Hospital EHR Purchases Aren’t Made by Hospital EHR Users

As most of you know, I’ve been really involved in a number of different LinkedIn groups. There are a lot of smart people there sharing a lot of good knowledge. Even for something as niche as EHR software.

In a recent thread I participated in, some really interesting comments were made about the hospital EHR sales and buying process.

I’d sum up the discussion as follows:

Very few hospital EHR vendors are focused on loyalty or customer satisfaction. Related to that is the users of the system aren’t the customers of the system in the hospital EHR purchase.

I find the first point absolutely fascinating as I think about what motivation an EHR vendor has of focusing on loyalty and customer satisfaction. Plus, this idea is reinforced by those who make the hospital EHR purchase decision not actually being users of the system.

I’m sure that many will come on this thread and talk about how healthcare is small and that people talk. This is true. However, if the people talking aren’t users of the hospital EHR software, then how important is the customer satisfaction with that system.

Does anyone else think that it’s a problem that the “customer” of the hospital EHR system is someone who doesn’t use said EHR system?

In this case the user of the hospital EHR system are generally the physicians and the nurses. Sure, those physicians and nurses could lead an uprising against the hospital management based on the hospital EHR’s lack of usability, but that’s much easier said than done. In fact, I’d suggest that it’s pretty rare. Part of the problem here likely is that doctors have to choose their battles and they have enough other battles with the hospital administration that EHR doesn’t usually make it to the top of that list.

Seems like the most popular EHR vendors have this figured out. They know who makes the purchasing decisions and their software and sales approach reflects this situation. This is an unfortunate thing for healthcare.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, 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.


  • Yes, the buyer vs. user of EHR-related software is a dilemma — but no more so than for many “enterprise” software products. We typically won’t demo our software to a prospective customer unless physicians are present — because we know how influential they can be in the sales process, and because only physicians (as the users) can truly appreciate what “ease of use” really means when it comes to CPOE, medication reconciliation, and other physician applications.

    -Peter Henderson, VP of Marketing, PatientKeeper Inc.

  • I have seen a physician revolt (against Meditech’s EDM) and it wasn’t pretty. While the docs ultimately lost, it was a very hard time for the CIO. I think every CIO sees usability as the driver of adoption—it’s just that some of them don’t know how disruptive some of these products can be. And the docs often don’t know either until it’s too late.

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