More EHR buyers looking to replace existing systems

More physicians shopping for an electronic health record system are looking to switch from their existing system rather than buying one for the first time, according to a new report from Software Advice.

A randomized survey of 385 physicians, many from smaller practices, found that the number of buyers replacing their existing EHR software has increased 59 percent since 2014, and that dissatisfaction with their current system was the top driver for being in the market, with almost one-fourth (24 percent) of respondents citing this as the reason. For example, some physicians discovered only after purchasing their first EHR that it did not fit with their practice's workflow.

Billing was the top requested application for the highest number of EHR buyers (45 percent) followed by claims support, possibly due to the impending transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes in October.

The top EHR functions requested by buyers were patient tracking, customizable templates, regulatory compliance and electronic prescribing.

"Clinicians who outgrow [or grow tired of] their current systems have a clearer understanding of their needs, challenges and pain points," report author Gaby Loria said in a statement. "Experienced buyers already know what an EHR is capable of doing--now they want to know how a specific system can take their care quality to the next level. This presents an opportunity for vendors to really show off all the specific features that set them apart from competing solutions."

Forty-four percent of EHR buyers reported using a commercial EHR, and 16 percent reported using a combination of paper and an EHR. Twenty-one percent said they were using paper and manual record keeping methods. Only 1 percent of buyers reported using a proprietary EHR.

Functionality and usability EHR issues continue to hinder physicians, who have been stymied in their ability to find products that meet their needs. Many physicians are still not happy with the systems. While EHR implementation has increased since creation of the Meaningful Use program in 2009, adoption appears to be stabilizing.

To learn more:
- access the study