EHRs: Fla. tech company offers physicians free EHR advice

September 26, 2008

A former orthopedic surgeon has created a company dedicated to helping physicians navigate the choppy waters of purchasing the right electronic health records system - for free.

A former orthopedic surgeon has created a company dedicated to helping physicians navigate the choppy waters of purchasing the right electronic medical records (EMR) system – for free.

Eric Fishman, MD, says his company, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based EMRConsultant.com, has made recommendations to more than 7,500 practices about which EMR systems would best meet their specific needs.

“There are even in 2008 a substantial number of failed installations of EMR technology,” Fishman says. “Some of those could easily have been anticipated, because there was a basic (disconnect) between the needs of the practice and the technology.”

To take advantage of EMRConsultant’s service, physicians visit the company’s website to fill out an extensive questionnaire about their practices and what they’re looking for in an EMR. The survey contains about 300 questions, but Fishman says most practices don’t need to answer all, or even most, of the questions.

Those answers are then matched against EMRConsultant’s database of about 300 EMR systems. The companies behind those systems have already filled out their own lengthy surveys, which contain about 600 questions, about the capabilities and features of their EMR offerings. Fishman and his team then create a roster of EMRs that seem to match the practice’s needs and winnow it down to a list of three or four. Finally, they send that list, along with contact information for selected the EMR vendors, to the physician who submitted the initial survey responses.

How can Fishman afford to do it for free? For starters, he says he’s been “a successful orthopedic surgeon” for about 20 years and that’s given him the financial freedom to fund EMRConsultant. Second, he’s a distributor of a brand of voice recognition software, and EMRConsultant is a good source of leads, he says. Third, Fishman receives a “small” referral fee from some of the EMR sellers that he helps make sales.

Of 7,500 recommendations his company has produced, Fishman says “hundreds and hundreds” have led to sales. He says he typically doesn’t follow up with practices that EMRConsultant has made recommendations to.

“I’m intentionally not good at that because I consider that badgering people,” he says.