doctors for the teams have to be careful how and what they document in the EHR if it’s going to be available to other teams. And we thought privacy was an issue in general EHR use. It’s much more complicated when you have millions of dollars riding on a player.

From a big data perspective, I’m interested to see if either of these leagues will be able to leverage the EHR data they collect in order to deal with the long term health issues of players. This is particularly true in the physically brutal NFL. I’m sure readers are familiar with the long term concussion questions and research that’s happening with the NFL. Not to mention the ongoing battle against the use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. Can a unified EHR help to provide a basis for research and understanding of the health consequences of playing in the NFL?

When I start to think about all the medical devices that are coming out, they’re really interesting in an NFL context as well. Imagine all the health data from various devices being sucked into the league’s EHR. When I talked with FitLinxx at the mHealth Summit, they said that the Boston Red Sox used their activity tracking device the year they won the World Series (Seems like Boston might want to consider using it again). From what they described, The Pebble (their activity tracking device) was a great way for the trainer to keep track of compliance with the fitness regiment they suggested. Should this data be in the league’s EHR? I can see health reasons to do so, but it does go back to the question of teams’ competitive advantages.

I bet device makers would love to compare professional athlete’s use of their devices against all of the other data that’s being collected by regular users. Would make for some pretty compelling charts if I could compare my health indicators against Lebron James or Peyton Manning.

What’s also interesting to consider about a major sports league using an EHR is a connected PHR. In these situations you want your players to be well connected to the doctor and you have a real financial interest in their compliance with doctors orders. PHR in this case could make a lot of sense. Although, I wonder if many prima donna athletes would balk at the idea. Well, at least they can have their agent or assistan log in for them.

I do wonder what special features Cerner and eCW were asked to do for the NFL and NBA. Of course, not much of it would likely be useful for the rest of us.

Meaningful Use EHR Breakout by Percentage

Posted on June 20, 2012 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.

I’ve seen a bunch of different websites listing the top 10 EHR vendors based on physicians who attested to meaningful use using their EHR software. This list is certainly interesting and worthy of a discussion. However, I think it’s also important to put these numbers in some context. Remember that these numbers are just for the ambulatory EHR space. The Hospital EHR numbers are a different story which I’ll probably cover on Hospital EMR and EHR.

Here are the EHR incentive numbers by EHR vendor and also the percentage of meaningful use attestations they had (Thanks to Dr. Rowley for the numbers):

EHR Vendor MU Attestations Percentage
Epic 11075 23%
Allscripts 5743 12%
eCW 4057 8%
NextGen 2237 5%
GE 2002 4%
Athena 1733 4%
Greenway 1650 3%
Cerner 1375 3%
MEDENT (Previously Community Computer Service) 1264 3%
e-MDs 1235 3%
Practice Fusion 1156 2%
Sage 1140 2%
Other EHRs (272) 14358 29%

As Dr. Rowley points out in his post, Epic is the largest vendor on the list, but they don’t market or sale their product to independent clinics or even independent physician groups. Epic’s ambulatory EHR is found in owned or affiliated clinics who use the ambulatory piece of the EHR an Epic hospital buys. So, the above Epic number actually provides an insight into how many ambulatory practices are associated with Epic using hospitals.

The numbers tell an interesting story if you take Epic out of the mix:

EHR Vendor MU Attestations Percentage
Allscripts 5743 15%
eCW 4057 11%
NextGen 2237 6%
GE 2002 5%
Athena 1733 5%
Greenway 1650 4%
Cerner 1375 4%
MEDENT (Previously Community Computer Service) 1264 3%
e-MDs 1235 3%
Practice Fusion 1156 3%
Sage 1140 3%
Other EHRs (272) 14358 38%

Once you take out the hospital dominance in the ambulatory market, the EHR market share for any one EHR vendor is quite small. In fact, the other EHR vendor category has 38% of the EHR market. The long tail of EHR software is definitely at play right now.

