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News Flash: Physicians Still Very Dissatisfied With EMRs

Posted on October 18, 2016 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 @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that many physicians still aren’t convinced that the big industry-wide EMR rollout was a good idea. But nonetheless, I was still surprised to learn — as you might be as well — that in the aggregate, physicians thoroughly dislike pretty much all of the ambulatory EMRs commonly used in medical practices today.

This conclusion, along with several other interesting factoids, comes from a new report from healthcare research firm peer60. The report is based on a survey from the firm conducted in August of this year, reaching out to 1,053 doctors in various specialties.

Generally speaking, the peer60 study found that EMR market for acute care facilities is consolidating quickly, and that Epic continues to add market share in the ambulatory EMR market (Although, it’s possible that’s also survey bias).  In fact, 50% of respondents reported using an Epic system, followed by 21% Cerner, 9% Allscripts and 4% the military EMR VistA.  Not surprisingly, respondents reporting Epic use accounted for 55% of hospitals with 751+ beds, but less predictably, a full 59% of hospitals of up to 300 beds were Epic shops as well. (For an alternate look at acute care EMR market share, check out the stats on systems with the highest number of certified users.)

When it came to which EMR the physician used in their own practice, however, the market looks a lot tighter. While 18% of respondents said they used Epic, 7% reported using Allscripts, 6% eClinicalWorks, 5% Cerner, 4% athenahealth, e-MDs and NextGen, 3% Greenway and Practice Fusion and 2% GE Healthcare. Clearly, have remained open to a far greater set of choices than hospitals. And that competition is likely to remain robust, as few practices seem to be willing to change to competitor systems — in fact, only 9% said they were interested in switching at present.

To me, where the report got particularly interesting was when peer60 offered data on the “net promoter scores” for some of the top vendors. The net promoter score method it uses is simple: it subtracts the percent of physicians who wouldn’t recommend an EMR from the percent who would recommend that EMR to get a number from 100 to -100. And obviously, if lots of physicians reported that they wouldn’t recommend a product the NPS fell into the negative.

While the report declines to name which NPS is associated with which vendor, it’s clear that virtually none have anything to write home about here. All but one of the NPS ratings were below zero, and one was rated at a nasty -73. The best NPS among the ambulatory care vendors was a 5, which as I read it suggests that either physicians feel they can tolerate it or simply believe the rest of the crop of competitors are even worse.

Clearly, something is out of order across the entire ambulatory EMR industry if a study like this — which drew on a fairly large number of respondents cutting across most hospital sizes and specialties — suggests that doctors are so unhappy with what they have. According to the report, the biggest physician frustrations are poor EMR usability and a lack of desired functionality, so what are we waiting for? Let’s get this right! The EMR revolution will never bear fruit if so many doctors are so frustrated with the tools they have.

e-MDs Acquires McKesson’s Portfolio of Ambulatory EHR Software

Posted on March 10, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This post will likely be a little bit of inside baseball for many, but I think it’s a really important subject to cover since it’s going to impact so many practices and so many doctors. The news just came out that e-MDs was acquiring the suite of ambulatory EHR software owned by McKesson. For those keeping track at home, these are 6 of the assets acquired from McKesson: McKesson Practice Choice™, Medisoft®, Medisoft® Clinical, Lytec®, Lytec® MD, and Practice Partner®.

This shouldn’t be a surprise from a McKesson perspective. At HIMSS I heard multiple stories of people talking with McKesson staff who didn’t even know the names of their EHR software. Sad, but true. The only question for McKesson is will Paragon get sold off next?

For those that aren’t familiar with the history of e-MDs, it was purchased by Marlin Equity Partners back in March 2015 and merged with Marlin’s MDeverywhere company. Marlin then went on to acquire AdvancedMD from ADP in August of 2015 as they started to stock pile ambulatory EHR vendors. With the acquisition of the McKesson assets, Marlin now owns a large number of ambulatory EHR vendors.

This shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone. We all knew that 300 EHR vendors wasn’t sustainable long term and we know that the EHR market has matured now that the false market meaningful use created is over. Some consolidation was bound to happen and it’s no surprise that a private equity firm is rolling up these companies as they seek to find the benefits of scale. The press release notes that the combined company’s products and services are being used by nearly 55,000 providers nationwide after this latest acquisition. That’s quite a presence in the ambulatory space.

The unfortunate downside of this type of EHR roll up is that not all of these EHR software can survive under one roof. Some of them have got to go. The only question is which one(s) will survive. Unlike EHR vendor founders, private equity companies are disconnected from the original product and so it doesn’t hurt as much for them to shut down a weaker product line as they consolidate users on to what they consider the best software. I’d be shocked if we didn’t see this happen with a number of EHR software that are now under e-MD’s (and Marlin’s) roof.

I also won’t be surprised if Marlin and e-MDs continue with more acquisitions. There are still a few hundred other ambulatory EHR vendors out there.

What Does e-MDs and AdvancedMD Under the Same Private Equity Mean?

Posted on August 11, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The healthcare IT world has seen a lot of movement and investment lately. Kareo raised $55 million recently. Modernizing Medicine acquired gMed last month. Accolade secured $22.5 million in funding. medCPU closed $8 million in financing. BoardVitals raised $1.1 million to build the Wikipedia of Medicine. Premier acquired CECity. Plus, that doesn’t even mention the $1 billion acquisition of Merge healthcare by IBM. I’m sure that there are many more that people can share in the comments.

There’s a lot of investment going into healthcare IT. No doubt there’s a huge opportunity for health IT companies. However, I’ve been most interested in what’s happening with the EHR companies involved in these deals. For example, one recent transaction that I didn’t mention above was Marlin Equity Partners acquiring AdvancedMD from ADP. The ADP acquisition of AdvancedMD never seemed to work. The idea of doctors offices being small businesses and ADP offered a bunch of small business services kind of made sense, but most doctors offices treat their EHR purchase very different than other tech investments for their office. The EHR purchase is its own beast. So, it’s not surprising that ADP would divest itself of an EHR software company.

