Will Open EMR Survive?

When we started drchrono, we contemplated using open source software to build the company.

We thought about running instances of Open EMR for medical practice clients. The idea was great in concept, we would become the “Red Hat” like company to the EMR world. There were and still are other companies doing this and it looked like a viable option at the time.

Showing our first paying users Open EMR to see if it would fit their needs, the physicians looked at the software in a skeptical way saying it was missing critical components.

We reviewed everything Open EMR over and over, it has scheduling and it’s cloud based. Sounds good right? Well there is a lot that is missing. It doesn’t really cut it. To me it almost felt like a valiant effort to a failed operating system Kernel.

I thought about it and asked myself, why isn’t Open EMR up to par with where it should be? The passion wasn’t persistent over time with the people working on it. The love that was needed to build and maintain something of that magnitude wasn’t there, it looks like the developers gave up.
Yes it is there and yes it “works”, but it is more of a starting point. It needed and needs massive amounts of work.

Take a look at how old Open EMR feels –


So we looked for other solutions and there simply wasn’t a good open source EMR with a good vibrant developer and support community around it. We thought about it, we could invest our time submitting updates to Open EMR, that was an option, but we didn’t like the technology and the lack of love that was put into the project. It felt like we would be doing the heavy lifting if we invested into the project.

It was at this point we realized we needed to build our own EHR from scratch, from the ground up, it was a long term endeavor, but we committed to building the best EHR in the world. Year after year, improvement after improvement, we leap leapfrogged anything Open EMR could do. There is still a lot to do. ( I just want to thank the drchrono team for working so hard to get to were we are. )

We are meaningful use stage 1 certified and working on getting meaningful use stage 2 certified. We were voted the best Mobile EHR by Blackbook rankings who surveyed over 16 thousand physicians. We are pushing hard to be the best disruptor in the space.

Open EMR isn’t meaningful use certified, hasn’t won any awards that I have heard of. We made the right move building our own platform.

But now that we have built the best EHR, “the kernel to our operating system”, we are now focusing on having developers join the platform as we just released the drchrono healthcare API. There is so much the developer community can do to help us fix healthcare.

Coming full circle we are now allowing developers to build on the drchrono healthcare API. With 100’s of developers looking to join our vibrant community, we would love to see the open source community build on top of drchrono along with proprietary being developed.

So this is a challenge to every developer out there, build on the “new Open EMR”, our goal at drchrono is to supporting the “Kernel”, with developers building with us.


The answer is no, but will the community of developers who are building the software keep innovating on Open EMR? I would say no.