Business & Technology Nexus

Dave Stephens on technology and business trends

The Coming $19B “Obama Flood” in EMR Software?

with 5 comments

My wife is a family practice physician. Her clinic, FINALLY, is installing an electronic medical records system. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve felt sick to my stomach while walking through her clinic looking at wall after wall of floor-to-ceiling files. It’s an in-your-face visual reminder of the information silos that prevent physicians from understanding a patient’s condition holistically & achieving better patient outcomes.

That’s why I’m a pretty big fan of Obama “calling the US healthcare system out” on being antiquated and ill-equipped to meet the needs of patients. From petty bickering keeping physicians from establishing common standards of care and treatment, to their all-to-often allergic reponse to technology, the time has long-since come for change.

And change does indeed seem to be on its way. In  fact, the mandates for change seem to be translating into a $19B “Obama Flood” of business for EMR software vendors and implementation specialists. And since often these systems are implemented (even at a small clinic) for more than $100K USD, there’s a lot of money about to change hands in pursuit of a much-needed modernization of our healthcare infrastructure.

I’ve been intrigued, as a procurement guy, how clinics and hospitals and other points-of-care are going about choosing their new systems. There seem to be a good number of website “lists” of EMR software systems available – and I think that’s a good thing. But I wonder if decisions like these are made more through face-to-face referrals from sources of trust. Even if so, some basic research by IT staff and clinic managers can ensure that organizations find the system that offers the best value and best matches their requirements.

How to buy complex systems in an opaque market, where vendors do not necessarily disclose complete information about their capabilities or their price, can be quite challenging. If you are currently researching an EMR system for your point-of-care facility, what are you doing to make sure you’ve found the right one?


Written by Dave Stephens

02/16/09 12:53 PM at 12:53 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Thanks for this post! For those interested, here’s a more detailed breakdown of Congress’s incentive plan for EMR adoption:


    02/18/09 12:47 PM at 12:47 pm

  2. EMR software is indeed at a crossroads and is creating a delima for physicians on how to best pick a suite of products (EMR, EHR, PM, etc) . The only thing I can offer these physicians is to be sure whatever suite of products they buy is CCHIT certified. This certification will allow, at minimum, physicians the ability to digitally share standarized medical information.


    03/3/09 7:52 AM at 7:52 am

  3. EMR is a double-edged sword. I love it for the same reason that I hate it: the potential for easy and easily managed access to one’s entire medical history.

    The information silos that we dislike for their inefficiencies, we should admire for their natural deterrent effects.


    04/21/09 7:16 PM at 7:16 pm

  4. Dave
    I share the disgust in watching the walled stacks of medical files in medical practioner’s place and the benefits that could be had if/when that same information is managed properly. Given the dual challenges of lack of technological prowess on the medical practioner’s side and the need to standardize the entire medical business process, I wonder if it would make a lot of sense for standard bodies to manage this technology and each medical services provider taps into it. Just like it is done with the Credit History – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. A select set of providers manage the information and all the medical practioners/healthcare providers subscribe to it.


    04/24/09 2:01 PM at 2:01 pm

  5. I like your idea Subraya especially if we can overcome the privacy issues.

    Dave Stephens

    04/24/09 2:27 PM at 2:27 pm

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