Why Your New EMR Needs Backward Compatibility

Is My Smartphone Too Old?

My personal smartphone is a few years old. It can still run the latest Android apps, but it’s not the same cutting-edge device that it once was. Like many users, it seems that each time I update my software, my phone runs a little slower.

One reason for this is that developers of both operating systems and apps are constantly revamping their products, usually optimizing them to run on the latest and best hardware. While this development style keeps their software ahead of the competition, it can often feel like the average user is being left behind. Thankfully, the inconvenience is minor when it only affects a personal smartphone.

But what happens when upgrade pressures affect the hundreds of devices that you need to run your EMR? 

Are EMR Developers Leaving You Behind?

New technology is accelerating rapidly, and healthcare systems are no exception. From mobile EMRs to robotic telemedicine, health IT innovations can improve patient outcomes while streamlining clinical workflows. Yet healthcare organizations are often slow to implement new technology—and for good reason. Many clinics are cautious about changes because of past experiences with failed health IT implementations.  But patients deserve the best care possible, and this often requires modernized systems.

Like most large organizations, healthcare providers need to coordinate multiple systems for diverse user groups. To achieve economies of scale, clinics often implement a standard set of hardware. But when EMR developers don’t make new software fully compatible with older systems, this can create issues that outweigh cost savings and even potential care benefits.


When your hospital EHR vendor releases new updates, they might be focused on attracting new clients, rather than optimizing to run on the hardware you already have in place. Likewise, it can be difficult to implement cloud-based EMRs that run smoothly on older versions of desktop browsers while also supporting the new mobile devices your team wants the option to use.

The best EMR developers know that new health IT software should advance rapidly to improve care, increase efficiency and leverage mobile platforms—but not at the cost of abandoning older hardware.

Moving Forward with Backward Compatible EMRs

Backward compatible development ensures that older systems are still able to run newer software.  When health IT developers focus on lean, interoperable EMRs, care teams are able to coordinate across disciplines while using diverse sets of hardware.

Backward compatible EMRs are also critical for clinics that are implementing BYOD policies, and need their healthcare software to run on existing equipment while also supporting clinicians who want the option to use mobile devices like iPads and Android tablets.

Whatever the size of your team, it’s important to partner with health IT experts that understand your unique requirements and limitations.