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Ambulatory EHR Vendors Must Improve on EHR Usability, Workflow

According to a KLAS report, 70 percent of consumers want ambulatory EHR vendors to improve on EHR usability and workflow.

Technology needs are constantly evolving for midsize and large ambulatory practices. Moving forward ambulatory EHR vendors should focus on enhancing EHR usability and workflow to align with consumer needs, the latest KLAS report noted.

When interviewing over 500 consumers regarding areas their EHR vendor needs to improve on, KLAS found that more than 70 percent mentioned ease of use/workflow, with 44 percent citing it as a top priority.

Specifically, EHR usability and workflow are lacking due to excessive mouse clicks, irrelevant information displayed within the EHR, lack of specialty-specific functionality, and poor integration that leads to disruptive screen hopping.

Despite the lack of alignment, some ambulatory EHR vendors appear to be meeting consumer needs.

Epic, MEDITECH, and athenahealth stood out in the ambulatory EHR market, offering the best EHR experience for consumers, the KLAS report stated.

In addition, Epic and MEDITECH were the best at enabling patient-centered care.

Wisconsin-based Epic was rated the highest for overall performance and product quality, with an average performance score of 88 points out of 100 points. Epic customers appreciate the EHR for its code quality and QA process, ensuring reliable updates that improve functionality, KLAS researchers mentioned.

Further, Epic customers are the most likely to feel their solution supports patient-centered care, citing strong integration with other Epic customers that gives clinicians a complete view of patient care.

Although Epic has been recognized as the leading EHR vendor in multiple categories, its ambulatory EHR still faces some shortcomings. Epic customers have noticed issues with workflow and usability; many reported that the solution is designed with an inpatient-first focus that overcomplicates workflows in the ambulatory care environment.

According to KLAS, MEDITECH received the second-highest overall performance score of 86. Customers of MEDITECH’s Expanse Ambulatory EHR praise its overall stability and progress in developing new functionalities.

“With a platform that is now integrated across ambulatory and acute care settings, users can more fully understand a patient’s medical history and determine proper treatment,” KLAS researchers stated. “Additionally, users note they can quickly move through their workflow on a tablet or mobile device, allowing them more time to interact directly with patients.”

Similar to Epic, MEDITECH needs to focus on improving workflow so that customers can take advantage of the new functionalities and improve care navigation.

athenahealth received good feedback regarding ease of use and workflow, KLAS found. athenahealth respondents stated that the intuitive layout aligns with users’ expectations and the clinician experience, but specialists want the EHR vendor to add specialty functionality to meet their needs better.

Cerner is another vendor who is frequently mentioned as needing to improve workflows. According to the report, customers want Cerner to enhance the usability of outpatient workflows instead of solely focusing on inpatient workflows.

Greenway Health, holding an overall performance score of 71.5 points, had the most customers who stated the EHR vendor needs to improve upon basic product functionality. Several customers believe Greenway Health’s functionality is lagging behind the curve.

On a more positive note, customers of Cerner and Greenway Health are less likely to want improved support or relationships because of their recent efforts to cultivate better customer relationships and address customer concerns.

eClinicalWorks and Allscripts customers have the lowest overall performance scores of 61.6 and 51.6 points, respectively. In addition, eClinicalWorks and Allscripts had the worst operation and product scores compared to all other ambulatory EHR vendors.

Phone and web support are major issues for eClinicalWorks and Allscripts customers, and many want their vendors to improve the support before focusing on any other aspect of the solution.

eClinicalWorks customers are frustrated by the EHR vendor’s unresponsiveness to tickets and issues, stating that eClinicalWorks doesn’t keep promises around product fixes and resolutions and does not have knowledgeable support representatives.

Customers of both Allscripts Professional EHR and TouchWorks EHR were dissatisfied due to a lack of proactivity in identifying and solving issues and a lack of personal touch. These challenges have led customers to believe Allscripts is not a true partner in customer success.

“Customers note that support has always been problematic, but that frustration has grown as the outsourced support has become less knowledgeable and more backlogged,” KLAS researchers stated. “Regarding the Allscripts Professional product, customers are frustrated with system slowness, rigidity in the workflows, code-quality issues resulting from problematic updates, and a significant number of general usability issues.”

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