Doctors Seldom Listen When Hospitals Recommend EMRs

Wouldn’t it be nice if doctors and hospitals had a big influence on which EMR medical practices chose?  Everybody would interoperate, training would be, well, centralized if nothing else, and the EMR implementation could get rolling faster.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be how things are going.  In fact, a new survey suggests most practices go their own way when it comes to buying EMRs.  The survey, by FiercePracticeManagement, concluded that almost three-quarters of practices responding were not going to or not likely to buy the EMR recommended by their hospital partner.

According to the survey, which polled 260 physicians at independent and hospital-owned practices, roughly 53 percent of hospital- or system-owned practices are buying or plan to buy the recommended product. (Big surprise — hey, wait, why is the stat for owned/employed physicians as low as 53 percent? Another story for another day.)  Anyway, almost 70 percent of independent practices weren’t on board with their hospital’s recommended EMR.

What should hospitals do to influence affiliated practices to buy in?  Well, it seems pretty clear that sales propaganda isn’t going to cut it. However, the study did suggests that two factors can indeed influence physicians: Offering technical and financial support, and stressing the business reasons for having interoperable EMRs.

Another way to drive physician interest, and perhaps the strongest, seems to be offering access to specialty-related capabilities within the EMR.  Practices are increasingly hungry for specialty-specific EMRs, but might be motivated by an EMR which has a mature specialty-specific module, the researchers suggest.

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.


  • Not mentioned in this superficial article – but very important in my experience – is that hospitals often pick an EMR based on criteria important to them (billing, audit, their IT department likes it) and without much attention to things like ease of use by the clinician, point of care decision support.

    The article is founded on the mistaken assumption that hospitals know what is bets for clinical practice. If hospitals worked collaboratively with the physicians involved, buy-in would improve, and better products would be used.

    Just saying….

  • Maybe hospitals should suggest EHR’s that can and DO closely link to that used by the hospital. And to other hospitals that the doctors have privileges in.

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