New EMR Vendor Support

I recently came across this really interesting comment from Abby Nardo on the DrChrono blog:

Thanks for featuring me. I’m really liking Dr. Chrono, and what I’m liking most is your responsiveness to suggestions. As an early adopter to new technologies, this is often what makes/breaks my allegiance, and you guys are great. If you aren’t able to respond to feature requests right away, you tell me why or let me know when it’s going to happen. I’m never left hanging. So far, I’m really happy.

This is one of the challenges in selecting an EMR software vendor. If you choose one of the older EMR vendors with a large established client base, then your comments and feature requests often fall on deaf ears. I’m not saying that these larger EHR vendors don’t listen to their customers. It’s just that they’re getting messages from 1000’s of EMR users at the same time and so you have to work a lot harder to make sure that your request is heard above the noise of the other 1000 voices that are shouting at the same time. Even with only 100 EMR users it’s hard for an EMR vendor to be able to really give personalized attention like is described above by Abby.

As a new entrant into the EMR world DrChrono and other new EMR software have this to their advantage. Since they only have a few customers, they can be very responsive to those customers in ways that a large company never could do. Part of it is what I described above (ie. lack of noise), but the other part is that DrChrono is still really actively developing the features in its EMR. Older EMR systems have likely already built the features that DrChrono is just now getting requested. Some consider this an advantage and some consider it a disadvantage.

Turns out that this is a perpetually cycle. Assuming DrChrono lasts, one day they’ll be the entrenched player and some other company will come along that can be more responsive to customers for the same reasons that DrChrono can be responsive today.

Which is Better?
I’m sure some people are then asking, which option is better? Is it better to have a more responsive EHR company or an EHR company that already has the EMR features that I need?

My answer is that it likely depends upon the nature of the clinic. Certainly you want to be really careful adopting any EHR that doesn’t have essential functions that you need in your office. However, after those baseline features, it depends how involved as a clinic you want to be in the future development of the EHR software. Most providers that I know don’t really want to actively participate in the development of the EHR software. They just want to open the box and have it work. However, for those few who really want to play an active role in shaping the future of an EMR, working with a smaller company can really produce great results for their clinic.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, 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, EXPO.health, 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.

5 Comments

  • Early adopters usually understand that means a few things:
    – extra pain
    – extra attention
    and depending on how geeky…extra fun.

    Just like everything, there is a cycle here.
    With fewer clients, a new EHR vendor will listen to all feedback. Once established and growing, that feedback channel has to become very formalized, which means review panels, etc that slow down the adoption of suggestions.

    An early adopter may not have concern as to whether the vendor will be around in 2 years.

    The other challenge for a new vendor is having the man power to respond to the suggestions.

  • Absolutely agree with Michael & John here – as a fresh-faced startup we’re quite happy to be able to help our small but growing client base tailor their EMR experience. It’s good to be hands on, get feedback, and be able to respond personally and promptly. Of course, this means putting in the hard yards but we do in order to allow our clients space to destress and, yes, enjoy working with our software.

  • John, since the last time we worked together, I think you’ve seen how much Drchrono has progressed. I can tell you that our ambitions are high and I don’t think we’ll ever let up.

    What makes us different is that we’re a software company with very talented developers and we’re constantly iterating. We have hundreds of requests from our users and they get to vote up the features they want most and we make that top request our priority.

    We want to develop the best EHR out there and I can tell you that we have a long list of features that not just our costumers want, but it’s something that we want. In the words of Steve Jobs, we’re always going to stay hungry and stay foolish.

  • Hong,
    Thanks for stopping by again. It has been a while since we’ve communicated. I’m still waiting for my iPad in the mail so I can try out your EMR software;-)

    I’ll be interested to see how your company evolves as it grows its user base. Hopefully you grow so much that you have the problem of not being able to satisfy all your users.

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