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EMR Switching Encouraged by Meaningful Use

Posted on March 6, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 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.

For the past year or so I’ve been predicting that one of the top EMR and EHR related topics will be EMR switching. Yes, that’s right. A practice or doctor switching from one EMR to another EMR. At HIMSS it was suggested to me that meaningful use was a big driver in doctors switching EMR software.

I find the idea of meaningful use driving doctors to change EHR software quite interesting. It makes some sense when you consider that some of the EHR software that doctors currently use isn’t a certified EHR and/or will make it difficult for them to show meaningful use. More common is the HUGE number of physicians that have to upgrade their EHR software. This is a bit of a travesty to me. In any release of EHR software there’s always a mix of new features, security fixes and other optimization. Why a doctor wouldn’t want all of these things is hard for me to understand.

I guess part of the problem with staying updated to the latest EHR software has to do with the client server model that many EHR software companies use. Upgraded client server software isn’t always easy or fun. There’s some things you can do to streamline it, but it takes time. When the upgrade doesn’t offer a new feature that a doctor wants to get his hands on, it’s hard to justify the costs associated with the upgrade. I’m talking about time costs to upgrade, not software costs to upgrade. Unfortunately, most doctors don’t think too much about the security implications of not updating their EHR software.

Meaningful use has definitely gotten a lot of doctors to upgrade or replace their EHR software. This seems like something that should have happened naturally, but I believe it’s a good outcome of meaningful use.

Going back to switching EMR software, I’ve heard from a number of EMR vendors that some of their best EMR sales are to those that already have an EMR. I know I’ve done a much better job buying my second cell phone than I did my first. I knew what I really wanted when I bought my second one. The same seems to apply to doctors buying their second EMR.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating that doctors switch EHR in order to get a better one necessarily. It would be a really terrible thing if the way to get a quality EHR was to implement one first and then switch EHR. However, as time goes on there are going to be a HUGE variety of reasons to switch EHR software. Meaningful use might be driving EMR switching today, but there are going to be other factors driving doctors to change EMR in the future. Not the least of which could be a large number of doctors who focused too much on meaningful use and EHR incentive money and not nearly enough on the way the EHR selected will impact their practice. The other likely cause will be EHR consolidation and EHR software companies going out of business.

The real problem with all this EHR switching will be the lack of standards and flexibility around pulling the data out of the old EHR. I still have in mind some ways to hopefully help with this problem, but it’s a monumental task.

EHR Vendor MU Upgrades, Care Coordination Teams, EHR Potential, and EHR Pitfalls

Posted on February 12, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 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.

Welcome to the weekend round up of various EMR, EHR and Health IT tweets. One thing that’s been really interesting is seeing the excitement of people leading up to HIMSS. It’s amazing how much better a conference becomes with this lead up. The connections that are made before the conference set it up for a much better experience. I honestly can’t wait to attend HIMSS and be with so many interesting people.

Now, on to some interesting tweets that I found from around the twittersphere:


I found this tweet quite interesting until I read the article that it links to. The title says something about docs waiting for vendor EHR upgrades and then the article mentions almost nothing about EHR upgrades and doctors waiting for it. Is there really that much of delay in getting the latest EHR software? Ok, maybe I can believe it in Hospitals (I’d like to know from that perspective too), but I can’t imagine someone that’s paid for an upgrade is still waiting for that EHR upgrade to meet MU.

I do believe many dragged their feet and are just now planning for an upgrade. A large number of older EHR installs never did regular updates to their EHR software (Big Mistake) and so upgrading so many versions at once is a bit daunting and so it wouldn’t surprise me if many clinics are reticent to go through that process. Although, that doesn’t mean they’re waiting for EHR upgrades. It means they’re waiting to go through their own process.

The article does have an interesting stat that EHR Vendor Selection was the biggest reported barrier with 34% percent claiming that barrier. I guess more clinics need to read this EMR Selection e-Book.

The article also points out an interesting benefit to RECs: survey organizations.


I love the simple formula. I think we often try to make things harder than they need to be.


This is just one example of potential EHR benefits. There are a lot more that I think we’ll start seeing now that we’re getting wider EHR adoption.


Ahh…but it’s so much easier to blame technology since it doesn’t talk back.