The Threat

The last five years have been a shakeup for everyone in the healthcare industry as new technology has started to change decades-old practices. But this is only the beginning. Like many heavily regulated industries, complexity has created siloed ecosystems, ripe for disruptive business models.

Ask any medical professional what they think about their EHR/EMR system, and the tenor of their responses will be almost identical. Regardless of the system, their response will be anything but positive.

The risk facing large linear EMR/EHR SaaS companies is a startup or large platform competitor like Google building a non-siloed product that allows easy customization paired with a quality and intuitive user interface.

The belief that continuing “business as usual” will prevail is a recipe for failure. One of the biggest results of Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, is the increased size of health/hospital systems as a way to control costs.

In this cost-cutting healthcare environment, expecting that health/hospital systems will spend tens of millions of dollars on software that their employees hate is not a winning strategy.

The Opportunity

Owning 50% plus of all health data while allowing third-party software developers to build software for the consumer, who can easily and cost-effectively customize their user experience. This is similar to what Salesforce has done with its development platform on top of its workplace productivity SaaS solutions.

The Endpoint

The companies who don’t create one of the two dominant EHR/EMR development platforms will be reduced to making software add-ons as a third-party developer.

The perfect example of this is Microsoft. It failed to build a sizable network of third-party developers on mobile, while also providing a poor quality user experience. The result is close to 0% market share on smartphones. The one-time king of computing now builds apps for the Play Store and App Store as a last-ditch effort to stay relevant.

There are small features that EPIC, GE Health, and others will do better than the competitors, but the question a chief innovation office at an EHR/EMR company should ask themselves is not which features they need to add. Instead, they should ask “Can we build a development platform that enables third parties to help us create our competitive advantage?”

If a hospital needs a new feature on their EMR system the answer shouldn’t be that the provider has to build specific new functionality for that installation. Instead, as with smartphones, the answer should be, “there’s an app for that.”

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