During an informal discussion with a colleague, we discussed what constitutes a satisfactory buy? Or what is necessary for a product to be considered a good buy? You may be able to experiment with different daily use products to find your right fit but a one off purchase has to be right the first time.
Similarly, providers face the same dilemma in choosing an EMR system. With the Healthcare IT industry still in its growth phase, new vendors have been pouring in consistently in what is already a very competitive industry. With a plethora of options to choose from, finding ‘the right fit’ for your practice can be exhausting.
So how do you make the choice? I have personally read a fair share of EMR buying guides imploring you to follow a number of steps to find the perfect match for your practice; each time wondering how practical the approach is? After all how many EMRs can you possibly examine in detail? 5, 10 maybe even 20 if you are a huge organization with ample resources. Currently there are over 400 EHR vendors in the US market alone. Short listing itself would take up a lot of time; and time of course is a luxury providers just cannot afford.
So what does a provider do? In reality many practitioners simply short list popular products and choose amongst them. Choices are usually influenced by technology, usability and affordability. While it works sometimes, most of the providers realize the short comings of their choice after regular use.
This is mainly attributable to the fact that the Healthcare IT industry is still very young. Save for a few, most of the EMR vendors are still working their ways around bottle necks while incorporating use of modern technology. Physicians require mature, stable systems which have evolved through user feedback, embracing both the technology and user requirements. For example while there may be a lot of applications today might be web-enabled or web-based, only a couple have actually worked on the platform long enough to be considered stable.