Future EMR Differentiation Will Be Usability and Not Features

Posted on October 4, 2010 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.

This week I saw a product demo of EMR vendor, SOAPware. Now that SOAPware has their fully integrated practice management system, they have a great demo and all the features you could want in an EMR system.

In fact, as I was watching the demo and asking questions about different features they might have or not have I came to an interesting realization. SOAPware, and most EMR vendors that have been around for any reasonable amount of time, have all of the features covered. They all have ePrescribing. They all have CPOE, and Clinical Decision Support. They all have allergy and drug interaction checking, etc etc etc.

Basically, it seems like the EMR market has matured to the point that we’ve covered all the base features that a doctor could use for their clinic. The real challenge now is going to be how usable an EMR vendor can make their software.

That’s right, Usability is going to start to trump features as a provider differentiates the various EMR software.

The fundamental challenge of an EMR software has been the time a doctor spends charting in their EMR. I don’t think that we’ve really nailed down the user interface that’s going to change this yet. Certainly there’s been some really great progress since EMR software was first launched. The iPad and other touch screen devices present and interesting alternative input method. However, I think there’s still a lot of room for some EMR vendor to dramatically change the game on how a doctor interacts with their EMR software. I’m talking revolutionary change to the interface and approach. I look forward to that day.

Full Disclosure: SOAPware is an advertiser on EMR and HIPAA, but they didn’t pay me to write this article or talk about seeing their demo.