Why 2013 Will Be A Good Year For EMRs

Posted on December 14, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @annezieger on Twitter.

Recently, I wrote an article listing some unpleasant, stubborn EMR problems that are likely to cling to the industry like sticky burrs in 2013. Being a fair-minded gal, I also wanted to stop and reflect on what’s likely to work in favor of EMR adoption, maturation and success next year, so here goes:

*  Consolidation will lead to a more-stable vendor market:  With the (in my opinion) wave of new EMR vendors beginning to recede, the shakeout will begin. Vendors that remain may not be the best, sadly, but they’ll be better funded and hopefully better situated to take care of customers.

*  We’ll have a good amount of Meaningful Use experience under our belts:  Starting out with Meaningful Use has been nerve-wracking for all. But by 2013 the industry will have begun to acclimate itself not just to meeting MU standards, but making them work for their particular clinic or hospital.

*  Vendors are likely to offer more mobile options:  Right now, EMR vendors are offering minimal efforts around mobile EMR applications. My gut is that in the coming year, we’ll see some definitive progress on Android and iOS-natve EMR apps. There’s just too much demand to ignore.

*  Template medicine will get more sophisticated:  When templates merely inconvenienced doctors, nobody seemed that worried about their potential side effects. Now that it appears that templates encourage costly upcoding, however, it’s likely that vendors will be forced to make them smarter and less prone to encouraging cut-and-paste documentation. (How, I  haven’t a clue, but the pressure will force something to happen.)

Now, none of these are exactly raving endorsements of the EMR climate for next year. I’m not suggesting that adopting EMRs will suddenly become easy, training a breeze or ROI will magically appear.  But I do believe that we’re going to be seeing a nice uptick in EMR maturity.