Is your specialty EHR looking to reach physician practices? Here are some marketing recommendations to help your solution stand out.
In a consolidating industry, specialty EHRs are a promising market trend.
Just look at one headline from last year: Specialty EHR Vendor Modernizing Medicine Raises $231 million
“I have worked with many niche specialty based EHRs. My observation is that a specific EHR really does make their niche users happier than the generalist. It’s not just a perception. If I am oncologist I generally prefer to use an oncology specific system rather than a general system and so on.”
Oncology is one specialty that has attracted several specialty-specific EHRs including Varian, Elekta, and Flatiron. Given the complexity and data-intensive requirements of an oncology practice, modified generalist EHR solutions may not satisfy the needs of its doctors and their patients.
And in looking at EHR innovation related to pediatric care, EHRintelligence.com’ Kate Monica reported, “While health IT innovations have expanded the breadth of EHR functionality to address an array of industry demands, they remain limited in specialty care settings.”
Even with the market opportunities, our industry is getting more competitive. Organizations are expecting vendors to address the workflow and productivity limitations of first wave, multi-use EHR systems.
To stand out from other niche players and larger, more established vendors, specialty EHRs need good marketing content. And successful content begins with how you position your value proposition. So let’s look at positioning that addresses some key technical and business concerns of your end users.
Marketing for Success
See More (Video): What a Radiation Oncologist Wants from Specialty EHRs
Documentation Forms and Templates –
HIT End User Need: “Chemo is complicated. It’s a rhythmic event that must be carefully scheduled and coordinated with nurses and staff; you can’t do it on an Excel spreadsheet.” (Harland Love Director, Clinical Applications at Texas Oncology)
Specialty EHR Marketing and Positioning: Serving specialists or subspecialists, show how your solution addresses very specific workflows and quality measurement requirements.
Demonstrate how you handle documentation forms and templates (medical charting, patient intake, flowcharts and lab orders, etc.), how they’re configured and how easily they can be customized to accommodate their clinical processes and data collection needs.
Content and Clinical Data –
HIT End User Perspective: “What keeps me at night? Keeping track of information on a server that needs to be upgraded…If information sitting on an affiliate’s server becomes out-of-date or is no longer supported, what do you do if the brain trust who managed it in the past is no longer with the organization and knows how to log in?” (Harland Love)
Specialty EHR Marketing and Positioning: Show how your knowledge base and decision support capabilities (best practices/guidelines, reference information, clinical protocols, alerts, etc.) can handle the data and content requirements of their specialty or subspecialty.
Highlight how you can support their data governance efforts. Walk your customer through how your system can be upgraded with legacy systems. Discuss how it will evolve with the changes that come with value-based care, including predictive analytics, increased data interpretation, data visualization, and population health.
HIT End User Perspective: “What I would look from vendors is a willingness to work with other vendors and have experience building interfaces with them. Interoperability is an overused term, but it’s important.” (Harland Love)
Specialty EHR Marketing and Positioning: Demonstrate how well you can integrate with referring practices, health information exchanges, acute care facilities and inpatient facilities. Highlight how seamlessly it interfaces with their current technology and how it connects disparate systems.
Reputation and Financial Health –
HIT End User Perspective: “My problem is there are so many choices and so many big guys out there. My inbox is filled with people trying to get me to look at one thing or another. I don’t have time to sort through the tons of vendors.
“It often comes down to word of mouth. My physicians are involved in their community and have strong opinions. My job is to take in what they tell me, evaluate and provide feedback of why something may or may not be a fit for a larger company.” (Harland Love)
“Use Your Size to Your Advantage”
Specialty EHR Marketing and Positioning (Reputation): Use your size and specialty to your advantage. Stress the background and reputation of your leadership and the experience of the staff. End users want to understand your level of commitment. Address what prompted your founders to form the company.
Communicate your firm’s passion and understanding for your specialty and subspecialty. Demonstrate your leadership’s commitment to making continual upgrades, staying abreast of future technology trends and working with physicians and staff on installation and ongoing maintenance of their system.
Specialty EHR Marketing and Positioning (Financial Health): As a niche or newer specialty provider, it’s critical to make the case that you’re large enough to meet their needs. Substantiate how you have resources for product enhancements in an evolving industry. Highlight how recently you’ve made improvements.
It’s also very important to address your long-term commitment as an independent company. Given the growing consolidation within the EHR market, physicians and administrators are wary of whether you’re a takeover target.
Specialty EHR Marketing and Positioning (Value): Added specialization and complexity are what separate you from general EHR providers. Physician practices have limited resources. In justifying added costs, demonstrate the improvements in workflow, increased productivity and better patient outcomes.
Be candid about what kinds of practices aren’t right for your solution.
Finally as Devin at Redox said, “There are plenty of generalists out there; focus on a particular specialty and define what you do really well in a targeted way. It helps you focus on whom you should be talking to and allows you to get to market faster.