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Cerner, Epic EHR Implementations Rule Top 10 Stories of 2017

This year’s top stories show the industry’s continued interest in EHR implementations involving Epic and Cerner.

EHR Implementations

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- EHR implementations are one of the most costly, labor-intensive projects hospitals and health systems debate working into their budgets. With months of careful consideration informing most successful EHR selection processes, it’s no surprise healthcare providers and hospital leadership want to keep tabs on the vendors landing the biggest contracts, and the problems that occasionally sour investments.

In 2017, enterprise EHR vendors — specifically, Epic Systems and Cerner Corporation — cemented their status as top dogs in the health IT industry. Several of our most popular stories highlight the notable achievements that separate Epic and Cerner from the pack.

However, it wasn’t all good news for EHR vendors this year. eClinicalWorks in particular received backlash after an EHR certification scandal negatively affected provider perception of health IT companies nationwide.

Regardless of whether providers love or hate their EHR systems, our most-read stories of the year reflect that readers want to know how vendors fare in the market on a day-to-day basis. With a new generation of implementations expected in 2018 – including VA’s Cerner EHR – keeping a read on the pulse of the industry will be more important than ever.

Here is our countdown of the most popular headlines of the past year:

1. $178M Cerner EHR System Under Review After Persistent Problems

READ MORE: EHR Implementation Projects Impact EHR Optimization Efforts

Though Cerner scored several major contracts this year, some of its systems have received less than glowing reviews following implementation.

One such review came from British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix. Dix launched an independent review of Island Health’s Cerner EHR system after providers at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and Dufferin Place raised concerns about its inefficiency and poor usability.

This article features clashing physician opinions from those who oppose and support the Cerner system, demonstrating the polarizing effect new technologies can have on hospital culture.

2. Cerner, Epic EHR Hospitals to Share Patient EHRs in NC

An agreement between Carolinas HealthCare System and Novant Health had far-reaching implications when the two health systems signed on to exchange patient health data between their Cerner and Epic EHR systems.

By entering into the agreement, the rival healthcare systems chose to prioritize clinical efficiency improvements over competition in health data sharing. This article examines the events that lead to the collaboration and points to a previous agreement that laid the foundation for the shift.

3. Most Significant Epic, Cerner Health IT Achievements of 2017

READ MORE: Smart EHR Implementation Decisions Key to Usability Improvements

How did Cerner and Epic stack up against each other in 2017? This article explores the biggest contracts, partnerships, and health IT innovations coming from the healthcare industry’s technology titans.

Judging by each health IT company’s achievements, a distinct line has been drawn in the sand marking each vendor’s main territory. While Cerner rules the roost in the public sphere, Epic dominates the private sector. 

4. Epic, Cerner Beat Out MEDITECH in Small Hospital EHR Adoption

This popular article details KLAS findings that demonstrate the ways Epic, Cerner, and athenahealth began landing contracts among hospitals with fewer than 200 beds.

Large enterprise EHR companies – especially Epic and Cerner – are normally associated with larger health systems with the budget and resources to accommodate a costly implementatoin. In this piece, researchers delve into the specific trends that may have shifted market movement and pushed small hospitals to adopt technology from big vendors.

5. Judy Faulkner: Epic Will Offer New Cost-Effective EHR Options

In this interview with EHRIntelligence.com, Epic founder and CEO Judy Faulkner debuts two new Epic product packages designed to better meet the needs of smaller organizations that ordinarily shy away from the EHR system’s hefty price tag.

READ MORE: Do EHR Implementations Have Negative Short-Term Effects?

Faulkner details why the health IT company introduced the new offerings and discusses Epic’s ultimate goal of connecting the entire healthcare system through an Epic-enabled interoperability network.

6. VA Confirms Decision for Commercial EHR Replacement of VistA

In one of the most highly anticipated EHR selection decisions of the year, VA selected Cerner to provide a commercial EHR for all of the federal agency’s care sites.

The decision to opt for Cerner was partially driven by the need to enable seamless interoperability between VA and the Department of Defense (DoD). DoD’s own EHR system – MHS Genesis – also operates on a Cerner system.

Though the official Cerner EHR contract has not yet been awarded, unsealed court documents pertaining to a dismissed lawsuit involving health IT company CliniComp revealed the Cerner implementation deal will likely amount to around $10 billion.

This story includes comments by VA Secretary David Shulkin about the motivating factors that informed the agency’s landmark decision to switch from a homegrown system to a commercial EHR.

7. Epic Modules Supporting Care across Healthcare Settings

Epic continually reigns as one of the top-ranked EHR systems in the country. This article offers a concise snapshot of all major Epic modules presently on the market in 2017.

The privately-owned health IT company offers solutions to suit care settings ranging from ambulatory care to obstetrics. Each module contains distinct built-in features to meet the diverse needs of patients and providers.

8. Epic Trails Cerner, McKesson in Recent EHR Market Share Report

In this story, Kalorama researchers identify the top few EHR vendors dominating the market in 2017.

EHR product offerings from Cerner, Allscripts, Epic, and McKesson – whose Enterprise Information Solutions were since acquired by Allscripts in a $185 million deal – are each analyzed for their most attractive attributes. 

While large enterprise vendors still hold the majority of the marketshare, researchers explain why   many smaller and specialty vendors can still hold their own in a diverse and ever-growing industry. 

9. eClinicalWorks to Pay $155M for EHR Certification Allegations

Our second most popular story of 2017 marked the beginning of a series of accusations and provider skepticism directed at Massachusetts-based health IT company eClinicalWorks.

In May, eClinicalWorks agreed to pay $155 million to settle claims that the health IT company misled users about the legitimacy of its EHR certifications and paid some customers kickbacks in return for positive product promotion, among other allegations.

This lawsuit would spark ongoing debate among providers, policymakers, and health IT developers about the trustworthiness of EHR vendors and health IT certification programs.

Though eClinicalWorks has attempted to recover from the incident with two new partnerships, a recent $1 billion lawsuit filed against the health IT company in November has once again called the quality of its EHR offerings into question.

10. Rumored Cerner EHR, Amazon Partnership Talks in Final Stages

Our top story of the year centers on rumors of a partnership between Cerner EHR and e-commerce giant Amazon. The potential partnership between the two massive corporations could signal huge changes to come in health IT innovation.

Unnamed sources told CNBC the partnership between Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the health IT company would initially focus on Cerner’s population health management platform HealtheIntent. The partnership would assist Amazon in expanding its influence in the health data, EHR, and population health management markets.

 To date, talks between Cerner and Amazon are still in their final stages. 



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