A recent report from Chilmark Research named Cerner Corporation’s EHR system as the best offering for health data analytics-based EHR capabilities over Allscripts, Athenahealth, eClinicalWorks, and Epic Systems.
The report evaluated the top health IT companies for their analytics and reporting software as part of an assessment of the most recent healthcare analytics market trends.
However, researchers found health IT companies consistently offer end users the same overall insights to facilitate the shift to value-based reimbursement as part of the Quality Payment Program (QPP) under MACRA.
“We found a common product approach among all the vendors surveyed,” wrote researchers. “In short, all of their analytics solutions aggregate a longitudinal patient record based claims and EHR data. This provides the basis for an analysis to determine which patients to focus on for performance improvement programs.”
Chilmark researchers rated each of the top health IT companies in the industry for their EHR system’s data analytics-based product capabilities, product vision, market execution, and market vision.
Product capabilities were organized into three categories including analytics data store creation and access, analytics and insight, and workflow integration and engagement.
Market execution indicated how well a health IT company is performing within the current market.
Researchers considered factors including flagship customers, technology partnerships, and customer acquisition pace to determine each health IT company’s status.
Market vision measured how well each health IT company’s market vision aligns with market trends and needs. To determine the rating for this category, researchers examined factors including each health IT company’s ability to articulate their vision of the future target market to partnership companies.
In addition to Epic and other large health IT companies, Chilmark also evaluated companies with broader product offerings in a variety of industries including IBM Watson Health, as well as smaller companies such as WellCentive, Inc. and Optum.
While Cerner topped competitor Epic in product capabilities, Epic was rated highest in market execution.
eClinicalWorks scored lowest in all areas.
Researchers also noted major changes in each health IT company’s product offerings over the past year.
Most notably, Cerner now offers more data types including air quality and food source for the purposes of population health management, expanded FHIR support for data models, and stronger links with registry products through HealtheRegistries.
Researchers also noted that Epic now offers out-of-network utilization and has improved its user interface with more efficient reporting tools.
In addition to rating the performance and execution of the healthcare industry’s dominant health IT companies, the Chilmark report also examined the relationship between EHRs and health data analytics in the value-based care environment.
“EHRs and claims data are the fuel for analytics,” wrote researchers. “Combining the two offers a big picture view of patient/provider interactions augmented with the sort of detailed clinical observations found in an EHR.”
According to researchers, health IT companies act as an authority and guide on EHR data analytics as they are generally the most familiar with CMS and private ACOs.
“EHR vendors tend to offer robust support for the venues where they sell EHR products,” continued researchers. “As the path of least resistance for many HCOs and the vendors closest to workflows, EHR vendors are seen as the incumbents for a range of HIT application needs, including analytics.”
“Within this group, Ambulatory EHR vendors focus on the specific needs of outpatient practices,” they continued. “Their support for practice-based quality and care gaps, cost and utilization is usually in lockstep with CMS and private ACO arrangements.”
While all health IT companies maintain a certain degree of expertise regarding analytics, some are more knowledgeable than others.
“The differences between vendors are often the result of their data expertise and history,” wrote researchers. “Vendors with early payer experience may be better at claims-based quality reporting while vendors with early provider experience may be better at EHR-based quality reporting. The reality of the current market is that quality reporting and caregaps identification requires well aggregated EHR and claims data combinations.”