Epic, Cerner Win Most EHR Contracts Among Community Hospitals

Epic won 72 EHR contracts with community hospitals in the last 12 months, while Cerner scored 65, according to KLAS research.

Epic and Cerner won more EHR contracts with community hospitals than any other vendor over the past 12 months, according to an April 2018 KLAS report.

The report focused on the EHR selection, consideration, and purchasing decisions of standalone and community hospitals with between one and 200 beds.

“EMR purchasing decisions by standalone community hospitals have steadily increased over the last three years, with 2017 marking the first time such decisions accounted for the majority of acute care EMR decisions in the US,” wrote KLAS researchers in the report. “With these decisions, community hospitals are giving their HIS vendors notice—innovation wanted.”

KLAS researchers surveyed 401 members of hospital leadership and staff including CIOs, CMIOs, nurses, physicians, hospital directors, and managers from 347 healthcare organizations.

Over the past year, 72 community hospitals selected Epic’s Community Connect EHR system, while 65 selected Cerner CommunityWorks. While no community hospitals are considering replacing their Epic EHR, 12 plan to replace their Cerner systems.

MEDITECH 6.x was the third-most frequently considered EHR system offering, with 59 community hospitals opting for the vendor’s system. athenahealth ranked fourth with 40 considerations, while Allscripts Paragon ranked fifth, with considerations from 22 community hospitals.

Innovation is top-of-mind for decision-makers during EHR selection and replacement processes, according to survey respondents. EHR integration was ranked as the second-most compelling consideration among decision-makers, followed by functionality and price.

“Many of the community hospitals that are making purchasing or major upgrade decisions feel their current technologies are not innovating fast enough to address today’s challenges and help them solidify their long-term financial viability,” noted KLAS researchers.

Researchers surveyed respondents about their views regarding their EHR vendors’ ability to innovate and found 67 percent of athenahealth users consider their EHR vendor innovative, compared to about 60 percent of Epic, MEDITECH, and Cerner users. 

Meanwhile, only about one-quarter of Allscripts and MEDHOST users viewed their vendors as innovative.

“In terms of customers’ innovation perceptions, Allscripts Paragon, MEDHOST, and CPSI Evident trail the leaders by a wide margin,” explained KLAS researchers.

“CPSI Evident and MEDHOST customers report that development is focused more on keeping up with regulations and addressing functionality gaps than on forward-looking improvements to interoperability or to usability for clinicians other than physicians,” the team continued.

While most Allscripts users are still largely unconvinced of the EHR vendor’s ability to innovate, Allscripts has created a development road map and steering committee to drive improvements in this area since acquiring Paragon EHR from McKesson.

“These efforts came too late for some customers who were already in the process of leaving, but others are reconsidering, hopeful that Allscripts can deliver the long-awaited integrated outpatient solution (Avenel, currently in beta),” stated researchers.

In terms of financial viability, Cerner and athenahealth were ranked highest by users for being attentive to the financial needs of healthcare organizations. KLAS researchers reported more Cerner and athenahealth users were confident in their vendor’s ability to respond to user feedback, offer flexibility with contracts, and provide revenue cycle management services.

Epic and MEDITECH users are also fairly confident in their vendor’s ability to consider organizational financial health, in part because of the vendor’s functionality. Users feel they are equipped with the tools necessary to improve revenue independently.

“Allscripts Paragon, CPSI Evident, and MEDHOST customers report that their vendors don’t take a particularly innovative approach to helping reduce costs or providing new revenue or deployment models,” wrote researchers. “Customers report potential for MEDHOST’s hosted solution to reduce costs, but feedback is still early.”

Overall, Epic users reported the highest rates of satisfaction “thanks to integration with critical exchange partners and Epic’s track record of keeping development promises.”

“Epic Community Connect receives the highest functionality ratings of any product in this report,” wrote researchers. “Not all of the functionality is tailored to the needs of community hospitals, and thus, clinician workflows can be a challenge.”

With more and more community hospitals making EHR implementation and replacement decisions year over year, vendors will need to focus on innovation, financial viability, and EHR integration to win contracts.

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