The Current Landscape of Ophthalmology EMR Vendors and How it Relates to Our Company.
The once crowded ophthalmic EMR market is currently experiencing a significant market consolidation. Vendors who were once “too big to fail” are experiencing a mass exodus of users, and vendors that thought they would climb their way to the top found themselves climbing a rungless ladder. With all the twists and turns this market consolidation has taken, how can an Ophthalmologist have any confidence in their EMR selection? While it’s certainly tough for a business outsider to digest what is happening, we saw it coming and will shed some light on what has happened, what will happen, and why EyeMD EMR Healthcare Systems will not be riding the roller coaster ride of market consolidation.
Some of the reasons for this consolidation include:
In a competitive Electronic Medical/Health Records (EMR/EHR) vendor environment, many Electronic Medical/Health Records (EMR/EHR) software vendors have opted to create Electronic Medical/Health Records (EMR/EHR) software that can be used for multiple medical specialties. The reason for this philosophy was simply that they desired to capture multiple markets, and did not want to be limited to a certain specialty. While this philosophy and business decision seemed practical & good for business, it limited the opportunity for the Electronic Medical/Health Records (EMR/EHR) software to streamline & enhance the software experience for the end user. Electronic Medical/Health Records (EMR/EHR) Software (designed to accommodate multiple medical specialties) are generally template-driven, and in some cases allow or even require the end-user to design the template. More time was spent by the developer(s) creating a software that was flexible than creating a software that enhanced efficiency, streamlined office procedures, and presented the collected data in a manner that enhanced the overall user experience & enhanced the quality of patient care. Many Ophthalmologists have resorted to staying after-hours inputting data into template-driven EMR’s as it is too inefficient to use in real time. Hundreds of hours of customizations often had to be re-done after a software update invalidated all their customizations. As a result of the inefficiencies and technical problems associated with template-driven EMRs, many Ophthalmologists have ripped their EMR/EHR out of their practice and either reverted back to paper or switched systems, leaving a bad taste of EMR in the mouths of hundreds of hopeful practices. The reputation set by these vendors was so poor, many vendors either stopped investing in ophthalmic improvements, significantly reduced their sales efforts in the space, or have exited the space completely. EyeMD EMR was designed specifically for Ophthalmology, and we have and will maintain an excellent reputation. We can not, and will not ever leave the Ophthalmology market.
The Meaningful Use program radically accelerated EMR adoption. Although there were several ophthalmic systems that have been around for decades, most of them could only be used by extremely tech-savvy ophthalmologists. When the MU program showed up, Ophthalmologists from every walk of life had to implement systems that were, with a couple exceptions, extremely difficult to use. In the rush to get something in place to meet meaningful use, many Ophthalmologists – who were incapable of differentiating between good and bad EMR systems – made poor EMR decisions. Now faced with hundreds of new users who were unwilling to adapt to difficult ways of doing things, EMR vendors faced a landslide of bug reports, feature requests, and government regulations that constantly changed. Many EMR vendors who previously had plenty of time to change things, buckled under the weight of all the development that had to be done in such a short period of time. Vendors with poorly designed systems were distracted putting out fires on a burning, sinking ship. Vendors with good designs outpaced them and focused their efforts on meeting government regulations and improving the usability of their system. EyeMD EMR’s design allowed us to focus our efforts on meeting government requirements and continually improving our system. As a result, we are outpacing our competitors (especially with the upcoming release of our new version).
Many hopeful EHR vendors took in serious investor dollars in order to develop, market, and grow their business. Unfortunately for them, they encountered an extremely competitive market and underperformed. Certain web-based vendors, which completely relied on investors for capital as their business model was designed around recurring fees rather than upfront purchases, underperformed expectations and left investors with buyers remorse. As a result, investors grew wary of never seeing a return on investment and sold their shares to other hopeful investor groups, likely for less than they paid in. Others are still hanging in there hoping things will turn around soon. We expect more investor funded vendors (some of which may surprise you again) to cash out or fold in the years ahead. EyeMD EMR is privately owned, profitable, and 100% debt-free. We have no investors, have never taken any investment funding or loans, and we’ve grown our business right from our cash earnings. We’ve grown so fast and so well, we ranked nationally as one of America’s fastest-growing private companies by Inc. Magazine for three consecutive years!
Investor Groups, taking advantage of an opportunity to buy several companies for pennies on the dollar, barnstormed into the space and bought off many struggling vendors. Owners who wondered if they would turn the downward trend around were now given an opportunity to retire or start another business. Although we cannot be certain as to why investor groups would buy a bunch of downward trending vendors without an obvious surviving entity, we can assume at a minimum, they desired to artificially expand their user base to directly offer additional products and services to them. A more likely rationale is that they intend to consolidate them into a single product with a large user base to appeal to other investors and/or shareholders. Either way, it’s a game of buy and sell, and Ophthalmologists caught in that game will ultimately pay the heaviest price being traded as a commodity rather than being served as a valued client.
EyeMD EMR is an exceptionally designed EMR product. We have over 1,800 happy ophthalmologists actively using our system, and we continue to grow. We are profitable & debt-free, and our earning potential has not even been scratched. Our product gets better with every passing moment, and we will soon be entering new international markets and expanding our products and services to diversify further. Our staff is exceptional and we know how to keep our staff. Our leadership is exceptional, and our relatively young CEO has no plans of retiring or starting a new business anytime soon. But most importantly, our core values demand that we not do business as usual. One of our core values is to put the Ophthalmologist and their staff first. We consider individuals or organizations who are solely motivated by earnings & profits to be a conflict of interest. Our CEO retains 100% of all shares, and a business continuity plan is in place, to ensure we do everything in our power to not enter into any business arrangements that will jeopardize our core values and/or our user experience.