Ten Reasons Why (Some) Physicians Aren’t Rushing to Adopt EMRs

  1. Everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop on Medicare payments.
  2. Private practices may not have the in-house expertise to implement an EMR and may not be able to afford a consultant (although some states are receiving grants to help practices – check your state’s grant here.)
  3. There is a lot of confusion on the parts of Meaningful Use that have been clarified and of course, on those that haven’t.
  4. Administrators are distracted by RAC, PECOS, HIPAA , PQRI, eRx and RCM.
  5. Some practices have spent years avoiding Medicare and Medicaid patients and now don’t have the patient numbers to participate.
  6. Everyone and their uncle is selling an EMR – who can tell the long-timers who are about to be bought from the short-timers who might last forever?
  7. Physicians are worried about the drop in production that (some say) happens when a practice launches an EMR.
  8. There seems to be as many horror stories as there are success stories with EMRs.
  9. Practices that are affiliated with a hospital are nervous about tying themselves to the hospital in such a serious way as hopping on their EMR package.
  10. Because two practices can have absolutely opposite experiences with the same EMR, no one can find consistent recommendations for any single product. (It’s not the product, it’s the implementation!)
  11. Bonus Reason: lots of people are confused about how to qualify for the ARRA money (read my post about this here.)

Posted in: Electronic Medical Records

Leave a Comment (3) ↓


  1. Brandon April 4, 2010

    Doc’s often get a bad rap for the poor EMR adoption rate, but I don’t think it is entirely their fault, but rather it is the fault of the EMR vendors.

    Here is why:

    1) Most EMR systems are too expensive. Imagine if a small business had to pay upwards of $6000 for every license of Microsoft Office… how many business would install MS Office?

    2) No dominant player. As you pointed it out, too many people are selling EMR’s. Consequently, there hasn’t been a strong dominant player that sets the standard, so deciding on one is even more difficult. Imagine a design firm having to decide on 100 different versions of products similar to Photoshop?

    3) Buying an EMR locks a practice in. Once a practice decides on a system, they are locked in due to the large investment. If the practice doesn’t like the system, if support stinks, if upgrades are few and far between, there is nothing one can do about it.

    4) No interoperability. Our EMR, despite being touted with all this HL7 (open standards) stuff, doesn’t speak (computer language that is) with any other EMR’s. Thus, the efficiencies one would gain from being able to retrieve data from the multiple hospital’s my doc’s have privileges in, or other health care facilities is non-existent. It is like having one of those 3 and 1 machines (Fax, copier, scanner), where the fax doesn’t really work because it can’t send or receive messages to any other fax on the planet.

    5) Productivity claim is misleading. EMR vendors love to sell the notion to doctors that with their EMR, they can see more patients and spend more time with their families. This is a little misleading in my mind. The fact is a doc can complete a paper chart, with their chicken scratch, faster then they can clicking and typing thru an EMR program. I do believe productivity in a medical practice is enhanced with an EMR, but most often than not, EMR vendors do a poor job in setting proper expectation for fear they will lose the sale.

    Boy, this is is practically a full post for me. It wasn’t my intention, but it turned out that way. I just had a lot to say about the subject I guess.

    Good stuff, as always.


    • Mary Pat Whaley April 5, 2010

      Hi Brandon,

      Those are excellent additions to the list. Feel free to republish the two lists as a post to your site as I feel we collaborated!

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat