Edward G. Anderson
By VINCE KURAITIS, EDWARD G. ANDERSON, and GEOFFREY PARKER
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated calls for the development of EHR 2.0 (electronic health record 2.0) – the next generation of EHRs with extended platform features and capabilities.
Who will answer this call? While existing EHR vendors have made modest efforts, the door is open for big tech companies and start-ups to develop functionality to envelop and disintermediate current EHRs. We highlight early efforts by Google Health Care Studio, an initiative that has been underway for several years but was only formally named in February 2021. We view Care Studio as having the potential to bring platform functionality to a sector of the healthcare industry known for resistance to change and innovation.
We coin a new term – “EHR Envelopment” to describe novel EHR platform capabilities under development by third parties. By “envelopment,” we mean the entry by one platform provider into another provider’s market by adding functionality and exploiting overlapping user bases. New EHR capabilities threaten to dislodge existing EHRs, e.g. through 1) new user interfaces (UIs) that sit above the current EHR, and/or 2) a focus on new value created by integrating, analyzing, and presenting disparate sources of data.
Through the lens of platform strategy, we focus on the impact that EHR Envelopment initiatives could have on the market for electronic health records for large integrated delivery systems. This market has been dominated by a few vendors for decades, but EHR Envelopment projects have the potential to disrupt EHR market dynamics.
The remaining sections of this essay will address:
The Current EHR Market for Health Systems: OssifiedGoogle’s “Care Studio” — What is It?Disrupting and Platformizing the EHR MarketChallenges for Google Health
The Current Market for Health System EHRs: Ossified
The U.S. hospital EHR market has been highly concentrated; in 2020 two firms were