Meaningful Use Does Not Ensure Solid EHR Company – Meaningful Use Monday

For those of you who don’t follow all the inside EHR “baseball” that’s happening right now with Allscripts, you might want to check it out. If you use one of Allscripts various EHR software (do they have 6 EHR softwares now? I lose count) then you really want to pay attention. Here’s my cliff notes version of what’s happened for those who don’t want to research the details. Half the Allscripts board left and so did the CFO. It appears it was an Eclipsys departure with the previous Allscripts board members and CEO Glen Tullman remaining. After this happened the stock (MDRX) plummeted.

While to those inside the EMR world will realize that this isn’t a death knell for everything Eclipsys related, many who don’t know how important the Eclipsys software is for Allscripts could easily see this a different way. Of course, in the heartless world of publicly traded companies and CEO’s doing what they can to prop up stock price, you never know what action they might take next.

The best evaluation I saw of the Allscripts situation is that it is very likely that Allscripts and Glen Tullman will use this stock drop to start making even more drastic moves. For example, we all know that they don’t need that many EHR software and so none of us should be surprised if they choose to sunset 1 or more of their EHR software. Yes, that’s right. Your EHR software isn’t safe even if you buy it from a large EHR vendor like Allscripts (see also when GE ceased operations of Centricity Advance).

Think about it from Allscripts perspective. It takes A LOT of extra resources to ensure that multiple EHR software products are even just meeting the meaningful use and certified EHR requirements let alone actually creating innovative new EHR software features. Cutting out an EHR software will provide a huge cost savings to Allscripts going forward.

Why is this the topic of Meaningful Use Monday? I think this is an incredibly important topic related to meaningful use, because I can already see the physicians and practice managers hitting my website if Allscripts chose to cease their Allscripts MyWay EHR offering (I have no indication that Myway is gone. I’m just speaking hypothetically). I’m quite certain that many physicians and practice managers will wonder how an EHR vendor could sunset or stop developing an EHR software that is certified for meaningful use.

It’s quite simple: Meaningful Use and EHR Certification are NO guarantee of an EHR software’s long term viability.

I have a section in my EMR selection e-Book about ensuring the viability of your EHR vendor. I’ll admit that it’s not an easy task and is more art than science given our limited information about MANY EHR vendors. However, it’s worth considering the long term plans of an EHR vendor and a particular EHR software in that vendor’s quiver. Although, meaningful use and EHR certification do nothing to help you in that regard.

One final warning: we’re just at the start of EHR vendors going out of business, EHR vendors being bought by larger vendors, EHR software being closed down, EMR software being sunset. I give it another year before the Tsunami of EHR software mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies, fire sales hit our shore. Although, the early warning signs are there and so we should prepare for the oncoming wave. The challenge is knowing where you can find high ground.

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.

8 Comments

  • Time for customers of EHR software to require escrow of source code to protect against companies going out of business or sun-setting their products. No software that is at the core of your business should ever be purchased without a 3rd party escrow of the software.

    Time for EHR customers to make a stand and demand software escrow. If enough doctor’s do not buy their product vendors will be forced to comply.

  • John Gerlich,
    That’s an interesting call. I can see the value of what you’re talking about, but I’ve usually leaned towards pushing for every EHR company being able to export all the patient data so they can switch if needed. In small practices, even having the software in escrow won’t do too much for most since they don’t want to take over development of the software.

  • John,
    It is the threat that counts. Your 100% correct that no practice wants to go in the software business but joining together to contract a software house makes it a treat to the vendor.

    10 practices joining together on a single maintenance contract would lower the annual maintenance costs considerably over the vendor’s annual maintenance fee.
    The cost of switching systems and training would be more costly.

  • The other interesting part of having the software in escrow is that I’m sure modern development companies would be appalled at a lot of the EMR code that’s been written. I don’t know many that would want to support MUMPS as one example.

    Thanks Marge for the correction. I thought it might have been that.

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