In spite of the best efforts of all involved, the industry is still struggling with challenges of ease of use, decreased clinician productivity, and unrealized clinical and financial benefits.
Before provider organizations became consumed with the implementation of EMRs a few years ago, their main exposure to information technology was the tools they used to manage their back-office systems. These typical enterprise resource planning (ERP) suites included financial systems, human capital management (such as human resources) and supply chain management.
Initially developed in the 1990s for other industries and deployed extensively in healthcare in the decade to follow, these systems facilitated the efficient functioning of provider organizations with little if any direct impact on patient care. That responsibility fell to the EMR systems that followed soon afterwards.
The rapid deployment of EMR systems into provider organizations created problems for ERP vendors. One problem was that EMRs slowed down the purchase of ERP suites during the period of EMR deployment, as these organizations focused on and budgeted for clinical systems.
In addition, a few EMR vendors reset expectations among organizations on how large IT systems get implemented and supported.
Of the major EMR vendors who helped force this reset, close examination shows that Epic led the movement toward higher levels of product support, maintenance, incremental advancement of functionality, and dissemination of best practices, with other EMR vendors contributing in their own unique ways.