EHR Market Poised for Shakeout

Health IT Fellows’ Inaugural Class
September 23, 2013

The EHR landscape, many health care professionals are discovering, is littered with software programs that do not interoperate, integrate or even interface with each other. Critics cite a range of reasons — from technological challenges to proprietary and financially driven issues.

Mike Taylor, CIO at the Charleston, S.C.-based Roper St. Francis health network, says a fragmented marketplace creates some harsh realities for prospective EHR buyers. “It’s been extremely frustrating when you sit down to select one,” Taylor continued. “There’s not a one-size-fits-all vendor in the marketplace, nor do I think there ever will be, nor do I think that’s healthy. But the inability to take the best of each and pull them together to do what you’re trying to do for health care and the patient, that’s the frustrating piece.”

Indeed, the EHR marketplace is “agitated” and “unstable” according to a report published in late July by Black Book. This at a time when many health care organizations are either planning to or are already in the process of switching EHR vendors.

Black Book managing partner Doug Brown says the predictions of a great shakeout and consolidation in the EHR marketplace are “spot on.” He notes that many health care organizations are looking to switch EHRs and, in so doing, are considering a relatively small number of vendors, including athenahealth, Care360 Quest, ChartLogic, Cerner, GE Healthcare, Greenway, Practice Fusion and Vitera. Ultimately, industry observers are predicting that fewer EHR makers will survive, but that their products will be stronger — both more usable and interoperable — than what exists today.

In the meantime, Mike Taylor is hoping for change. “My hope is that there are several guys in a garage right now coding the next EHR. Hopefully something emerges in the next few years, or somebody puts the venture capital together and builds something much simpler, easier and more interoperable.”

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