I was recently thinking about how nearly every healthcare IT company I talk to today has some sort of platform. Yes, even our beloved EHR vendors (or not so beloved) often talk about their EHR system as an EHR platform. Is there anything that’s implemented in healthcare IT today that’s not a platform? Everything seems to be a platform these days.
If they have hundreds of health IT systems, then they have hundreds of platforms.
Given this is the case, are they really all platforms? Do we need all of these platforms? Has the word platform just been corrupted and really doesn’t have any meaning any more?
I wonder if hospital CIOs now would be interested in purchasing a piece of healthcare IT software that wasn’t a platform. Would it be better to market a healthcare IT software product as a solution rather than a platform? I’m guessing that most hospital CIOs probably feel like they have plenty of platforms. Am I wrong?
I should be clear. I think the idea of creating a platform with something is a good thing. At least it’s a good thing if you define a platform as something that connects and integrates with other systems and software. This would be a good trend in healthcare since so many so called platforms were at best very closed platforms and at worst not platforms at all. If platform would be defined as being open and interoperable, then I would welcome all these platforms with open arms.
The problem is that I think many healthcare IT vendors (EHR vendors leading this charge) look at their platform as a way to entrench the customer with them. They want to create the end all be all platform that all of a hospital’s future healthcare IT purchases need to integrate with the hospital. This is where the platform idea can fall flat when it comes to health IT customers and patients.
I love a good platform as much as the next person. It’s a powerful way to do business and can really do amazing things to improve the care a patient receives and how efficient a healthcare organization can operate. However, once everything says their a platform it loses meaning. I think we’ve reached that point with the word platform.