The EHR market is ripe for major disruption

  • Current EHR’s are not user friendly and often despised by HCP’s.
  • Patients feel that EHR’s belong to them and want to be able to share their health records easily with other doctors.
  • The real potential is for user friendly EHR’s that offer patients and physicians a great online experience.
  • The opportunity to engage patients based on their EHR’s is enormous, but it requires a shift from “selling” to “educating & informing”.

I have been an Apple developer and consider myself an advanced user of all things electronic but some of the EHR sites that I go to are about as user friendly as coding an app.

One key finding of countless hours of research is that patients feel their EHR’s belong to them.  They want to be able to access the records on any device and more importantly, they want HCP’s to be able to access their EHR’s as they visit different doctors.  This is even more important when you consider that 35% don’t have a regular PCP.

Apple has started to make inroads in the EHR category, but adoption from doctors is very slow.  This author, however, believes that Apple or Microsoft will soon be taking a deep dive into EHR’s because the market is wide open and only they can provide a great online experience.

As they expand their EHR offerings the opportunities to talk directly to patients is going to be huge, but it’s going to require a new approach to marketing.

So how could this work?

First pharma companies would not have access to patient EHR’s they would just know that X number of people have high cholesterol or high blood pressure.  They could then work with the EHR provider to deliver personally relevant messages to patients based on their EHR test results or profile.

For example…a patient gets a blood work-up and their cholesterol is noted as high.  That patient would then be offered information on the dangers of high cholesterol as well as treatment options that could include a “trial” coupon.

Will it work?  We tested some possible prototypes and the short answer was yes with some caveats.  First, interrupting users with ads did not test well and second users want to know if the a certain drug is covered by their current insurance.  Where these concepts really tested well, however, was educational information that was short, easy to understand and clearly showed the benefit of a certain product over others.

When we talked to PCP’s about this concept they were excited, especially, for example, if they could send a patient information on conditions like high blood pressure or obesity.  “I don’t have time to communicate with all my patients via email, but being able to send my patients relevant information on their health would be great”.

Make no mistake, it’s going to happen and it’s coming.  But pharma marketers need to stop acting like salesmen and start acting like they want to help people sort through the online world of too much health information.