By Matt Barry
Vendors of electronic medical records systems focus on the basics: a user-friendly product that meets customer needs at a competitive price. The successful vendors achieve it.
That’s not rocket science but may be enough to set a vendor apart from competitors who are leaving clients dissatisfied by not adapting to their changing needs.
My Bloomberg Government colleague Suzanne Levingston examined the vendor market for electronic medical records and found that things that should be obvious play a big part in determining who succeeds.
Levingston’s seemingly predictable findings are nevertheless telling and informative: vendors need to deliver usable and affordable products. The back-to-basics, customer-driven approach has no substitute. Give the customers what they need and when they need it, and give it to them at a competitive price.
The evidence is building that the care delivered to patients — actual human beings — improves when vendors give doctors what they need and want. Electronic records allow doctors to screen patients for breast cancer, diabetes and other diseases earlier, when illness can still be prevented or less invasive treatments are options. A generation of doctors that has grown up with iPads, cell phones and the internet believe that electronic medical records will improve the quality of care.
Vendors most responsive to their customers’ unique needs are gaining a larger share of the market, especially among second-time buyers. Having been disappointed once, those buyers are wary the second or third time around. Companies that haven’t been doing a good job aren’t competing against those that are more responsive to an evolving and changing market place.
Matt Barry is the Bloomberg Government health analyst team leader, with a focus on Medicare, Medicaid, public health and prevention issues. Barry has more than 20 years of health policy experience in the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, non-profits, private consulting and public affairs firms. He has worked on payment and access issues under Medicare and Medicaid, tobacco control policy, rural health care, and childhood immunization policy.