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Epic Systems, Cerner, McKesson Make Key EHR Technology Moves

The three EHR vendors have increased their presence in the health IT landscape, with Epic Systems and Cerner making inroads at new health systems and McKesson boosting health IT interoperability.

By Sara Heath

- EHR vendors Epic Systems, Cerner Corporation, and McKesson Health Solutions have all made recent advances driving population health management, healthcare quality, and health IT interoperability.

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Epic Systems is set to implement its population health management platform, Healthy Planet, at Nebraska Medicine, driving data integration via the EHR. According to a public announcement, Epic’s Healthy Planet will help drive quality and affordable healthcare across the system’s 1,100 physicians using different EHR systems through strategic integration.

The platform implementation aims to drive care coordination by pulling data from different areas such as disparate EHRs, claims data, pharmacy data, and satisfaction surveys. Through complex analytics, these data points will inform better healthcare decisions and patient support.

According to leaders from Nebraska Medicine, care coordination is the driving force behind this EHR integration project.

"Improving care is no longer about what one physician can do, it’s about what we can do as a community of care givers with better technology,” said Michael Ash, MD, chief transformation officer at Nebraska Medicine.

"By creating a physician network and investing in the country’s leading population health platform, we believe we can strengthen communication and coordination across hospitals and private practices to make sure the right things get done at the right time.”

In South Carolina, McLeod Health has adopted the Cerner EHR at all of its clinics system wide, according to a press release. Ninety of McLeod’s ambulatory clinics and seven of the health system’s acute care hospitals will transition to Cerner from the INVISION and Soarian platforms.

Overall, McLeod has adopted Cerner’s population health, revenue cycle, and clinical management systems to help support the health system’s complex clinical workflow needs.

“We selected Cerner’s integrated platform of clinical, financial and population health management capabilities because we believe it’s one of the industry’s most robust health IT management offerings available,” said Jenean Blackmon, senior vice president and CIO of McLeod Health.

“With Cerner, we will provide our physicians with sophisticated tools to develop a more holistic view of each individual’s health history by incorporating financial and community information with the clinical record.”

McKesson Health Solutions has also made big moves, developing a new healthcare interoperability platform, the Intelligence Hub. This platform will integrate claims reimbursement data for hospitals, vendors, and payers.

The Intelligence Hub will employ application programming interfaces (APIs) such as Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) to allow users to integrate any application with the Intelligence Hub. This will allow users to adopt the Intelligence Hub alongside any of their current applications.

"Our customers want to rapidly connect applications, whether home grown or third-party, with the strategic MHS platforms they use or specific services of those applications they want to use," said McKesson Health Solutions President Rod O’Reilly in a press release.

According to Mike Wood, Senior Vice President, CIO, and CTO of McKesson, this is a push toward a new vision for interoperability.

“Interoperability is about more than just moving data from one application to another,” Wood explained.

“It's about how applications cooperate and work together to solve problems as composite solutions. And it’s a paradigm shift in the development and business culture of our organization, in order to create an ecosystem that makes it easy to engage the business logic in historically separate, siloed applications.”

Epic, Cerner, and McKesson are leaders in the EHR market, and these advances may be indicative of a future of growth for the vendors. By making inroads at new hospitals and progress in the healthcare interoperability space, the three vendors may be poised to continue their market dominance.

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