Doctors and Lowering Their EHR Standards

I wrote a post a few months back called The Perfect EMR is Mythology that I think people took the wrong way. In that post, I’m not saying that doctors should lower their EHR standards just because it is the EHR product that is most accessible and easy to implement. I’m not saying that doctors should just take whatever EHR they see first. I’m not even saying that every doctor should adopt EHR.

It’s one thing to accept and use an EHR product that’s imperfect, but still improves your clinic. It’s another thing to accept a terrible product that makes your life miserable. Particularly when there are other EHR software out there that won’t make your life miserable. Something I’ve been seeing more and more from doctors is that they haven’t found the perfect EMR software that does exactly everything they could imagine an EMR to do, so they wait. I think this is a bad choice for many.

Yes, I do think that doctors should spend plenty of time doing proper due diligence before “marrying” themselves to an EHR system. They should absolutely find one that works well for their clinical situation. Physicians should absolutely have reasonable expectations for their EHR vendor and hold them to it. In fact, physicians should hold EMR vendors accountable for what that EHR vendor has committed to accomplish in the EMR selection process.

As I said in my previous post:
Don’t let the quest for perfection get in the way of incremental improvement. Perfection is more nearly obtained through many incremental improvement than giant leaps.

If a physician’s standard is a perfect EHR, then they’re going to be sorely disappointed. If their standard is improvements in their clinic, then there are EHR options out there that are well worth considering and implementing.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, 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,, 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.


  • EHRs decrease productivity by 30 to 50% and are little more than Document repositories stored on network drives accessible from anywhere. They have not lived up to the potential of the computer and have killed innovation thru their monolithic approach. Vendors who should have died are on life support thanks to ONC. What is the rush to get an EHR?

    I am not a Luddite, I am just disappointed and appalled by how little EHRs do to improve patient care.

  • I think purchasing an EHR really is a lot like getting married. The initial attraction is important, but the long-term practical concerns are critical. Sometimes we are over-critical when looking for someone to marry; perhaps doctors have unrealistic standards for EHR software.

    Just like looking for a marriage partner, doctors should embrace the 80/20 rule. Look for a system that has 80% of what you want, and the other 20% is something you can live with or change over the long term. It’s not a question of lowering standards, but rather setting appropriate standards.

    We feel like the ability to change should be one of those standards. A practices needs will change over time due to a variety of factors. If you’re stuck with a static EHR that can’t evolve to support you, you will start looking for a “divorce.”

    That’s why we designed XLEMR using Microsoft Office. Pretty much every business out there uses MS Office to create and change their own documents. Shouldn’t medical practices take advantage of this? MS Office provides an easy interface for your staff that’s flexible allows the EHR to change with ease.

Click here to post a comment