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Epic Systems Tops Cerner as Top-Used Physician EHR Vendor

Epic Systems is used by 28 percent of physicians, taking the cake as the most popular physician EHR vendor, according to the Medscape EHR Report 2016.

By Sara Heath

- Epic Systems continues reigns as the most widely used physician EHR system, followed far behind Cerner, according to the Medscape EHR Report 2016.


The report, which surveyed 15,285 physicians from 25 different specialties, found that 28 percent of physicians use an Epic EHR, followed by 10 percent using Cerner, seven percent using eClinicalWorks, five percent using NextGen, and four percent using MEDITECH.

While Epic maintained its spot as the top EHR vendor in both the 2012 and 2016 Medscape reports, the rest of the rankings were somewhat jumbled. Cerner has jumped from the third place spot in 2012 to second place this year, and eClinicalWorks from sixth in 2012 to third this year.

In 2012, MEDITECH and NextGen hadn’t even cracked the top five rankings. Instead, Allscripts took the second place spot and Centricity had taken fourth.

These results remain consistent when broken down by hospital or health system. In the hospital setting, Epic remains in the top spot, followed by Cerner, MEDITECH, Allscripts Enterprise, and eClinicalWorks.

READ MORE: Top Inpatient EHR Companies by Hospitals

READ MORE: Cerner Most Likely Vendor to Replace Homegrown VA EHR System

READ MORE: Inpatient, Outpatient EHR Are Top Provider Buying Priorities

However, practice-owned EHRs tell a different story. The top vendors in smaller practices are eClinicalWorks, Practice Fusion, NextGen, and Allscripts Professional.

The survey also took at look at the top rated EHRs in addition to the most commonly used. Overall, users liked the Computerized Patient Record System (VA-CPRS) from the Department of Veterans Affairs the best, while the notoriously difficult-to-use AHLTA from the Department of Defense came in last.

Other top-ranked EHRs included Epic, Practice Fusion, MEDENT, Amazing Charts, and e-MDs.

Medscape stratified these rankings further, splitting them between the most usable, the most connected, the best for clinical use, and those that provide the most satisfaction.

The top-rated vendor for EHR usability was Amazing Charts, followed by Practice Fusion, VA-CPRS, MEDENT, and e-MDs. Epic was ranked eighth, while Cerner was ranked twelfth.

Connectivity also showed potentially surprising results. While VA-CPRS placed in first, it was closely followed by Epic Systems. However, Epic has faced recent criticism about its lack of connectivity and interoperability outside of its own vendor systems. Other highly-ranked EHRs for connectivity included Cerner, athenahealth, AHLTA, and MEDENT.

VA-CPRS and Epic continued to hold their own as useful clinical tools, taking the one and two spots respectively. The EHR vendors were followed by MEDENT, Practice Fusion, e-MDs, and Amazing Charts.

Despite these rankings, neither VA-CPRS nor Epic received top marks for customer satisfaction. That distinction fell to Practice Fusion, which was followed by Amazing Charts, VA-CPRS, MEDENT, e-MDs, and Epic.

This all comes as EHRs continue to saturate physician practices. The survey found that 91 percent of physicians now use an EHR, compared to 74 percent just four years ago. Eighty-three percent of hospitals have converted over three-quarters of their paper records to the EHR.

Fewer physicians are in the install process. Two percent are currently installing their EHR, three percent plan to do so in the next two years, and four percent don’t have an EHR and have no plans to adopt one in the next two years.

While EHR implementation has surely skyrocketed due to the incentives offered through meaningful use and other federal programs, providers may also be adopting them due to their many reported benefits. According to the survey, 62 percent of providers enjoy e-prescribing via an EHR, and 57 percent use it to locate and understand patient data more easily.

Just under half of physicians use the tools to share health data with other practices physicians, while the same number use EHRs for drug and allergy checks and for incorporating clinical lab results.

Thirty-five percent of providers use EHRs to provide clinical visit summaries to their patients.

Despite these reported benefits, EHRs have largely left hospitals and practices the same. Most respondents reported no change in patient care, bill pay, and clinical operations following EHR implementation. Fifty-six percent of providers reported improvement in clinical documentation.

However, the technology has had an effect on patient-provider interactions. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said the tools take away from face-time with the patient, while 50 percent said they have a negative effect on the number of patients seen. Despite all of the EHR hype, patients rarely look at them to view their health data.

Going forward, however, it appears as though EHRs are here to stay. Most providers report being at least somewhat satisfied with their EHRs, while 81 percent reported plans to keep their EHR.

As providers continue to participate in meaningful use and as MACRA looms closer, providers will need to continue to work with their EHR and shape it best to their practice in order to yield the best results with these programs.

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