Several months ago, the year 2013 was named “The Year of the Great EHR Switch.” Recent surveys have found that statement to be accurate. According to the latest Black Book Rankings survey, 81 percent of poll respondents who originally stated they planned to switch EHRs this year are on track with their plans to replace their current EHR within the next 12 months.
Evidence is mounting higher and higher that physicians are serious about finding an EHR solution that fits their needs better; they’re not just issuing empty threats out of frustration. This time around, though, practices are focusing more on usability and productivity than features and certification. Specialty specific features and government certification are still important, but they don’t carry as much weight as they did just a few years ago. Bad EHR experiences have taught many physicians that user friendliness is worth it, both in terms of cost savings and physician satisfaction.
“The EHR system shifters now position to reallocate more than $5 billion in sales and services as the unstable vendor marketplace begins to get agitated,” said Doug Brown, managing partner of Black Book.
In its survey released last week, Black Book ranked over 900 EHR products in six main areas:
- Physician productivity and satisfaction
- Meaningful use stage 1 attestations
- Meaningful use stage 2 advancements (such as a patient portal)
- Mobile apps
- Interoperability and connectivity
- Practice management advancements (such as revenue cycle management and ICD-10)
These are important items that today’s EHR shoppers are looking for. Other considerations include vendor experience in the physician’s specialty, EHR design, voice functionality, customer support, and training offered by the vendor. Of course, government certification is also essential if physicians plan to qualify for government incentives.
Experts predict that the EHR market will be significantly smaller by 2017, due to mergers and other factors that will drive vendors that failed to keep up with usability demands out of business. This is good news for healthcare, as it means that EHRs will only get better from here on out.