A recent ambulatory electronic health record (EHR) user satisfaction poll of large physician groups indicates increased satisfaction with their EHR system’s functionality and services, in all areas except interoperability.
Market research firm Black Book surveyed physician practice groups with more than 11 clinicians and the findings indicate increased satisfaction and demand for integrated practice management, revenue cycle management and EHR usability.
As part of a special research focus on large practice physician EHR users, Black Book surveyed the clients of EHR vendors with the highest scores in customer experience in the areas of document management, productivity, practice administration, reporting, interoperability and order entry and decision support. Black Book identified three vendors ranking highest in large group practice overall satisfaction and client loyalty for 2016.
Allscripts took the top spot in user satisfaction among ambulatory providers for largest group member practitioners, squeezing past Cerner, athenahealth, MCIS, Epic Systems, eClinicalworks, and QSI NextGen. This is the third year in a row that Allscripts has been ranked number one among provider groups with 26-plus practitioners and independent practice associations.
Marshfield Clinic Information Services (MCIS) took the top spot among multispecialty clinics. According to Black Book, this is the first year MCIS , a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marshfield Clinic (Wisconsin), has scored first in the Black Book polls, ranking first among users in multispecialty clinics operating with over three distinct medical and/or surgical specialties.
athenahealth has also earned their third consecutive top rankings in the 6-10 physician group and 11-25 physician practice group categories.
“Allscripts, MCIS and athenahealth have all made significant investments in user experience and client satisfaction over the past year, securing their places at the top of the group practice EHR most wanted list,” Doug Brown, managing partner of Black Book, said in a statement.
Sixty-nine percent of providers who use EHRs from these three companies agree that they have seen substantial clinical workflow enhancements since 2014, while 60 percent of surveyed users say that their data-driven vendors have adequately invested in population health management features that will aid their ongoing transition to value-based care.
“Users of these systems stated that uptick was due to vendor investments in updates and releases, practice assessments and clinical workflow enhancement. Other factors included revenue cycle management and analytics value adds, population health improvements and solicitation of physician feedback,” Brown said.
However, 33 percent of users said they are impacted by the lack of interoperability with payers and other providers. “Vendor transparency and accountability concerns are challenging clinics and practices to re-evaluate their technology relationships again. For clients financially and contractually trapped in their EHR vendor relationship, middleware is gaining more attention and favor over regional and public HIEs as middleware offers trustworthy service delivery and innovative interoperability to support providers through reimbursement reforms,” Brown said.
In addition, 29 percent of users say their vendors have failed to make major efforts to improve complex implementation and training process. Ninety percent reported a negative opinion on the ability to receive adequate customer service from offshore call centers and EHR tech support, impacting client loyalty significantly.
According to Brown, EHR firms with a wide offering of products including health information exchange, population health tools, revenue cycle management services, patient portals, dashboards and analytics are emerging as the next wave of healthcare technology leaders. “These leading vendors are assisting their clients in assessing current practice operations to meet the demands of ICD-10, payment reform, connectivity beyond closed networks, revenue cycle management gaps, and decision support tools, and recommending effective options within the same vendor suite,” he said.
When looking at smaller practices, Brown noted that these practices are disadvantaged in terms of health IT resources, and expected to merge or form joint ventures to meet the challenge of value-based care and acquiring the IT infrastructure needed to support it. “Black Book expects that most small- and medium-sized practices will eventually join larger organizations, such as independent practice associations (IPAs), accountable care organizations (ACOs), and bigger medical groups to be successful under MACRA,” he said.
The Black Book poll indicates a sharp upward trend in the way users view the efforts of their vendors in all surveyed areas of measurable system satisfaction and loyalty in 2016, except interoperability.
In 2013, 92 percent of multispecialty groups expressed displeasure with their EHR products and vendors, the survey results say, but that number had reversed in 2015 and increased more this year. Eighty-four percent of physicians practices over 25 practitioners polled this year believe that their vendor is “meeting or exceeding” their expectations for EHR optimization. Eighty-eight percent of administrative staff also believe they have seen improvements in the operational or financial capabilities of their practice management and EHR software.
“The nature of integrated EHR functionality and practice management is also changing, given that Medicare and commercial payers are endeavoring on the shift away from pay-per-procedure billing to paying for value incentives for providing better care efficiently,” Brown said. “Notably, leading-edge EHR are supporting large group medical practices with multiple specialties and multiple locations real-time insights and flexible technology to help drive successful accountable care organizations.”