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Epic, Cerner Seamlessly Present Unstructured Data In EHR Interface

KLAS names Epic and Cerner as leaders in the EHR market for their ability to integrate unstructured data seamlessly into the EHR interface.

Most EHR vendors still need to improve their ability to display outside health data in the EHR interface.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- A KLAS 2019 Interoperability report lauded Epic and Cerner for their ability to present unstructured data such as labs and physician notes in a usable format through the EHR interface.

KLAS researchers analyzed data from thousands of healthcare organizations and interviews with top EHR vendors in the health IT field to gain insight into how EHR vendors deliver outside health data to users.

“In the Epic EMR, problem, allergy, medication, and immunization (PAMI) data from any vendor flows directly into native fields to be reconciled,” wrote KLAS researchers in the report. “Notes and labs from Epic sites also flow automatically, while non-Epic sites need to be individually configured for the same automation to be achieved.”

Most vendors can reconcile PAMI data, but EHR vendors vary significantly in their ability to present notes and labs in a way that fulfills users’ needs related to EHR usability.

“Cerner users must select documents to bring in, and then the system automatically organizes the data into a summary view and shows it in the chart,” wrote KLAS researchers. “Both Epic and Cerner enable clinicians to access any outside data with a search bar, which saves clinicians from needing to sort through CCDs.”

While Cerner and Epic are best at making outside data usable, all healthcare organizations who engage in health data exchange with other hospitals and health systems endure a learning curve before becoming adept at consuming outside data.

“Epic customers’ long-time use of Care Everywhere has given them an advantage in data sharing — they are the only customer base comfortable with outside data flowing directly into the patient chart without prior human screening,” stated researchers.

Most vendors send summary continuity of care documents (CCDs) that include all data on a patient in a single document. Epic, on the other hand, sends a separate CCD for each patient encounter.  

“This enables the more-automated consumption of contextual data into the EMR between Epic organizations, but the two initial non-Epic sites accessing Epic data through the CommonWell-Carequality connection were caught off guard by the number of documents they received and the need to sort through multiple documents,” noted researchers.

Greenway Health is lacking in its ability to offer outside data to users. No Greenway Health users reported utilizing outside health data from different healthcare organizations, largely because they have had difficulty finding exchange partners.

CPSI users also engage in limited health data exchange with outside organizations.

“CPSI offers only basic support for using outside data and is the only vendor that requires customers to match all patients manually,” stated KLAS researchers.

athenahealth, eClinicalWorks, NextGen Healthcare, and Virence Health are still working to make physician notes and labs easier for users to access and view.

“Customers of all vendors report they sometimes have to deal with redundant data from multiple sources,” wrote researchers.

This 2019 report is the third in a series of reports on Carequality and CommonWell focusing on the progress EHR vendors have made toward improving interoperability.

The first KLAS report exploring EHR vendors’ ability to connect to Carequality and CommonWell was issued in December 2018.

Researchers found the majority of EHR vendors with sizeable marketshare currently enable providers to connect with CommonWell or Carequality, indicating the industry may  be poised for a breakthrough in interoperability.

In March 2018, KLAS released the second report in the series and found Epic and athenahealth have been most successful in their efforts to integrate EHR product offerings with a single network for seamless health data exchange.

This third installment in the series shows EHR vendors still have a ways to go before users can easily access health data from outside organizations in a usable format.

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