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Black Book: Best EHRs for CAHs include CPSI, Epic, Allscripts

By Jennifer Bresnick

Critical access hospitals (CAHs) and other small or rural facilities have a series of unique challenges to face when choosing and implementing an EHR.   Scarce resources, a complex patient population, and even a lack of reliable broadband internet can add to the already significant trouble of picking the best system to rely upon.  Black Book Rankings has chosen its top EHR vendors filling the need to CAHs in 2014, with small hospital specialist CPSI edging out more well-known brands like Epic Systems, Allscripts, McKesson, and Cerner.

With the frenetic rush to grab as many meaningful use incentive dollars as possible coming to a close, providers who are choosing first time or replacement systems now have the luxury of learning from the mistakes of their peers.  Organizations are looking beyond the initial implementation costs to how the EHR and its vendor will hold up over the long term.  During its four-month poll to pick the best under-100 beds vendor for 2014, Black Book found that customer experience and ongoing support figured highly on the wish list for small hospitals, and chose its winners based on how well the vendor coached its clients.

“Hospital leaders are seeking empirical data from EHR users to make informed vendor choices, particularly those switching systems or replacing home grown EHRs. Viable EHR vendors are actively supporting their clients past implementation, and demonstrating best-of-breed technologies through innovative solutions,” said Doug Brown, managing partner of Black Book Rankings.

This is the fourth consecutive year CPSI has taken the top spot on this list.  The Alabama-based company specializes in providing workflow-friendly software to smaller hospitals, and its tight focus helped it garner high marks for its administrative and documentation functionalities, ePrescribing modules, clinical workflow capabilities, and even its ability to meet the data needs of accountable care organizations, a growing area of opportunity for cash-strapped hospitals to share expenses.

CAHs are receiving special attention as the first phase of the EHR Incentive Program winds down, including a new program from CMS called the Frontier Community Health Integration Project, which hopes to use payment reforms to expand access to care, lower overall costs, and increase patient satisfaction.  Last year, a study published in JAMA found that CAHs lagged significantly on meaningful use, with only 18% of CAHs successfully attesting in September of 2012, compared to 73% of larger hospitals.

Other EHR vendors recognized for their achievements across the Black Book survey’s acute care subgroups include: Allscripts, Cerner, Epic Systems, GE Healthcare, HCS EMR, Healthcare Management Systems, Healthland, McKesson, Meditech, NextGen, Quadramed, Prognosis, RazorInsights, and Siemens Medical.

 

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