- Cerner EHR is rumored to be the most likely candidate to replace the outdated homegrown VA EHR system presently serving the 1,200 healthcare sites of the Veterans Health Administration, according to a new Black Book report.
After an expensive failed attempt, VA is planning on implementing a commercial EHR system in place of its VistA EHR to bring the federal agency up to speed technologically alongside other healthcare organizations.
Now over 30 years old, VistA is set to be abandoned after several attempts to amend and modernize the system have resulted in frustration and fruitless spending. While VistA was once considered ahead of its time, it has long since been surpassed by commercial systems.
“VistA was a true pioneer in the birth of EHRs more than 30 years ago,” said Managing Partner of Black Book Research Doug Brown. “In fact, much of the architecture of today’s commercial EHRs was based upon VistA’s open-source technology, which is used around the world.”
The Black Book report has declared Cerner Corporation as the EHR company best suited to meet the Trump Administration’s VA initiatives judging by the results of its first quarter 2017 surveys.
Black Book surveyed over 30,000 inpatient and ambulatory EHR end-users as well as clinical decision support user, on the effectiveness of 24 key performance indicators (KPIs) for five leading EHR vendors.
Between Epic Systems, Cerner, Allscripts, MEDITECH, and athenahealth, Cerner came out on top as the highest-scoring vendor across four VA health issues prioritized by the Trump administration.
“Three of the companies represented in our Black Book report are taking inspiration from the spirit of VistA, even as they vie to replace it,” said Brown. “Cerner, Allscripts, and Epic recently indicated they intend to make their EHRs more open, utilizing application programming interfaces (APIs) to enable third-parties to write apps for their platforms.”
The four issues the Trump Administration seeks to zero in on are veteran health access, satisfaction, engagement, and services delivery improvements; opiate crisis solutions; government agency innovations; and government business process and fiscal performance improvements.
“Cerner topped the list with a mean score of 9.14 of a possible 10.00 across all four initiatives and 24 KPIs, also finishing first in all of the four initiative categories,” stated Black Book in a recent press release. “Coming in next was Allscripts with a mean score of 8.91, finishing second behind Cerner in each of the initiatives. Rounding out the list were Epic (mean score: 8.17), athenahealth (7.89) and Meditech (7.66).”
While Cerner came out on top, four EHR vendors scored 7 or higher in every performance category for the first three Trump Administration VA initiatives. MEDITECH, however, scored a 5.79 in patient portal and experience, a subcategory under the initiative to innovate government agencies.
Cerner especially outshined its competitors in the opiate crisis initiative.
“Cerner outperformed in technology functionalities that support the healthcare delivery sector’s role in combating the opiate crisis, scoring highest in drug surveillance tools and pharmaceutical prescription record tracking, behavioral health and addiction EHR capabilities,” wrote Black Book.
For all five EHR companies, meeting objectives under the initiative to improve government business processes and fiscal performance proved a challenge.
EHR giant Epic had the most trouble meeting the expectations of this particular initiative, earning a score of 6.75 in outsourcing and privatization. Epic’s weakest area overall in this initiative was cost control through implementations and go-lives, as well as improving the client’s fiscal performance, earning only a 5.77 in these categories.
“Meanwhile, athenahealth had difficulty with ERP and supply chain support (6.68), as well as vendor reputation, trust and viability (6.25),” stated the report.
While all top five EHR vendors performed well in most categories, Cerner rose above the pack, scoring highest in IT outsourcing and privatization capabilities, hosting, tech support, interoperability, and cybersecurity in organizations with over 100 facilities and national network locations.
VA will announce its official decision in July.