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Epic Systems Tabbed to Expand Hold of Ambulatory EHR Market

By Kyle Murphy, PhD

- Epic Systems is in the driver's seat compared to other ambulatory EHR vendors and poised to take control of an even larger portion of the outpatient EHR market, according to a recent survey of more than 170 ambulatory care facilities.

Epic Systems expected to take greater control of ambulatory EHR market

Conducted by peer60, the report shows Epic to control close to 20 percent of the ambulatory EHR market several points ahead of its main competitor Cerner Corporation, which owns less than 15 percent.

The authors of the report base their predictions for Epic's growth on the perceived market dominance of the Wisconsin-based EHR vendor — that is, "mindshare." Epic and Cerner are neck and neck among ambulatory care facilities in this area, hovering around 32 percent.

"As has been the case in past years, Epic’s and Cerner’s aggressive positions will continue to gobble up pieces of the ambulatory pie currently occupied by vendors that have struggled to stay relevant in this space," the report states.

Also likely to make gains are athenahealth and eClinicalWorks whose mindshare ranges between 14 and 20 percent:

The other half of the market share and mindshare story and equally impressive is athenahealth’s and eClinicalWorks’ significant mindshare figures at approximately eight and five times their current market share in the overall ambulatory EHR market, respectively. This indicates these vendors are finding significant ways to positively connect with providers.

According to the authors, the disparity between market share and mindshare indicates a need for EHR vendors to improve their standing among ambulatory care providers, a caveat being that EHR vendors focusing on independent facilities have less to lose because many ambulatory centers base their EHR selection on hospital EHR selection.

For these independents, Epic and Cerner trail NextGen based on market share, the latter holding close to 20 percent of the marketplace. As for mindshare, NextGen's prospects are not good "considering they occupy no space in the future plans of independent ambulatory providers," the authors contend. Meanwhile, eClinicalWorks is set to make major gains among these ambulatory care settings well ahead of both Epic and Cerner.

Factoring in to future ambulatory EHR selections will be EHR vendor recommendation scores from providers. On average, ambulatory providers are more likely than not to recommend their current ambulatory EHR technology to others — 6.2 out of 10. The scores for individual EHR vendors is not made public, but five vendors scored above the 6.2 mark with one scoring as high as 9.3.

What will likely influence ambulatory EHR selections are solutions to the top challenges for provider EHR users. The top EHR challenges are missing EHR functionality (55%), lack of EHR usability (42%), and support of a practice's strategic objectives (30%).

Despite these responses, the ability of EHR vendors to make inroads in the ambulatory care setting will be difficult. A vast majority of respondents (85%) are not actively looking for EHR replacement technology. This is the case for both hospital-owned and independent ambulatory facilities.

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