So Many EMR Companies with an “In”

I recently met with an EMR company that described an interesting situation where a clinic was confronted with being sold the following different EMR systems:

  • Current PMS EMR
  • Current Lab’s EMR
  • Current Transcription Company’s EMR
  • Current Billing Company’s EMR
  • Current IT Vendor offered an EMR as well

Many of you might remember when I talked about the benefit that a lab company would have in selling their EMR to their current lab users. I still think this is a tremendous advantage, but looking at the above list of EMR companies that are connected with this one clinic it makes you stop and think.

Yes, each of the above “EMR” companies likely feels like they have an “in” with the clinic that will help them sell their EMR. Unfortunately, with so many companies “in” with the clinic, I have a feeling this mostly just causes confusion and angst for a clinic. Plus, none of the above companies were any of the “jabba the hutt” EMR companies that you can be certain are banging on the clinic’s door as well.

Is it any wonder why so many doctors are sitting on the sidelines with all this confusion?

This list also provides an interesting commentary on the popular saying that doctors are so reticent to use technology (or substitute EMR if you prefer). Yet, their PMS is electronic. Their labs are received electronically. Their transcription is sent and received electronically. Their billing company receives and submits claims electronically. Wait, I wonder why they have an IT vendor that supports them? Makes you think a little, doesn’t it?

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • You’re right – it does make you think. Adding to the confusion is that in many cases each of those companies with an “in” would have that in with a different member of the clinics team.

    It’s got to be tough to sell into a market like that and even tougher to make a technology buying decision with limited knowledge of how to differentiate different products.

  • I fight daily, hourly, with an Allscripts Enterprise EMR that makes my time scrunched with every 15 minute visit. I cannot easily look something up from the past visit and copy and paste it into the current visit. Only one visit can be “open” at a time. In the note to be processed, there is so much “there, there” that it is difficult not to be overwhelmed with clutter.
    But the clinic says they have spent $2.5 million on this over the past 4 years and they are not about to change. Instead, they will see a steady turnover in providers as people trying to practice good medicine give up and leave.
    I’m feeling especially grumpy about it. I’m on day 3 trying to explain to people why I cannot see their report from the x-ray, ultrasound, other doc. The server with the images is down and has not been replaced. By the way, the images are tiff files and they take a long time to transfer to my computer in the exam room and open up.

    One older lady this afternoon suggested paper was better. I couldn’t disagree today. Her thyroid ultrasound was on the image server backup, we hope.

  • As an EHR/EMR Implementation consultant, I went through the trouble of actually visiting local practices and what I heard was amazing. About 50% (not a scientific study) already had something, about 25% didn’t want anything to do with it and the rest was somewhat interested.

    Obviously I have an interest in EHR adoption, but I am not surprised that many doctors are holding back. There are too many (and confusing) choices, vendors making promises they already know they can’t keep and then there is this government promise to pay something in the future…

    To DocJim’s comment: Sorry to hear your EHR isn’t what you need it to be, there are much better solutions out there that will actually do what you need and might cost a lot less to get going 😉

  • It makes me skeptical when I see a non-EMR company trying to half-a$$ an EMR system to bring in additional revenue. If the support is not there to begin with and they are putting all their primary energy into running their lab (or other) company, it would seem they would have an inferior system from the get-go. As for DocJim, this is why I am in solo private practice. We fired our system within three months of such nonsense and got one that actually works well.

  • As a fellow Implementation Consultant, I have also been conducting research, speaking with practices and have found results very close to Mark’s.

    As MU closes in, will these same practices, now disinterested or adverse to implementation then be rushing to adopt a solution? I think one of the first signs will be visible come June of 2011, when the ePrescribing penalties begin. A payment adjustment (penalty) has been introduced for eligible professionals that have not implemented and employed a qualified eRx system by the end of the first 6 months of 2011. As penalties begin to pile, this may outweigh the providers’ ability to avoid the transformation.

    According to an April 2010 publication by the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, of 170,000 ambulatory practices in the United States, 80% are Solo or Two Provider Practices. Of that 80%, 96% do not have a fully functional EHR.

    “Fully functional” is certainly a very broad term, I will say, but the percentages are staggering nonetheless. Should a large percentage of these practices wait until the end of 2012 is upon us, there will be an influx of additional consequences directly correlated to a hastily implemented EMR. There also arises the possibility to have an even larger percentage of newly established EMR companies and Implementation firms poised to capitalize on this predicament.

    I sympathize with the practices. There are currently so many things to take into consideration even outside of MU such as: the viability of the vendor, cost, features and functionalities, training, support etc. However, EMR’s implemented and utilized correctly can vastly improve the quality of care that docs are seeking to provide.

  • Steve,
    Very true. The different members of the clinical team often take sides with EMR vendors with whom they have an “in.” Creates an interesting dynamic in the selection process.

    Definitely makes it hard to make decisions. Not to mention, they’re busy seeing patients.

    This is the sad state of many large EMR implementations. They don’t care since they’ve spent so much already. What then happens is that doctors end up hating the EMR or in some cases they leave and go somewhere that has a good EMR. Neither result is very good. There’s something to say about making noise in a large implementation like you describe. The more noise you make, the more help you’ll get. Sad, but true.

    Interesting non-scientific study. Where you live will definitely affect those percentages as well.

    Dr. West,
    Focus is an important issue with a non-EMR company entering the EMR world.

    I agree that the MU penalties could be a driver of EMR adoption. Although, I still don’t think we’ll see a rush to adopt solutions. I am interested to see the impact of checks showing up at doctor’s offices. The network of doctors is so connected that I wonder if EHR incentive checks will be an even bigger driver of EHR adoption.

  • So they were using 5 different EMR systems? If I understand correctly, there are 5 different EMR companies being used by one clinic? That’s a little over the top. I thought that many doctor’s and clinic’s just went for one company to proved all the software and services for them. Is there any particular reason this specific clinic was using 5 different ones?

  • They weren’t using 5 different EMR software. They had 5 different vendors with whom they had previous business relationships with that now offer an EMR software. So, each company thought they had an “In” with that practice because of their existing business relationship. This practice actually had no EMR software.

  • Hello All:

    Just have a few questions for anyone about the EMR program(s):

    1. Is there a program for Psychiatric Electronic Records or it is the same as EMR’s?

    2. How to select or rate the best EMR product both in house and web based?

    3. What or possibly the semantic EMR, next generation of EMR would look like? or meaningful usage if any?

    I would really appreciate it. Thanks.

  • Hi A Laique,
    Thanks for sending your questions.

    The first question is interesting. I vaguely remember hearing about one EMR that was psychiatric specific, but I can’t remember which now. Sorry. Too many EMR and EHR vendors:

    I do remember having lunch with SOAPware (full disclosure: they’re an advertiser on the site) and during our discussion we talked about which specialties worked well with SOAPware and the President said for some reason Psychiatrists really like their software and so they had a bunch of Psychiatrist users.

    So, I’d say that a Psychiatric EMR is the same as other EMR, but certain EMR software will likely fit the Psychiatric workflow better than others. So, look around and try a bunch of them out.

    I think I’ll save your other 2 questions and answer them in some future blog posts. Until I do that, I’d just recommend you check out my free EHR selection e-Book: It should help answer at least part of what you’re asking.

    I hope this helps.

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