There’s definitely been a trend in EHR replacement that’s happening on the ambulatory side of the EHR market. Many ambulatory EHR practices are dropping their EHR and switching to another EHR. I’ve heard dozens of EHR vendors tell me that a large portion of their EHR sales are from doctors switching EHR software.
Someone recently asked me if the EHR switching applied to hospital EHR systems as well. I’m not sure that the EHR switching is as widespread with hospital EHR software as it is with ambulatory. The huge price difference creates a much different dynamic when you think about switching EHR software.
With that said, we do see a lot of EHR switching happening in hospitals where one hospital acquires another hospital. The gut reaction in every hospital acquisition is to standardize on one EHR system. Although, I think this reaction is going to change as the hospitals being acquired have mature EHR implementations and as the hospitals being acquired have more clout to battle against the knee jerk reaction to standardize on one EHR software.
I also think in the hospital environment they want to be careful switching EHR software during meaningful use. If the new EHR software takes a long time to implement, they could miss out on meaningful use dollars that are quite significant in the hospital setting.
Another reason we currently see less EHR switching in the hospital environment is because the EHR contracts a hospital signs are often of a much longer duration and harder to get out of. There aren’t very many hospital CIOs that are brave enough to admit that they made a mistake on the EHR selection and decide to switch.
All of these things indicate that in the hospital EHR environment, we could have a lot of EHR switching in about 3-5 years. By then, meaningful use will have run its course, the EHR update costs will start to kick in, the hospital CIO can make an EHR switching decision without losing face. Until then, I don’t expect we’ll see a mass of EHR switches.