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Epic Virtual Care Solution Delivers Strong Patient Experience, Integration

Epic customers said a unified system where patients can access their EHR data and receive virtual care has enhanced the patient experience.

Of the fully rated EHR-centric virtual care solutions, Epic’s received the highest overall customer ratings due to the platform’s ability to support a strong patient experience, according to a KLAS report.

Epic customers noted improvements in patient usability now that they can access Epic Telehealth through a web browser rather than a specific app.

Multiple customers also pointed to the “deep integration” benefits of the Epic platform. Respondents said having a unified system that allows patients to schedule appointments, access records, and see their doctor virtually gives patients more power and confidence in the health IT, leading to higher adoption.

Healthcare organizations said this increased adoption has enabled them to treat patients who wouldn’t otherwise have received needed care.

athenahealth customers also report high satisfaction overall with their virtual care platform. Respondents applauded the tight integration between the core clinical platform and the virtual care solution, which athenahealth delivered soon after the start of the pandemic. However, heavy internet bandwidth requirements have driven some dissatisfaction related to patient experience.

Organizations leveraging Elation Health (limited data) said they are very satisfied with the vendor and noted that the platform has helped enhance patient outcomes. Elation Health customers are typically smaller ambulatory organizations. Among interviewed customers, the average number of physicians per organization was two.

Customers said that Elation’s solution lets them see patients quickly and meet their needs, including patients who would otherwise be unable to seek care due to health, distance, or economic factors.  

Customers of health IT vendor Kareo are also primarily small practices, with an average practice size of five physicians. Limited data suggest that the simplicity of the system improves the patient experience. Overall satisfaction is lower due to some provider-usability issues.

While collecting performance insights on EHR-centric virtual care solutions, KLAS spoke to many organizations who have decided to move away from their EHR vendor to a third-party for virtual care solutions.

“This is a departure from the trend typically observed in HIT of organizations consolidating as much as possible under one vendor,” the report authors wrote. “Functionality and patient usability concerns are the primary drivers when organizations decide to switch.”

Many respondents sought better audio and video quality and a lower bandwidth burden to ensure patient access to care, especially via mobile devices.

Customers of several vendors noted that they wanted a solution that could serve rural and underprivileged populations with less access to high-speed technology. These organizations found third-party solutions worked better to meet those needs and enhanced the patient experience at a lower overall cost.

Respondents often mentioned, VidyoHealth, and Zoom as replacements for EHR-centric solutions. These solutions also meet other functionality needs, such as remote patient monitoring and chat functions, that EHR-centric solutions lack.

While many respondents have moved away from their EHR vendor for virtual care, more than two-thirds said they would consider their EHR vendor for virtual health in the future. These organizations are looking for functionality improvements that will bring their EHR-based solutions up to par with third-party platforms.

“Many provider organizations say their EHR vendor’s capabilities are not yet mature enough to meet their needs, particularly during the initial rush caused by the pandemic, when customers needed to quickly implement a virtual care solution,” the authors explained.

“However, provider organizations still place high value on the possibility of a fully integrated platform that covers as many of their technology needs as possible, including virtual care,” they concluded.

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