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Providers Focus on EHR Optimization to Boost Interoperability

To improve cross-solution interoperability, providers are looking for EHR optimization in areas like telehealth, which remains a critical strategic priority.

Many providers are planning health IT investments focused on EHR optimization to boost interoperability and productivity, according to the 2022 Healthcare Provider IT Report from Bain & Company and KLAS Research.

Regardless of size or sophistication, provider organizations are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic and taking inventory of their software solutions.  

In the short term, clinician shortages and wage inflation are increasing the demand for health IT that improves productivity and mitigates labor needs.

“Against this backdrop, vendors face growing competition from large EHR incumbents pursuing product adjacencies, big tech, and innovative venture capital–funded start-ups,” the authors wrote.

“In the current environment, it is critical that vendors understand the investment posture of their customers, properly segment them based on their needs and behaviors, and refine go-to-market (GTM) models by articulating their differentiated value proposition in a crowded field,” they added.

Providers cite a lack of cross-solution interoperability and poor EHR integration with existing tech stacks as some of the top pain points with their current tech stacks.

“While the 21st Century Cures Act offers some promise for beginning to address these issues, material change has not yet occurred, and many providers remain skeptical about whether this regulation will bring about a real shift,” the report authors said.

Providers are responding to interoperability challenges in various ways.

Around 72 percent of providers plan to look to existing vendors with proven solutions before considering offerings from new vendors.

While provider tech stacks have become more sophisticated, EHRs remain the single most critical software solution for most providers.

About 71 percent of providers plan to look to their EHR vendors for new solutions before looking to other companies.

For instance, the research shows that many providers are taking a second look at new or enhanced offerings from their EHRs in areas like telehealth, which remains a critical strategic priority for provider organizations.

Large national health systems view telehealth as key to care delivery and are looking to add enhanced telehealth capabilities.

Given the value of greater interoperability between care delivery platforms and EHR systems, some large providers seem to be reconsidering the virtual care platforms offered by their EHR vendors, the report authors said.

“This suggests that some large EMR players, particularly Epic, are improving telehealth platforms that were insufficient for providers during the early days of COVID-19,” they added.

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