Plus, we have to be really careful using meaningful use attestation as a proxy for the EHR market. I recently saw a figure that only 20% of the ambulatory EHR market had attested to meaningful use. That’s right, the above numbers only represent 20% of the ambulatory market.

If my math is correct, that still leaves almost 200,000 providers that aren’t represented in the above analysis of 50k providers. Imagine an EHR vendor comes along that’s so great that they quickly capture only 20% of the 200,000 uncounted providers (no small feat). That would give them about 40,000 providers and using the above numbers they would have 45% of the EHR market (including Epic).

Of course, the current EHR vendors will continue to sale EHR software and many will switch EHR software vendors during that time as well. Plus, no doubt many of those who haven’t attested to meaningful use already have an EHR, but aren’t represented in the numbers above. They just either don’t care about meaningful use and EHR incentive money or they’re still working to get to the point where they can attest to meaningful use. However, I still think the above numbers illustrate that there’s plenty of opportunity available for an upstart EHR company to get plenty of EHR market share.

It’s going to be an exciting next couple years as we watch all of this shake out. We’ll take a look back at this post in a few years to see how far we’ve come.

The Commodity EMR, EMR Adoption and Other EMR Tweets

Posted on October 30, 2011 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.

Time to go through some interesting Tweets from the world of EMR and EHR.

@glevin1 – gary levin
Commodization of EMR | HealthWorks Collective

There was a link on this tweet too, but it looked like a link to a page that stole the content from the original article. I’ve been intrigued by the question of whether EMR is a commodity software or not for a while now. I still haven’t come to a firm conclusion. This article uses the idea that you can buy Allscripts MyWay at Costco as a way to say that EMR is a commodity. You can also buy eCW at Sam’s Club I believe. Although, as best I can tell, that was basically a PR move on the various EHR vendors part.

Also, the article says that Allscripts MyWay product came from the purchase of Misys. Actually, I think MyWay was originally Aprima. I believe the Misys EHR software is set to be sunset.

What do you think? Is EMR a commodity?

@BrianSMcGowan – Brian S. McGowan PhD
Percent of US PCPs using EMR = 17% in ’00’ – 28% in ’06’ – 46% in ’09’ (vs 99% in Netherlands) #socialQI #progress??

The link on this one was to a terribly long PDF file. So, I cut it out. I just wish I knew where Brian got his numbers. I call BS on the US having 46% EHR adoption in 2009. I still put us at about 25% EHR adoption now. Maybe a little higher if I’m being generous. Of course, a lot of people define EHR a lot of different ways. So, that might be part of the issue.

@DRZORBA – Zorba Paster
Back to the clinic. Everyone brings their records with them. No EMR here. If they lose their record then they’re @*%&M.

Hmm…imagine a world where the doctor didn’t keep any record. The patient was just responsible for the record. That idea is fraught with trouble and issues, but I bet many doctors would love to not have to worry about the records part of their job.

@medreccom – Medical Records
“Paper is dangerous and inefficient, it doesn’t belong in health care any longer.” Future of #EMR: on.mash.to/uhVkHn

I was interested in this tweet since it linked to an article on Mashable (a mainstream tech site). So, if I get this right, this article and series was sponsored (ie. paid for) by Lenovo and profiles Practice Fusion. In other words, Lenovo paid to advertise Practice Fusion on Mashable. Good for Practice Fusion. Although, I’m not sure how many doctors read Mashable. Maybe the article wasn’t about finding doctors, but was a way to find more tech people to come work at Practice Fusion. The article itself is pretty basic for someone that reads this site. Not a bad play if that was the intent. Full Disclosure: Practice Fusion advertises on this site. Although, they certainly didn’t pay me to write about this and link to it.

Dell EMR

Posted on September 10, 2009 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.

Today, CNET posted an article that talked about a Dell EMR. Yes, we’re talking about the Dell that makes computers (and sells everything else under the sun).

We’ve known for a while about Dell’s partnership with eCW and Walmart-Sam’s Club to sell EHR, but the thing that’s interesting about the CNET article is that it calls it “Dell’s EMR software.” I’m certain that Dell didn’t create it’s own EMR software package. I assume it has to just be eCW’s EMR right?

