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Cerner, Epic EHR Legacy Replacements Aid Patient Accounting Needs

The majority of organizations in need of legacy patient accounting conversions are moving toward Cerner and Epic EHR options, with Epic customers hitting their financial targets.

epic ehr cerner ehr legacy system replacement

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth Snell

- Healthcare organizations are starting to migrate away from legacy patient accounting solutions in search of more seamless clinical integration, often turning to Cerner and Epic EHR options, according to recent KLAS research.

While each system has its benefits, most Epic customers have fully implemented both Epic clinical and PA systems and reported that they hit their financial targets.

“In contrast, revenue cycle has long been Cerner’s Achilles’ heel—over half of Cerner’s Millennium EMR customers have not yet implemented Cerner’s Millennium PA solution, often due to functionality concerns and uncertainty as to whether the product can drive a healthy revenue cycle,” stated the Patient Accounting 2018 report. “While success is possible with either solution, the road maps are different.”

Epic lead in overall satisfaction by nearly 15 points, the research showed. Specifically, all entities that switched to Epic in the past five years said there was improved cash, revenue, cost to collect, collections, clean claims, and net A/R days (with an average of 41.9 days).

Epic customers added that Epic Resolute – patient accounting and management software – also had better integration, functionality, efficiency, and visibility/analytics than their previous patient accounting solution.

READ MORE: Interoperability, Better Functionality Top EHR Replacement Factors

Cerner was also a top leader for EHR replacements, with healthcare organizations that wanted to convert their legacy PA systems. However, Cerner customers reported their own internal commitment and investment to being of greater help in meeting their revenue cycle targets.

“Respondents report having to push Cerner to provide highly capable implementation resources, and some have had to add FTEs in order to meet the demands of the Cerner solution,” the report stated. “Among customers meeting their revenue cycle targets, over one-third would not buy the solution again given the choice, and optimism in the solution’s future declines as organizations are live with it for longer.”

Sixty-four percent of Cerner customers that were meeting their organizational targets said they would buy the solution again, while 52 percent of those that are trending toward their organizational targets would do the same. Just over half – 53 percent – of Cerner customers not trending toward their organizational targets would buy the solution again.

Cerner customers that switched to Cerner in the past five years also showed improvements in cash, revenue, cost to collect, collections, and clean claims, but the numbers were not as high as Epic customers reported. Cerner customers also had an average of 50.3 net A/R days.

The report also reviewed Allscripts, athenahealth, and MEDITECH.  

READ MORE: 30% of Practices Look toward EHR Replacement Options by 2021

Earlier this year, separate KLAS research showed that Epic and Cerner won more EHR contracts with community hospitals than any other vendor over the past 12 months.

Approximately 400 members of hospital leadership and staff were interviewed, including CIOs, CMIOs, nurses, physicians, hospital directors, and managers from 347 healthcare organizations.

“EMR purchasing decisions by standalone community hospitals have steadily increased over the last three years, with 2017 marking the first time such decisions accounted for the majority of acute care EMR decisions in the US,” researchers explained. “With these decisions, community hospitals are giving their HIS vendors notice—innovation wanted.”

The report showed that 72 community hospitals selected Epic’s Community Connect EHR system in the past year, with 65 opting for Cerner CommunityWorks. No community hospitals were considering replacing their Epic EHR, while 12 said they planned to replace their Cerner systems.

Innovation and EHR integration were the number one and number two consideration, respectively, for decision-makers during the EHR selection and replacement processes. Functionality and price were the next key considerations, according to the report.  

READ MORE: Minimal EHR Data Transferred to DoD MHS Genesis at Fairchild

“Many of the community hospitals that are making purchasing or major upgrade decisions feel their current technologies are not innovating fast enough to address today’s challenges and help them solidify their long-term financial viability,” the research team wrote.

“In terms of customers’ innovation perceptions, Allscripts Paragon, MEDHOST, and CPSI Evident trail the leaders by a wide margin.”

The earlier KLAS report also found that Cerner and athenahealth were ranked highest by users for being attentive to entities’ financial needs. More Cerner and athenahealth users were confident in their vendor’s ability to respond to user feedback, offer flexibility with contracts, and provide revenue cycle management services.

High functionality with Epic and MEDITECH systems made those users more confident in the vendors’ abilities to consider organizational financial health.

“Epic Community Connect receives the highest functionality ratings of any product in this report,” the researchers noted. “Not all of the functionality is tailored to the needs of community hospitals, and thus, clinician workflows can be a challenge.”

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