A milestone in electronic health record adoption: free, web-based Practice Fusion now is the largest commercial EHR

Yesterday, the folks at Practice Fusion announced they had passed an impressive milestone. There are now 5 million patients, or 2% of the US population, that are being served by physicians using this rapidly expanding EHR.

Just three years after our free, web-based EMR’s official launch, we now serve 50,000 medical professionals and 5 million patients. Practice Fusion’s growth has accelerated so that we add more than half a million patients to the system each month. We now serve almost 2 percent of the US population, making us the third largest EHR community behind the VA and Kaiser.

We had previously reported on an alliance between Dell and Practice Fusion to offer hardware bundles to physicians adopting Practice Fusion. While this milestone does not immediately impact mobile medical apps, the growing Practice Fusion community will surely be looking for ways to access their patients’ records on the go. In October, Practice Fusion launched their “API Challenge”, to open up the data in Practice Fusion to other devices and software applications. The publishing of this API will launch a new phase in the company’s explosive growth and undoubtedly mobile solutions will be among the first crop to be launched. We are excited to see what comes next.


Felasfa Wodajo, MD

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20 Responses to A milestone in electronic health record adoption: free, web-based Practice Fusion now is the largest commercial EHR

  1. Chris December 1, 2010 at 9:20 am #

    Why are you talking about a system that is written in flash and does not lend itself to mobile applications, cannot render on an iPad?

    • Felasfa Wodajo December 1, 2010 at 10:25 am #

      good question
      two reasons:

      1. With Apple’s recent relaxation of the prohibition against developing cross-compiled applications, the Flash interface for Practice Fusion could conceivably be deployed on the iPad nearly as-is

      2. More important, if the published API is rich enough, a totally native interface for Practice Fusion could be written for the iPad which would immediately have a huge head start on other mobile EHRs given the large installed base.

    • Iltifat Husain December 1, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

      There are other mobile devices that are more than willing to run flash based content – e.g. Blackberry Playbook:


      Not all mobile manufacturers are going to ignore Flash like Apple has.

      • Erik December 15, 2010 at 8:52 am #

        The problem with all the other affordable tablets on the market right now is that they don’t have the screen resolution to support Practice Fusion. PF requires 1024×768 and doesn’t work on anything less. This puts many netbooks out of contention as well since their screen size is usually 1024×600. This is a fault of the PF design and means that the only full blown windows tablets running into the thousands of dollars will work. The iPad would be a great platform, I know my practice would really like to use them in the exam room, but until PF moves away from flash or develops an app that won’t be possible.

        • Felasfa Wodajo December 15, 2010 at 9:17 am #

          stay tuned, your hopes (at least some of them) may be answered in 2011

  2. Sean December 1, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    Why wouldn’t Practice Fusion work on a mobile device? Which ones?

    • Felasfa Wodajo December 1, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

      The interface for Practice Fusion relies on Flash which is problematic for many tablets (although not necessarily all)

  3. Chris December 1, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    Concievably is not compelling for physicians today. It would take a wholesale re architecture of the Practice Fusion flash base. There are other free certified EMR systems (23 modules vs PF 15) available today that do render on an iPad today as well as other tablet devices today.

    • Iltifat Husain December 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm #

      Practice Fusion has already told us they are working on an iPhone and iPad solution. The fact that they are killing the competition is why it’s compelling now. Whats even more compelling is they have been able to do this w/o a dedicated mobile solution whereas others do have mobile.

      Also, the iPad, made for consumers and not enterprise use, isn’t the only mobile tablet in the space. As mentioned in above comments, Blackberry will provide more than ample competition and significant more functionality.

  4. Cmelillo December 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    It also illustrates how the physician marketplace is moving toward digitization and hopefully, the holy grail of true digital collaboration amoungst physician to physician, labs, clinics etc etc. For instance, Mitochon Systems http://www.mitochonsystems.com is a free, web based HIE/EHR/PHR that started with its design point in developing its solution with health information exchange (HIE) first, then integrated in EHR and PHR. HIE is really the most important benefit by allowing collaboration of a virtual medical community, not just digital records, which promotes better outcomes and quality of information.

  5. Christian December 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    Big is not always better. Just sayin’

    • Iltifat Husain December 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm #

      This is true – but big usually does mean pretty good.

  6. Sean December 1, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

    Big is big. PF is good, but they have left a lot of room for improvement. Athena (http://www.athenahealth.com/) has a solid solution as does Mitochon. We demoed both in the office and have yet to make a decision (http://mitochonsystems.com/). Right now we are using Allscripts.

    • Felasfa Wodajo December 1, 2010 at 5:34 pm #

      We would love to hear more about your experience. Would you consider writing a guest post ?

    • Chris December 1, 2010 at 5:34 pm #

      Big is great! Killing the competition? Maybe sounds like My Space remember them, Facebook second into the market with a superior stratgey and product obliterated them, you may recall they gave up last week announcing they were becoming a content company not a social network, over driven hype in the digital space bursts as quickly as it inflates. EMR is a commodity function now that we have meaningful use criteria to build to, the key is the secure exchange of data between physicians and pstients in local networks, if you just digitize the paper in an office without having the ability to exchange it there is no value at all. The value lies in addressing the improvement of outcomes and cost reduction by reducing utilization and errors. Physicians need to be able to collaborate easily and co ordinate care, there are free certified systems that can do that today and on the iPad.

  7. Jim December 1, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

    ” Largest Commercial EHR” Sounds like mine is bigger than yours! Size isn”t everything. Look to the future and suatinability. Look at the overall capabilities of the systems and how the patient can benefit.
    Yes, THE PATIENT. Take a look at the system that has 23 modules certified against the 15 from PF. With more to follow. That is the system of the future that puts THE PATIENT first!

  8. Emily Peters December 2, 2010 at 8:43 am #

    Thanks for the shout-out Dr. Wodajo! Were so excited about our community growth this year. There’s tremendous strength in those numbers. Happy to answer any questions you may have about what is coming next for Practice Fusion!

    Emily Peters

  9. Iraklii Buziashvili February 6, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    I wonder if any progress with Practice Fusion for iPad has been made in the last 2 months. Thanks

    • Felasfa Wodajo February 7, 2011 at 2:06 am #

      I believe their strategy is to offer a mobile web browser optimized version of the site so it should work not just with the iPad but with any mobile device.They said the first part of 2011. That’s a generous window.

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