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Will EHR Vendors Become Service and Consulting Companies?

Posted on October 14, 2014 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 is the topic of a really interesting LinkedIn discussion: Will EHR Vendors Become Service and Consulting Companies?

I think this is a really great question and one that’s worthy of serious consideration. I think we’ve seen this happen time and time again in the IT industry. Some of the best examples are IBM, HP, and Dell. As their IT hardware and software becomes a “commodity” then they leverage their relationships and domain expertise to change into a service and consulting company. Usually this also involves them spending their extra cash to acquire the leading consulting company (or companies) in the industry as well.

In some ways we’re already seeing this happen. Epic announced a consulting division of their company in order to retain their senior staff. Cerner’s always made a good chunk of their money from consulting services.

Of course, thanks to meaningful use incentive money and some still massive upgrade costs, EHR vendors haven’t needed to shift their business model to a service and consulting model yet. There’s still plenty of money to be made just selling the software, training, etc.

What will also be interesting to watch is whether the large service and consulting companies like Accenture, IBM, HP, Dell, etc. will eat up the market share so that the EHR companies don’t have as much of an opportunity to grow a service and consulting business. No doubt it will be a big dog fight. Not to mention many of the current EHR consulting companies (although, you could see many of these getting acquired by the EHR vendors).

I guess my short answer to this question is: In the short term, we’re not likely to see a massive shift towards services and consulting, but long term it’s very likely to happen. What are your thoughts?

Are Most EHR Consulting Companies Really Staffing Companies?

Posted on October 16, 2013 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.

While at the CHIME Fall CIO Forum, I had the great opportunity to sit down with Sheri Stoltenberg, CEO of Stoltenberg Consulting and Shane Pilcher, VP of Stoltenberg Consulting. I say it was a great opportunity, because I had the chance to sit down with both of them at HIMSS as well and both times were a fantastically interesting opportunity. Considering they have over 50 years of experience in healthcare, they can offer some really deep perspectives on the industry.

Over time, I’m sure I’ll do many posts pulling out some of the topics we discussed. Many of them revolved around the idea of healthcare data analytics. Although, the conversation was unlike any other healthcare analytics discussion I’ve had (and I’ve had many). Instead, for this post I want to consider a realization I had during our conversation. Here’s the question that came to my mind:

Are Most EHR Consulting Companies Really Staffing Companies?

This came to mind when Sheri Stoltenberg was talking about their goal to provide more value to the organizations they work with beyond just extra hands on deck. When I think about the institutions I’ve talked to, they often treat EHR consulting companies more like a temp agency than they do a consulting company. Granted, it’s a temp agency with highly skilled workers, but in many respects it’s more about staffing than it is consulting.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with a staffing company. In fact, the services these EHR consulting companies provide when it comes to staffing can be incredibly valuable to an organization who needs some temporary people with specific skills. That’s much better than having to hire and then fire a whole bunch of staff in your organization.

I just wonder how many organizations really hire an EHR consultant to consult their organization about how that organization should prepare for the future? I don’t think a consultant is required to help an organization better understand their readiness for the future, but it’s one method. My fear is that many organizations are so overwhelmed by the operations of their organization that they don’t take the time to strategically look to the future. Maybe there’s a space for a consultant who’s constantly considering the future to add value to an organization overwhelmed by operations and regulations.