To add to the fun, I even found the page http://www.dell.com/emr which talks about Dell’s foray into the EMR world. However, on that page it links to the Sam’s Club/Walmart/eCW EHR partnership as well.

I have a feeling that the CNET article is just an extension of Dell’s partnership with eCW and Walmart. I’m sure eCW wants to market their EHR as much as possible and Dell is a respected brand on which to market your product.

UPDATE: The following is an excerpt from Healthcare IT News about the Dell EMR:

The Round Rock, Texas-based computer maker on Thursday introduced an electronic medical record system for hospital-affiliated physician practices. The intent, said Dell executives, is to accelerate the sharing and meaningful use of digital patient information among hospitals and physician practices.

Dell executives say their EMR solution is sponsored by hospitals for their affiliated physicians and designed to make it affordable and practical for physician practices to transition from paper to electronic records.

So, it looks like it’s hospitals that will choose to partner with Dell in order to get doctors to buy an EMR from Dell? It still doesn’t say where Dell got this EMR. I think we can rule out them developing their own. So, the question remains: Is this an extension of the partnership with eCW or did Dell purchase another EMR software company?

In summary, a doctor will be buying an EMR sponsored by their hospital association who has an associate with Dell who has an association with some EMR software? Sounds like the perfect recipe for finger pointing.

Sam’s Club Listing for eCW and Dell EMR Package

Posted on May 8, 2009 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.

Many of you may remember my rather detailed coverage of the impact of Walmart offering an EMR through Sam’s Club and in partnership with eClinicalWorks and Dell. For those that missed my comments, I wrote about the details of the Walmart EMR offering, and then A Doctor’s Perspective on Walmart EMR and eCW and Dell’s perspective on Walmart EMR.

I saw the Walmart EMR listing on the Sam’s Club website a while back, but didn’t have a chance to post it. It’s really interesting to see an EMR listed at Sam’s Club. I also find it interesting to see that they chose to market it as an EMR and not an EHR. I think this actually is a pretty smart move since I think most doctors still call it an electronic medical record or EMR. Those of us in the industry sometimes get caught up in the difference between EMR and EHR, but I think doctors don’t really care about the difference.

I still don’t think that this is much more than the opportunity for eCW and Dell to market their products. However, it is really interesting to see an attempt to commoditize the price of an EMR. As I look through the prices, I think that anyone that tries to buy this package through Sam’s Club is going to be hit by a bunch of hidden costs. Everything from the cost of travel for the eCW trainers to the upgraded hardware support from Dell. At the end of the day, I don’t think it will save doctors anything.

Turns out that the website states: “Availability of this offering is currently limited to Virginia, Illinois, and Georgia with anticipated nationwide coverage by the end of the year” I’d love to hear from someone who has taken the bait and purchased the Walmart EMR from Sam’s Club.

Thoughts on Walmart, eCW and Dell EHR – eCW and Dell’s Perspective

Posted on March 14, 2009 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.

I previously posted a summary of the Walmart EHR package with eCW and Dell.  Then, I followed it up with a doctor’s persctive on Walmart EHR.  At the end, I promised to follow up with a post on the Walmart EHR deal from Walmart, eCW and Dell’s perspective.

I think this was a great move by eCW, Dell and Walmart.  Honestly, what do they lose by trying this out?

Let’s not go overboard here.  I don’t see this offering completely changing the landscape of EHR.  Walmart has done that in a lot of areas, but EHR is not going to be one of them.

However, Walmart could be a good lead generator for eCW and Dell.  Dell certainly has reached a point where they have a strong brand established and scale is their friend.  They want to distribute their product through as many low cost channels as possible.  If this is successful, Dell tablets (a new offering for Dell – second generation just came out for those keeping track) will be in a lot more doctors’ offices.  If it fails, then Dell still will have gotten some PR in front of doctors saying that Dell offers tablets for doctors.  Don’t believe this is happening?  Do a quick search on google news and see all the stories about Walmart EHR.  This blog post is another example of the free PR Dell is getting from this deal.

eCW isn’t quite the brand that Dell has become, but they do have a substantial install base.  Scale really is their friend.  The more EHR software they can sale, the better for them as a company.  EHR sales is a numbers game and the more doctors they have viewing their product the more doctors they’ll have buying it.  Plus, if someone is thinking about EHR at Walmart, then that’s a high quality lead.  The leads won’t be as high quality as say advertising on EMR and HIPAA (excuse the plug), but a lead’s a lead.

