Friday, January 31, 2014

Health Software Vendors

Software and hardware age quickly in health care. Software and hardware evolve, change and become obsolete quickly in the course of five years. Much changed during this 1/2 decade as providers and hospitals geared up for the HIT revolution.

Just ten years ago (2004) EMRs were very few and only 10-25% of providers or hospitals had any type of electronic health record.   The concept of health information exchanges and interoperability were still seminal ideas. Mobile health applications were few.

Following the HITECH Act the progress has been staggering. On the one hand it stimulated the adoption of EHRs, on the other hand in a rush to capture the incentive and avoid penalties, users were coerced to obtain inadequate electronic systems which were not tested for ethnology or true user functionality.  Many were and still are a barrier to efficiency and do not instill confidence in physicians by patients when providers faces are embeded in their display, which minimized face-to-face contact.  Transference as most providers realize is a key component of patient reassurance and compliance.  Score two big negatives for the current generation of EMRs.

Many providers have invested in EMRs, some already had EMRs which were compliaint enough to be CCHIT certified for interoperability (necessary to use HIX (health information exchanges) to exchange data with diverse EMRs.  Some were able to be upgraded to satisfy Meaningful Use, Stage I.

However many of these pre-existing systems are now insufficient to be further upgraded due to the increasing complexity of reporting metrics to CMS and Health Insurers.  Now faced with ACOs (Accountable Care Organizations the EMR and HIX face the challenge of further requirements.

For some the time as come to upgrade their EMR even though it may be only five to ten years old.

There have been many reports about physician dissatisfaction with first, or second generation systems. Offerings are divided between small practice, medium size practices, and large enterprise integrated health systems.

Perhaps a measure of change can be found in a report from MarketWatch of the Wall Street Journal.  I find the WSJ to be a reliable source of change in markets as they measure financial changes early on.

EPIC has been the leading software vendor for large enterprise systems.  This year however KLAS has ranked athenahealth as the top vendor replacing EPIC as rated by thousands of health care providers across the U.S., athenahealth is now rated #1 in the following categories:

-- 2013 Best in KLAS Overall Software Vendor
-- 2013 Best in KLAS Overall Physician Practice Vendor
-- 2013 Best in KLAS Practice Management Service, athenaCollector(R), for the 1-10 and 11-75 physician segments
-- 2013 Best in KLAS Patient Portal, athenaCommunicator(R)
The old guard of HIT leaders is finally being displaced by more nimble, innovative models designed for health care's future - not for its past," said Jonathan Bush, chairman and CEO, athenahealth


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