One-Fifth Of Physician Practices Might Switch EMRs

Here’s yet more evidence that this is the year of the “big switch” in EMRs, at least among physicians. A new survey by Black Book Market Research has concluded that about 23 percent of practices with currently implemented EMRs are unhappy enough with their current system to consider switching to a different vendor.

According to a piece in Medical Economics, doctors’ concerns include a lack of interoperability, excessively complicated connectivity and networking and problems with mobile device integration.

The survey, which reached out to 17,000 doctors, found that internal medicine docs had the highest rates of satisfaction (89 percent), followed  by family practice (85 percent), general practice (82 percent) and pediatrics.

The unhappiest specialists were nephrologists (88 percent), followed closely by urologists (85 percent) and ophthalmologists (80 percent).

So if a practice is going to switch vendors, what are they looking for? The Medical Economics piece listed five “must-have” features doctors voted for in the Black Book survey:

* vendor viability

* data integration and network sharing

* adoption of mobile devices

* health information exchange support and connectivity

* perfected interfaces with lab, pharmacy, radiology, medical billing partners, and others

Unfortunately, they won’t find it easy to find all of these features in a single EMR.  Of course, you faithful editor isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to EMR products (who could be?) but it seems to me that if even pricier enterprise products seldom offer all of these options, it’s decidedly unlikely that ambulatory products will. (OK, vendor viability is a judgment call, but in a world where so many practices don’t like their EMR, it’s hard to imagine that vendors are at their strongest.)

Folks, the truth is that it looks like we’re coming to a market crash of some kind. Physicians aren’t getting what they need from EMRs, but vendors aren’t keeping up, especially in the realm of specialty EMRs.

As if that wasn’t enough, the threat of fines looms for practices that don’t get their Meaningful Use act together, something they may have trouble doing if they’re in the midst of EMR shopping, installation and adoption.

Time is getting tight, and customers aren’t happy. Ambulatory vendors, what’s your next move?

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.


  • This is a topic I have been aware of and following since last one year when I have seen a rise in ‘switchers’. The reasons cited are all true of course, but for most part, that is the ‘logic’ cited when asked for reasons for switching.

    John as you have rightly said, no one offers everything, and these are issues faced by everyone. Yet, only few switch.

    In majority of the cases I surveyed informally, it is an emotional decision based on dissatisfaction with how their Vendor handled the situation.

    I have actually seen practices switch from Vendor A to Vendor B and from Vendor B to Vendor A – for the EXACT SAME REASON!

  • One more thing –

    Message for Vendors:

    You may have a good web based EMR system, focus on Customer Service

    Message for Physicians:

    Chances are Switching will not solve your problems. Make your Vendor a Partner and work with them. Switching will be expensive, painful and perhaps not solve the problems.

  • Just returned from exhibiting at the AAOS (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) in Chicago. About 4 out of 10 of the docs we spoke with had an EHR and were looking to change. I know this is anecdotal and certainly is not a scientific sample, but I was surprised it was that high. Whether or not they will actually change is another matter…once the investment has been made, it is difficult to justify making the investment again.
    I think one of the biggest problems is that VENDORS are not setting proper expectations as to the time frame for data conversion, training, implementation, interfaces, etc. Oftentimes, the practice needs an entire overhaul of their IT infrastructure. That can take some time!
    Most importantly, listen to the client and their needs. Do everything possible to provide phenomenal customer service. You’ll have a client that is much quicker to forgive and slower to want to change.

  • Yes, Chandresh, we do actually have it all!
    Our product will stand-out as the “go to” system that unsatisfied practices should check out.

    We will exceed all expectations because we are a complete solution. To get more information please visit our website or send us an email.

  • interfaceMD, an advertiser on this very site, has all the components. Bigger isn’t always better. We have clients not shareholders and unlike many systems, everything is included with our customized, comprehensive and connected EMR solution. Discover us with a FREE demo. Click on our ad on this page to find out more. We would love to hear from you.

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