EMR Demand not exciting

HHS announced an easing of the timeline for hospitals and eligible providers to meet Stage II of the government EHR incentive program. This makes State II compliance easier for those providers that qualify for State I in 2011. However, it is too late now to buy EMR software, use it for 90 days and qualify for 2011 incentives. I suspect few providers will actually qualify for incentives in 2011 (estimated at 5%).

This means that the overall impact of EHR / EMR demand is still not enough.

Free EMR Software

I have been trying for a long time to really understand the dynamics of a free EMR, both from a business perspective as well as provider point of view. I understand that almost all companies offering free EMR are web-based EMR software. Therefore the assumption is that they are in a much better position to offer cloud-based EMR where the costs and maintenance of deploying EMR is minimal.

What I don't understand is that EMR is not just a piece of technology or sofware, it is a change in how medical practices are run and managed. It is a paradigm shift. In order to provide the level of support, there must be tremendous amount of support and infrastructure investment. I don't know how the traditional business revenue model of advertising can work. Unless, of course, this advertisement model has an underlying data mining involved; of de-identified patient data.

This is the only way a company can hope to make any significant revenue.

From a Provider's perspective, I have come to the conclusion that free does not work. Where there is no commitment or skin in the game, the desired results just do not happen. Sure, there will be come trail blazing provider and younger provider that can find their own way, but not majority of providers out there.

So, I predict the free EMR model will not work.