GE purchased MedPlexus in 2010 in order to provide a cloud-based EHR targeted at small practices. Now, less than two years later, GE has announced that it will no longer support Centricity Advance after June 30, 2012. Multiple postings on the web describe this change. Here’s the story from InformationWeek Healthcare. This decision was made, according to the report, in order for GE to focus on a single EMR/PM platform — presumably Centricity Practice Solution. GE is offering to help migrate data to Centricity Practice Solutions or a competing product. HISTalk seems to have gotten some additional details (including a picture of the announcement from GE’s Mike Friguletto, VP and General Manager of Clinical Business Solutions). According to HISTalk, GE Healthcare announced that:
• Customers can retrieve their data in read-only form until December 31, 2012.
• Customers will be offered an upgrade to the Centricity Practice Solution PM/EMR, with data migration, training, and implementation costs covered by GE.
While some practices might find this offer attractive, one physician sent an email to the American College of Physicians with a distinctly different viewpoint:
“In the ultimate bait and switch move they offered to transition us to the much more expensive and very different Centricity Product Solutions.”
When originally launched, InformationWeek Healthcare posted an article that described the rationale for introducing a:
“…hosted system that can be implemented quickly so that doctors can prepare for the meaningful use of health IT financial incentives.”
This product was targeted at small ambulatory care offices by highlighting the convenience of having a cloud-based product without the need for expensive hardware upgrades and software maintenance. The Software as a Service (SaaS) concept is often appealing to small primary care offices because they operate on narrow margins and can handle the monthly SaaS fees easier than an investment in licensed solutions. Incentives for Meaningful Use and e-prescribing can help — but they don’t cover all of the incurred expenses and cost of lost productivity during EHR implementation.
Is it reasonable to expect small offices to invest time/effort and money to purchase/implement EHRs only to have them do it all over again within 1-2 years as products are bought/sold/consolidated/discontinued? How should practices guard against this possibility? Is there anything they can do to protect themselves against this possibility? Typical guidance includes the need to review not only EHR products but also the company and its commitment to each product. In this case, who would have thought that GE would abandon its web-based EHR in less than two years?
This post is the personal opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the American College of Physicians (ACP). ACP does not endorse a specific EHR brand or product and ACP makes no representations, warranties, or assurances as to the accuracy or completeness of the information provided herein.