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Epocrates EMR Killed Immediately After Launch

Posted on March 15, 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 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.

Back in 2010, Epocrates had its EMR ducks in a row. The company, known best for a very popular smartphone-based drug interaction database for physicians, announced plans to release a mobile SaaS EMR.  While Epocrates was jumping into a market more crowded than a barrel full of monkeys, one could see where leaders might see an EMR as an extension of the relationship it already had with physicians.

Now, Epocrates leaders have said “oops” and announced that they were killing the product,  telling investors and the public that building the darned thing was distracting it from its core business.  It does seem that the company was struggling with the EMR rollout process:  it didn’t roll out its first-phase product until August 2011 and didn’t get its Meaningful Use certification until February of this year. But this is the first time I’ve seen a company kill a product at this stage of development, particularly in such a high-profile manner.

It must have been more than a bit embarrassing to make the announcement during HIMSS12 when, of course, companies traditionally kick off products they’re planning to sell vigorously. As Epocrates was making plans to dump or sell their EMR, the company’s CMIO, Tom Giannulli, MD, was pitching the company’s new iPad EMR to editors.

As Epocrates itself pointed out, there aren’t too many dedicated iPad EMR offerings out there. So in theory, this should not have been a waste of the company’s time.  On the other hand, with the iPad still a new frontier for EMRs, we still don’t know whether it will ultimately work as a platform of choice for physicians.  As we’ve previously discussed on this blog, the iPad seems to be a pretty good medium for reading data but a very awkward one for entering data. Whether that’s a fatal flaw remains to be seen.

Truthfully, this looks like a failure of execution from start to finish, rather than a product that couldn’t possibly work. But these are tough times. Even the best execution may not work; and if so, Epocrates was probably wise to fold its cards before further damage was done.

Twitter Activity at HIMSS12

Posted on February 26, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

As most of you know, I wrote about my “Social Media Day at HIMSS 2012” over on EMR and HIPAA. There’s little doubt that social media was a huge part of my HIMSS experience. In fact, quite frankly, social media is a big part of pretty much every conference I attend these days.

One thing became abundantly clear during my use of social media at and before HIMSS. One of the very best uses of social media is to connect people or as one person once told (or likely tweeted) me “Twitter takes out that awkward first time meeting barrier.” It’s amazingly true how much easier it is for me to go up and meet someone who I’ve already interacted with on Twitter. At least then I have at a minimum a little bit of background and at a maximum I’ve shared multiple deep interactions over a long period of time across the spectrum of social media.

Although, I must admit that despite my love of Twitter, I honestly didn’t use Twitter all that much mid-conference. I was too busy meeting with people (many of whom I’d connected with before the conference on Twitter). So, I was surprised when I got the following tweet:

The link takes you to a view of the #HIMSS12 twitter traffic using a service called tweetreach. The most interesting numbers for me are that it shows the #HIMSS12 Twitter tag reached 288,980 people with 2,589,816 impressions. Then, it lists the top contributions to the reach on Twitter during HIMSS. It lists @ehrandhit with 428,222 impressions (@techguy had 19,589). That means I created 17.3% of all the Twitter impressions for HIMSS that it tracked. Not too bad.

I’m sure these numbers can be massaged a lot of different ways, but I find them quite interesting. It’s particularly interesting since I was often too busy (sadly) to tweet. Although, I did have a couple sprints during the #HITsm tweetup and a few of the keynote sessions.

No matter how you tag it, new ways for technology to bring people together are here to stay.