Study: Massive EMR Vendor Die-Off Expected Over Next Four Years

Well, if you were waiting for someone to say the sky is falling, here it is.  According to Black Book Market Research, more than half of the EMR vendors in business today are going to fail within the next few years.

Right now, according to Black Book estimates, there are almost a thousand EMR vendors in business, including over 600 smaller vendors. But by the time 2017 rolls around (or Meaningful Use 3 hits) more than half of those vendors will be gone, the research firm says.

To get a feeling for the state of the EMR market, Black Book surveyed 880 EMR consultants, analysts, managers and support team members. Ninety percent of those interviewed predicted that the majority of EMR vendors currently implemented will no longer exist as an independent entity. (They’ll either have merged, been acquired or closed up shop, the experts say.)

Eighty-eight percent of those interviewed believe that vendors who fail will have done so because they didn’t focus on usability, trying instead to turn out systems aimed at Meaningful Use compliance.

That being said, there does seem to be a path to continued independence and success for some vendors. Eighty-two percent of survey respondents believe that well-funded small vendors who carve out a strong niche in medical and surgical specialties — or serve buyers in alternative care settings — will  pick up market share during this period.

All told, these results are no surprise.

For example, it’s quickly becoming established wisdom that specialty EMRs are helpful and even necessary to specialist physicians.  EMRs that attempt to be “all things to all people” are increasingly losing favor with specialists, who want vendors that understand what they do and speak their language.

And the core message — that EMR vendors are going merge, be acquired or go belly up like crazy — is only common sense at this point.

My question is this: will vendors of general-use EMRs begin picking specialties and rolling out related products, or will the weaker all-purpose vendors cling to their model and go down with the ship?

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.

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