What’s more interesting about the deal is that Marlin Equity Partners had already acquired EHR vendor e-MDs in March of 2015 and merged it with MDEverywhere. Now Marlin Equity Partners has e-MDs and AdvancedMD under their umbrella. I asked them what their plans were now that they had two EHR vendors (competitors) in their portfolio. They declined to comment until the acquisition of AdvancedMD closed.

Something has to give. I can’t imagine Marlin Equity Partners continuing with two software companies. Hard to say whether e-MDs will win or AdvancedMD, but I expect we’ll see one of them being sunset in the next year or two. They’ll offerer a way to convert from one to the other, but switching EHR software is never fun. It’s even less fun when it’s being forced upon you by the vendor.

The crazy thing is that I think we’re just getting started with this kind of activity. 300 EHR vendors is not sustainable long term. I don’t think we’ll get to 5 EHR vendors like most suggest, but we could narrow it down to 100 and still have plenty of options. That’s a lot of doctors being left high and dry when their EHR gets consolidated.

Hurricane Irene Highlights Life-Saving Potential of Mobile EMRs

Posted on August 31, 2011 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

Watching the East Coast prepare for Hurricane Irene last weekend had me flashing back to the aftermath of the tornadoes that hit Joplin, Missouri, earlier this year. Would hospitals suffer the same levels of destruction that St. John’s Regional Medical Center did? Would they be as successful in evacuating patients and treating them off-site with limited supplies and infrastructure?

Fortunately, lessons learned from providers in Joplin, and to a greater extent from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, enabled providers along the East Coast to implement well thought-out disaster preparedness plans at their facilities. Mother Nature also lent a hand by withholding from Hurricane Irene the extreme conditions her predecessor unleashed on the South some six years ago.

The team at North Shore – Long Island Jewish Health System makes a compelling case study for the smoothness with which detailed planning can bring to hospital evacuation scenarios. The short video below gives a glimpse into the efforts the hospital’s staff put forth to evacuate 252 in-patients and 50 emergency department patients in less than 24 hours. The helpful Mr. HISTalk has compiled a brief list of updates on several additional hospitals affected by the storm (scroll down to the bottom of the post for updates).

It was by pure coincidence that news of e-MDs’ launch of its Rounds® mobile EMR app for the iPhone reached my desk just as Hurricane Irene was closing in on land. The new app enables physicians to remotely and securely key in patient information from their EHRs via their mobile device – surely a tool that physicians would find useful in treating patients during an evacuation process such as that undertaken by North Shore-LIJ.

Patrick Hall, Executive Vice President of Business Development at e-MDs, told me that the mobile health solution was launched “to help our physician clients stay connected to patient information. We have observed that [they] have been dealing with more and more work when they are away from the office. This provides them with a convenient tool to deal with some of this, using an easily carried device that gives them access to complete patient information so they can make informed decisions about patient care.”

I’ll be interested to learn if any hospitals or private practice physicians came away with “success” stories because of their mobile EMR solutions. I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief that successes this time around far outnumber the failures.

Insightful User Experience with e-MDs EMR

Posted on December 22, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The following is the experience of one user who’s switching their EMR from Penchart to e-MDs that I think is insightful to consider before selecting an EMR so that one day you don’t have to deal with these issues. You can find the original posting on EMRUpdate. I’ll add a few takeaway points at the end.

We are a 10 doc /3 office practice that is going from dinosaur Penchart to e-MDs. We were supposed to go live a few months ago but we are huge issues getting our data converted (it ain’t going work) and getting training. We are a very EMR established practice having started using tablets and our EMR 5-7 years ago. We have pushed back our GO LIVE date 2 times already.

Were are now on our 3 project manager and we are just finding out that our data won’t port well to e-MDs. We new it won’t be great but it took a year to find out how unsuccessful it will be. e-MDs wants to train us but they do not want to look our current workflow to see how customize e-MDs to fit our current methods. “This is how we do it”. Our practice has 40,000 patients and 10 doctors (some of which are old school and have a hard time learning a new way).

I think the software is going to be great but our trasition to is is more painful then we ever thought.

Anyone have same experiences with e-MDs specifically?

Are there similar experiences with many/all other EMR conversions?

Our frustrations are the we get new answers with each or our 3 project managers, the original sales person “is no longer with the company”, 3 rd party conversion company is much less helpful they previously thought, and e-MDs look looking at our situation to see how best to aid our training.

My takeaways:
-Large EMR companies are going to have a problem scaling project managers
-EMR data conversions are a pain and you better have the right people doing it or you’re in trouble
-We need better standards for exporting patient information to avoid EMR data conversions
-Verify your EMR vendors ability to customize to your workflows or prepare to change your workflows

CALLING ALL DOCTORS! EMR Software Opinions Wanted

Posted on July 24, 2009 I Written By

This is a SHOUT OUT to all doctors who use EMRs. Which EMRs do you use and how do you like them. Do you love them or hate them? Are you luke warm in your like or dislike? Tell us which EMR you have and how you feel about it. Also tell us what you would do (the mistakes and the good moves) if you were looking into getting an EMR at this time.

I have personally looked at Greenway PrimeSuite, SOAPware, SRSsoft, e-MDs, AmazingCharts, NextGen, Centricity and others.

Can you comment on the cost and the usability?. Let’s share information so we can help other doctors choose systems that are usable, simple to learn, effective and efficient.

If you don’t have an EMR and are looking into one, what questions would you have for those “who have gone before you”? What advice would you be interested in receiving?