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EHR Change Doesn’t Always Mean Better

Posted on August 1, 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.

In the comments of my post “EHR Replacement Roadmap to Success“, John Brewer provided a great reminder that changing EHR software doesn’t always mean that you’ll change to a better EHR. You might change to something worse. At least that’s my summary of his comments. You can read his full comment if you want.

I’ve learned this lesson over and over in my career. Sometimes you need to be content with what you have. One example of this was when I was working at a University in Hawaii. I was quite disappointed with the CIO and thought that he could do a lot of things different. Well, I got my wish and the CIO was replaced with someone else. Considering the topic of this blog post, you can imagine what happened next. The replacement CIO was so much worse than the previous CIO. Lesson learned.

Change doesn’t always mean a change for the better. It can certainly mean a change for the worse.

This applies fully to EHR replacement, which is quickly becoming a hot topic as many people regret their EHR purchase decision. You do need to be careful that you’re so afraid of change that you never change. In many situations change is the right decision. Plus, unlike my story where I had little control over who was hired as the new CIO, when you switch EHR software you can have some impact on the selection and end results. In many cases, you might even discover that you shouldn’t switch EHR before it’s too late.

I expect most people who think they need to switch EHR need to be careful to not set a predetermined course early in the process. Instead of saying, “Which EHR should I switch to?” I believe that many should dig deeper into the question, “If I switched EHR software, what would improve?”

As I replied to John Brewer in the post linked above, it is often (but not always) the case that the second EHR selected goes better than the first. I’ve found that the first “failed” EHR implementation usually teaches some great (albeit costly) lessons that they’re able to avoid the second time around. However, there is a tendency the second time around to focus too much on the first EHR issues that can cause different trouble the second time around. As in most things, there’s a balance to be had.

My best suggestion is to not do anything too impulsive. Let the idea sit and germinate a little before you do anything too drastic. Emotional decisions with EHR software selection (and quite frankly many other decisions) often leads to bad outcomes.

Replacement EHR Trend

Posted on June 10, 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.


I’m a huge numbers guy even if numbers can lie if you’re not careful. However, what I love most is the change in numbers which often can tell an important story of trends. One trend we knew was coming is the replacement EHR trend, so I was quite interested when I saw the tweet above that said that 31% of EHR buyers are purchasing a replacement EHR. That’s a huge number and up from the previous 10% replacement EHRs in 2010.

The report linked above also has a number of other interesting EHR numbers. 30% of respondents reported that their practice would replace their current practice management or EHR solution if their current vendor was purchased by another vendor. Considering we’re about to enter an unprecedented stage of EHR consolidation, this should be quite unsettling to any company looking to acquire an EHR vendor.

I was also fascinated to see that 60 percent of hospital-owned groups reported purchasing their current practice management solution before 2006. Is the age of some of these systems going to lead to many of them being replaced? You’d think that 7 years isn’t that long for a system, but in the tech world it’s not young either. With that said, I wonder what EHR or PM systems have been created in the past 3-5 years. I can’t think of many. If we use meaningful use as a point of demarcation, I can’t think of any EHR or PMs that came after meaningful use. I wonder if we’ll see this change.

One thing I’m certain of is that we’re going to get really good at replacing EHR software. Hopefully EHR vendors will embrace the liquidity of data for those who choose to switch EHR, but I’m not too hopeful on this.