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EHR market to face major disruption before year's end

The EHR industry could be at a turning point, as a new survey from Black Book Rankings indicates that many current users are unhappy with their systems and are considering swapping vendors. Where the industry goes from there is anyone’s guess, but it could have long-lasting implications for the EHR market.

According to the survey, 17% of practices are thinking about changing EHR vendors by the end of the year. Many said their current systems were not up to the increasing demands of stage 2 meaningful use. Others complained their current EHR was a poor match for their workflow, the practice did not adequately assess their needs prior to initial implementation and the practices’ vendors are unresponsive to needs.

This leaves many practices with a choice. Do they swap out their old clunker of an EHR system for the latest and greatest technology, or do they opt for something a little more tried and true?

At least for hospitals, there are plenty of options that fall into either category. Those looking to swap out older systems could always go with one of the major players like Epic, Cerner or McKesson and likely have few regrets. But hospitals can also go with upstart innovators who are just breaking into the space, using the cloud and other emerging technology.

The next few months could provide a pretty good indication of whether the biggest and most powerful vendors will grab even tighter control of the market or whether there is any room left at the table for smaller innovators.

The meaningful use program and its billions of incentive dollars attracted many vendors to the EHR space and it became a crowded market. It was inevitable that a sizable portion of the players in that market would fall away. The industry may be starting to reach that point. It will be interesting to see who is left standing once the dust settles.

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