Common Sense Is Money for Health Record Vendors


Photographer: Rich Clement/Bloomberg

   Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) — 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.
     It isn’t rocket science but it could be enough to launch a vendor past competitors who aren’t adapting to clients’ changing needs and leaving them dissatisfied.
     My Bloomberg Government colleague Suzanne Levingston looked closely at the vendor market for electronic medical records and found such basics – obvious as they should be – play a big part in determining who succeeds.
     Levingston’s findings aren’t surprising, but are nevertheless telling and informative: vendors need to deliver usable and affordable products. There is often no substitute for a back-to-basics, customer-driven approach. Listen to the customer, give the customers what they need and when they need it, and give it to them at a competitive price.
     When vendors give doctors what they want and need, the evidence is building that the care delivered to patients — actual human beings — improves. Electronic records allow doctors to screen patients for diseases such as breast cancer and diabetes earlier, when illness can still be prevented or less invasive treatments are options. And despite misgivings, 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 familiar with and 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 are losing out to those that are more responsive to an evolving and changing market place.
     Darwin is alive and well in 2012.

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