EMRs Are A Transitional Technology

OK, I’m probably going to raise some people’s blood pressure, but here it is:  Is it possible that EMRs are a transitional technology which the industry will outgrow within the next several years?

I contend that with telemedicine  expanding rapidly, connected/remote health changing the focus of care and smart phones evolving along their own path — just to name a few factors — that which we call an EMR might not be up to managing care of the future.  Given the need for corporate and medical security, EMRs are also ill-equipped to give the emerging class of e-patients the data access they demand.

Yes, you can connect telehealth sites with a health system or clinic network.  You can burn through developer time making sure  your EMR supports the latest developments in mobile health applications.  You can find ways to integrate the data generated by remote patient monitoring and make it usable. But will the final result, the application which governs all of this, be the EMR we know today?

Today’s EMR, let’s face it, is not great at connecting beyond the institution where it lives. Sure, we’re building HIEs, but there’s a reason why so many are still at an embryonic stage;  forming such networks is a damnably hard job.

So what will happen when medical interactions and care shift decisively to environments and platforms outside of a hospital or clinic?  I don’t know, but I think it will take a different type of system — focused on coordination rather than just data storage and analytics.  It will need to be wherever patients are, collect data in whatever form it’s generated and support care delivery in ways that are in their infancy today.

So, that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.  What about you?

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.


  • That’s a pretty good point. The mobile technology is quickly catching up with what was considered desktop only in terms of functionality and processing power. This changes the playing field for everything. Also interesting is how will the baby boomer generation and the upcoming 70 million people coming into retirement change the way healthcare technology is delivered. Sure the overall demand will increase. But how will they embrace and/or influence healthcare technology?

  • I think you’re overstating the technical limitations of the EMR software that’s out there today. Sure, some of it is crap and can’t communicate well *cough*epic*cough*. However, most of the EMR technology could easily be connected if the structures and standards were in place to connect.

    I prefer to see the EMR as the Operating System of healthcare IT (see this post I wrote: http://www.emrandhipaa.com/emr-and-hipaa/2011/03/24/operating-system-of-healthcare-it/ ). I see EMR software being extended to meet the needs you describe as opposed to some new technology taking EMR’s place.

  • I had mysis/tiger for about 4years, the reseller who sold me the mysis emr in 2007 also hosted my emr informed me that allscript took over mysis and I had to pay for a new allscript emr costing over $40,000 because mysis was not cchit certified, I now wonder if I was defrauded as I am made to understand that all I had to do was pay for an upgrade and training fee. Please does any one have the experience of transitioning from mysis to allscript.

  • Collins Oseki, MD,
    So, CCHIT certification doesn’t matter, but ONC-ATCB certification matters if you want to get the EHR incentive money and avoiding the possible penalties to your Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement. If you don’t care about those, then EHR certification doesn’t matter to you at all. Although, Allscripts has basically stopped developing the Mysis software and at some point will sunset it and stop supporting the software all together.

    Allscripts does of course want you to transition from Mysis to one of their other EHR software (they have at least 5 others I think). I know they even have a migration path for Mysis users. $40,000 seems steep for that migration, but to be honest I haven’t seen the specific costs so I could be wrong.

    I have heard from many Mysis users that weren’t happy with the other Allscripts products or options for migration that Allscripts gave them so they started looking at other EHR software vendors. Many of the other EHR vendors are coming in at the $150/month/provider which sounds better than the $40k you were quoted.

    I hope this helps.

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