I’ve written previously that the Golden Age of EHR is over and that we’re entering a much different era for EHR and healthcare IT. That’s going to change the dynamics of the healthcare IT career industry in general, but EHR consultants are likely going to be hit the most.
While there are still plenty of EHR consulting jobs, we’re not experiencing the tremendous growth in EHR consulting work that was seen over the past couple years. No doubt many of those EHR consulting positions came on the back of $36 billion of EHR incentive money. Now that we’re reaching the end of the road of the EHR incentive money, it’s not surprising to see a drop in new EHR consulting opportunities.
Ironically, another government contract might be what props up the EHR consulting industry for many more years to come. That contract is the estimated $11 billion (which means it will probably be closer to $20 billion) Department of Defense (DoD) EHR contract. It’s astounding to think about how many EHR consultants they’ll need to fulfill that contract. In fact, it’s likely that we’ll have to “create” more EHR consultants to fulfill the DoD EHR contract requirements.
The other larger EHR consultant trend that I’ve seen is the move to healthcare analytics. In a lot of ways it makes sense why an EHR consulting company would change focus to healthcare analytics. The first stage of EHR implementation is to convert to an electronic format. The next step is to take the data stored electronically and make it meaningful. EHR consultants have helped with the first phase and now they’re moving on to the second phase. Plus, in many ways they helped set up how and where the EHR data was stored, so they can leverage that expertise to get value out of the data.
One other major opportunity I think we’ll see play out over the next couple of years for EHR consulting is the wave of EHR switching which is bound to occur. The biggest one on the horizon will be Siemens Soarian customers switching EHR software. An EHR consultant company that can switch a hospital from Soarian to Epic or from Soarian to Cerner is going to have a fair amount of work in the coming years.