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KLAS: Competition Between Epic, Cerner Stiffens

February 25, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Stiffer competition between key vendors is causing a growing number of providers to be undecided about which electronic medical record (EMR) to purchase, according to a new report from the Orem, Utah-based KLAS research.

For one, the report—"Acute Care EMR Purchasing Plans 2015: New Energy in a More Competitive Market"— found that Epic vs. Cerner decisions are becoming even more competitive for provider organizations. Providers are leaning toward or have already selected Epic by almost 2:1 over Cerner; however, this ratio is down significantly from last year's report. More providers list both Epic and Cerner as being in the running. At the same time, the number of providers who are undecided has almost doubled, making those who are “up for grabs” the largest segment of providers making an EMR decision. Horizon and MEDITECH customers make up the majority of the “up for grabs” segment, according to the research.

"The competition between Epic and Cerner is closer than it has been in years past as customers determine their future purchasing plans. This has left twice as many facilities "up for grabs" as there were last year, “report author Coray Tate said in a statement. "The lion's share of the remaining customer mindshare is split between MEDITECH and McKesson, pretty consistently along partisan lines."

What’s more, Allscripts is the least considered of the go-forward acute care EMRs and is largely overlooked by potential customers. Ironically, the Allscripts customer base is one of the most stable in this report, and users have reported significant improvement in their experience over the past two years. In addition, Sunrise Ambulatory Care is showing signs of being a viable option to address long-standing acute to ambulatory care integration concerns. Progress is still needed with integrated ED, surgery, and revenue cycle solutions, but a new management team and population health strategy are energizing current customers. To date, however, this has not been enough to catch the eye of potential customers, who see Allscripts’ flat market-share growth as a concern, according to the report.

Other findings from the report include:

  • Nearly 40 percent of MEDITECH customers who are not considering an EMR change reported they would change EMRs if they could. Their customers feel stuck.
  • Poor performance over the past few years is impacting both current and potential Paragon customers. Just fewer than 30 percent of customers indicated they are considering a change, up from 18 percent in last year’s report. However, many of these providers are delaying their decision in hopes that McKesson will right the ship.
  • Epic is the only vendor without delivery concerns. For all other vendors, potential customers have significant questions yet to be answered: for Cerner they are around acute care patient accounting and ambulatory practice management; for Allscripts they are around ambulatory integration and overall vendor stability; for MEDITECH, Paragon, and Siemens they are around clinical capabilities and the lack of viable ambulatory solutions. The primary concern about Epic is cost.

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