Will Hospital Mergers Lead To Trashed EMRs?

As anyone in the hospital industry knows, many facilities are accepting buyout offers. Heck, your CEO may be in talks right now.

Hospitals are agreeing to these deals because, among other things, they need more capital to invest in an EMR. But others doubtless have EMR installations under development or already in place.

In theory, the EMR owned by the selling hospital is just another asset that the buyers can leverage, just like the beds, MRI and lab equipment.  In practice, though, my bet is that your EMR will die an early death, for a few reasons:

*  If the acquiring hospitals already have an EMR in place, it’s very unlikely it will be compatible with your system. After all, even two implementations of a standard EMR like Cerner or Epic may have modules in place that prevent them from freely sharing information.

* When an outside party takes over your operations, they tend to want a clean slate. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely they’ll be so impressed with your implementation that they’ urge you to keep at it.

* If venture capitalists are involved, they’ll want to bring in the EMR created by the company where their cousin’s brother-in-law sits on the board of directors. They’re not likely to have a better way of figuring out what works, after all.

* Buyers often come in because they’re convinced they can turn the hospital around at a big profit. Your EMR is embedded in and reflects your given workflow, which, to some acquirers may be an obstacle to improving the situation.

Certainly, some CEOs and VCs will be patient enough to check out your IT infrastructure and ask you how it’s working.  A smaller percentage will actually understand what value you’ve captured with your installation.  But implementing enterprise software is a subtle art, and at this point, it’s hard to point to the direct ROI your given EMR can generate. So why should the buyers care what it does?

Now, this is just a series of hunches — I don’t have any statistics to suggest that this is true — but my gut tells me there’s something here. What about you?  Have you run into any situations where the EMRs got torn down because buyers came in and demanded something new?

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.