Walmart really seems to have nothing to lose in this.  I guess they’re giving up floor space for the product.  I wonder what this will look like at Sam’s Club.  If anyone sees it, take a picture and send it to me so I can post it.  I’m not sure Walmart’s internal projections, but they threw out the number of 200k health care providers are members of Sam’s Club.  I’m a member of Sam’s Club as well, but I can’t remember the last time I was there.  My wife usually takes care of it.  I’m pretty sure many of these doctors are the same as me.

I do think this is a really interesting news item for Walmart.  Walmart has been doing a ton of things in regards to health care lately and so offering an EHR didn’t suprise me that much.  We have Walmart Clinics.  Free or cheap Walmart drugs.  Now we have a Walmart EHR.  Once they offer the Walmart PHR to compete with Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault, then we can really start to wonder if Walmart just has so much money they don’t know what to do with it.

Thoughts on Walmart, eCW and Dell EHR – A Doctor’s Perspective

Posted on March 13, 2009 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.

As promised, I wanted to share a few thoughts about the newly announced Walmart EHR package. I previously posted a nice summary of how the Walmart, eCW and Dell EHR will work. If you’ve never heard about the Walmart EHR, then go read that post and come back.

Offhand it would be really easy to criticize this move by Walmart (really Sam’s Club). I can just imagine doctors going down the aisle of Sam’s Club: toilet paper, candy bars, EHR software, oh yeah, I almost forgot the salsa. Honestly, does that sound right to anyone?

However, I’m certain that many people said the same thing about getting TVs, vacation packages and tires at Sam’s Club when they first started offering those items as well. Toilet paper, candy bars and disney vacation doesn’t sound much better.

All of this said, I still think the idea is crazy. I’m not talking about Walmart, eCW and Dell being crazy. I’m saying that any doctor’s office that chooses to buy this package at Sam’s Club is crazy. Let me explain.

I’ve often talked about your EHR becoming the life blood of your practice. Once you’ve implemented an EHR it becomes apart of almost everything you do in a clinic. I can’t think of any part of a clinical practice that isn’t affected by the implementation of an EHR. Doctors spend as much time on their EHR as they do helping patients.

Yes, I know it’s a sad reality, but it’s the reality. Other people might tell you different, but I don’t think they’re being very honest with you. Is this reason for concern? No, because you could have just as easily said that Doctors spend as much time in paper charts as they do helping patients. Why this is the case is the topic for another post. The point is that the EHR becomes the center of a practice. Still don’t believe me? Watch for a future post on the topic which will include more compelling reasons EHR’s the core of a practice.

Since EHR is the core of your practice, do you really want to get your EHR package at Walmart?

Seriously, think about that. You’re trusting your livelihood and happiness (yes, EHR affects both of those things) to a $25k package you bought at Walmart?

I’m not saying that eCW, Dell and Walmart aren’t great companies. eCW has an EMR product that’s been very successful and is an EMR that many should and would consider for their clinic. I love Dell products and recommend them to anyone. I just don’t see why you’d purchase it at Walmart instead of going directly to Dell and eCW.

Let’s just think this through. First, I’d expect that if I’m buying this EHR package through Walmart, then I’m getting a better deal than if I bought each of the items separately. This means less revenue for eCW and Dell from the start. Next, you take out whatever Walmart’s getting paid to make the sale. The question then remains, how can these companies sell their products cheaper than normal AND share the revenue with Walmart? The answer is easy. They’re going to find other ways to lower their costs.

