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KLAS: Providers Say Enterprise EHRs are Number One for Population Health Functionality

August 6, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Enterprise electronic health record (EHR) vendors are the number-one source for population health management (PHM) functionality despite a flood of new best-of-breed entrants into the marketplace, according to a recent report from the Orem, Utah-based KLAS research.

When asked which solutions they use for population health management, 105 providers mentioned 69 unique vendors currently in use and/or being considered for the future. These vendors come from diverse backgrounds and serve diverse needs in the key areas of risk stratification, care management, and patient engagement. Nevertheless, they compete for the same mindshare and budgets, according to the report— "Population Health 2014 Perception: Who Are Providers Betting On?"

Fifty-three vendors—one vendor for every two providers interviewed—were mentioned as currently playing a PHM role in provider organizations Only 21 are best-of-breed PHM vendors; the remaining 32 are normally associated with EHRs, health information exchanges (HIEs), business intelligence (BI), and other areas as disparate as hospital interactive patient systems and home patient monitoring. Only 10 vendors were mentioned more than twice.

Providers tagged enterprise vendors as the most frequent source for population health management functionality. Most offer standalone PHM products, but only McKesson has a majority of PHM customers using competitors’ core EHRs. Even though functionality is sometimes seen as shallow or immature, enterprise vendors are expected to meet more needs over time. Most-mentioned vendors have diverse approaches: Allscripts and McKesson acquired standalone solutions, Cerner is building an EHR-agnostic solution, and Epic is adding PHM functionality directly inside their EHR.

Beyond serving as sources for patient data, solutions from enterprise vendors are being used for care management (55 percent), risk stratification (39 percent), and patient outreach (44 percent). Among the most mentioned vendors, Epic’s efforts were rated somewhat higher, but still mediocre (7.5).

Additionally, while some vendors claim to offer comprehensive solutions that meet all PHM needs, few providers agree that such a solution exists. Some hope their enterprise vendor will eventually be that one-stop shop. "With so many new vendors and solutions, it is getting increasingly confusing for providers to know which vendors in the population health market can help deliver their needed functionality," said report author Mark Allphin. "The dream of the one-stop shop that meets all of population health's needs is not yet a reality, but some providers have told us that they hope their enterprise vendor will eventually be that one-stop shop."

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