John Halamka: Why HIT vendors are stuck in a Catch-22

Office chairs around a table

Consolidation of both healthcare providers and technology vendors will play a major role in shaping the near future for the health IT industry, according to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka.

In a recent post to his Life as a Healthcare CIO blog, Halamka writes that in conversations with stakeholders, many foresee a "shrinking" market for software currently geared toward midsize hospitals and small group practices fueled by mergers and acquisitions of those provider organizations.

"Many smaller EHR companies will fold due to declining market share and some established incumbents with older technologies are likely to sell their healthcare IT businesses or reduce their scope," he says.

Additionally, vendors appear to be stuck in a Catch-22 when it comes to balancing innovation and regulatory responsibilities, Halamka notes. He says developer resources have been "co-opted by regulatory demands," meaning innovation falls by the wayside, despite the fact that innovation drives market demand.

"Thus, vendors may see a reduction in new sales, which will diminish their ability to hire new staff to meet regulatory demands, putting them even further behind," Halamka says. "It reminds me of a classic unstable system--beer pong. The more you miss, the more you drink, the more you miss."

To that end, several innovation challenges loom, he says, including the development of both a patient identifier and a provider directory, and creation of better mobile tools to drive patient and caregiver engagement.

To learn more:
- read Halamka's full post