Let’s think about ways that they can lower your costs:

First, they should have saved money trying to sale you the product.  In theory this is great.  Walmart’s taking care of the marketing and sales of the product, so that’s why the product is cheaper.  Of course, the doctors should be asking themselves if they want Walmart to be the one showing them how the Walmart EHR will work for them.  Ahh, but certainly Walmart won’t be the ones demoing the product to the doctors.  eCW will be taking care of all the demoing and “sales” of the product.  Well, there goes the money eCW was saving by using Walmart.   That basically relegates Walmart to a lead generated for eCW.

Second, eCW could enjoy economies of scale as they support more istances of EHR.  Let me translate what this means for you as a doctor: POOR Support.  Try supporting 25k physicians (number using eCW per NYTimes) spread across the country in every specialty imaginable.  It’s pretty much impossible to expect that eCW could provide personal and quality service to such a large user base.  Just think about how many people eCW would need to hire and train to be able to provide the type of support you’d like to receive if you’re a doctor implementing an EHR (eCW is hiring for those searching).  I’m pretty sure that calling them and telling them that you bought your EHR at Walmart is going to put you at the front of the support line.

EHR vendor support is so important to having a successful EHR implementation.  I’m familiar with a large eCW implementation that was having troubles getting the support they needed.  It seemed that this was probably due to the popularity of eCW.  Credit the eCW sales team for doing a good job selling the product, but if I’m a doctor I’m not throwing my ring into an EHR vendor that can’t support me because they’ve oversold.  Considering you’re buying a cheap (isn’t that Walmart’s motto?) Walmart EHR, don’t expect World Class support when you’re paying Walmart prices.

I could keep going with thoughts about this announcement.  Suffice it to say that from a doctor’s perspective I think you’d be crazy to take it.  Now, if separately you’ve made a decision to choose eCW and the Dell computers they offer and you can get it cheaper at Walmart, great.  However, what are the chances of that happening?

There’s so much more that should be said about this topic.  I’ll be following up with another post tomorrow about the Walmart EHR from an eCW and Dell perspective.  I think you’ll enjoy that post.

I probably should have also mentioned that eCW does have a strong community of users that can be leveraged for support as well.  The point of this post isn’t to lower eCW or Dell in particular.  This could have been any EHR software vendor and hardware vendor and I’d have said the same things.  And yes, I’m still very excited to try out the 2 new Dell dual touch tablets I ordered yesterday.

One final parting thought: if you buy the EHR package at Sam’s Club, does the Sam’s Club return policy apply?  Now that’s something that could change my mind.

Walmart, eCW and Dell EHR Package

Posted on March 12, 2009 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.

The EHR world is abuzz with the Walmart announcement that it would be selling EHR software through their Sam’s Club division. In case you missed it, here’s the important details from the NY Times:

The company plans to team its Sam’s Club division with Dell for computers and eClinicalWorks, a fast-growing private company, for software. Wal-Mart says its package deal of hardware, software, installation, maintenance and training will make the technology more accessible and affordable, undercutting rival health information technology suppliers by as much as half.

They also make a projection of how much Walmart EHR will cost:

The Sam’s Club offering, to be made available this spring, will be under $25,000 for the first physician in a practice, and about $10,000 for each additional doctor. After the installation and training, continuing annual costs for maintenance and support will be $4,000 to $6,500 a year, the company estimates.

Walmart estimates that 200,000 health care providers are among the 47 million Sam’s Club members. I also found the following quote from the same article interesting as it talks about how Walmart got into the EHR business:

Wal-Mart’s role, according to Mr. Osborne, is to put the bundle of technology into an affordable and accessible offering. “We’re the systems integrator, an aggregator,” he said.

The company’s test bed for the technology it will soon offer physicians has been its own health care clinics, staffed by third-party physicians and nurses. Started in September 2006, 30 such clinics are now in stores in eight states. The clinics use the technology Wal-Mart will offer to physicians.

“That’s where the learning came from, and they were the kernel of this idea,” Mr. Osborne said.

I’ll save my commentary on this subject for tomorrow. There’s certainly plenty to say about it.