So, I’ve been following the EHR industry for a couple decades, and have been very intimately involved for 7 of them.  In 2004 I started the process of cataloging all of the then commercially viable EMRs.  Yes, you’ll recall that they were called EMRs, or Electronic Medical Records back at that time.

Then, along comes the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA, and with it the tens of billions of dollars of Stimulus Funds (yes – I’m pretty good at math, but every time I see an official dollar value it is different, but why don’t we call it $29,000,000,000 for now) and the rather rapid consolidation in the industry and with that the corresponding diminished number of products from which to choose, comes to a screeching halt.

As of today there are 625 products listed in the ONC-ATCB database, including 405 which are listed as complete.  That is an incredible increase in just the last few weeks, let alone since the ONC-ATCB system was enacted.

Needless to say, more than a couple of these newly minted EHRs will struggle along, gaining little traction, and ruining medical practices along the way as they adopt new technology at a tremendous cost in cash and effort, only to lost the ability to continue with that software program.

Will these technological orphans be able to course correct in real time, importing their existing data into a more substantial program over a weekend?  Well, I’m inclined to think no, but only time will tell how much of a debacle that will be.

So, some gentle advice:  Be sure that no matter which EHR you utilize, that you have an appropriate exit strategy, which should include an exported set of records which can easily be imported into the successor program of your choice.

I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts on this subject, as well as your experiences migrating from one system to another.