Some Doctors Find Switch To Electronic Medical Records Painful

John Murawski | News & Observer | November 3, 2012

Phil Talbert took the plunge and bought an electronic medical record system for his small medical practice in Shelby in 2010, assuming the pricey computer program would last years, perhaps a career. Then a month ago, just as Talbert was getting comfortable using the system and appreciating its potential, the physicians assistant got a jolt: The service, called MyWay, was being discontinued. The technology, which doesn’t work on smartphones and tablets, is already obsolete.

MyWay, in use by more than 4,000 doctors nationwide, had cost up to $30,000 per doctor to install, or about $600 a month per physician as a subscription service. “We bought what we bought thinking it was a stable company and it was their newest package,” Talbert said. “You spend all this time transitioning to a program, and they come back and say, ‘Sorry guys, we’re not going to do this after Jan. 1.’ ”

The scenario is playing out throughout the state and the nation at a critical time when electronic medical records are no longer optional for doctors and their patients. The service cancellation by Chicago-based Allscripts, which employs 1,200 people in Raleigh, is believed to be the first instance of a major vendor of electronic medical records pulling the plug on an electronic medical records system. In an industry crowded with hundreds of such vendors offering more than 1,000 electronic medical records programs, Talbert’s situation is expected to repeat itself across the country as bigger companies gobble up smaller ones and software programs become redundant and obsolete...