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Inpatient, Outpatient EHR Are Top Provider Buying Priorities

New research shows outpatient and inpatient EHR technology remain top buying priorities among providers well ahead of MACRA implementation.

Providers eye inpatient, outpatient EHR technology purchases

Source: Thinkstock

By Kyle Murphy, PhD

- A recent survey of healthcare executives shows that inpatient and outpatient EHR technology are top of mind for provider buying priorities for health IT purchases, trailing only telemedicine.

A third of 248 respondents to a Research Data survey listed telemedicine (33%), inpatient EHR (32%), and outpatient EHR (32%) solutions as their current top health IT buying priorities. The three technologies were well ahead of MACRA implementation and patient engagement, both reported by 20 percent of healthcare executives, as health IT purchasing priorities.

The greatest number of respondents — ranging from healthcare CEOs, CIOs, and CFOs to IT, medical, and nursing directors — working in standalone hospitals (47%) and integrated delivery networks (IDNs). The remainder were employed by hospital-owned or independent physician practices.

The leading areas of new health IT spending over the next 12 months for both IDNs and hospitals was EHR technology. Forty-one percent of survey participants from IDNs listed inpatient EHR technology followed by 24 percent of respondents listing outpatient EHR technology. Meanwhile, 31 percent of hospitals respondents indicated inpatient and outpatient EHR technology as the leading source of health IT spending over the next year. A slightly smaller number of hospital respondents (28%) reported population health management to be another health IT spend expected over the next 12 months.

Conversely, hospital-owned and independent physician groups have their purchasing sights set on information security and telehealth. Half of hospital-own physician groups surveyed listed information security as the most common form of new spending over the coming year, followed by telehealth (38%). For independent physician practices, those two areas of spending were flipped, telehealth at 52 percent and information security at 33 percent.

The health IT mindshare report contains details about vendors most likely to win new business across these focus areas. For inpatient and outpatient EHR technology, Epic Systems was the clear leader ahead of Cerner Corporation and MEDITECH. Epic also had a leg up on Cerner in patient engagement and data analytics technology. However, Cerner is more likely than its chief competitor to gain new business in the area of population health management.

As for telehealth, the leading health IT priority for healthcare executives, four vendors are have equal opportunity to grow their client base: eVisit, Secure Telehealth, Advanced Telehealth Solutions, and InTouch Health.

A breakdown of mindshare by provider type shows Epic to be leading among IDNs and standalone hospitals for inpatient and outpatient EHR technology, data analytics, patient engagement, and population health management. Hospital-owned physician groups show a preference for MEDITECH while independent physician groups all consider eClinicalWorks the go-to vendor. Cerner’s overall dominance in the area of population is the result of their control over the mindshare of physician groups, both hospital-owned and independent.

As for most explosive growth potential, MEDITECH and Cerner are most likely to increase their presence on the inpatient side while MEDITECH and Epic are likeliest to increase their presence on the ambulatory side. According to the data, Epic has some competition from MEDITECH in the area of data analytics and Press Ganey in the area of patient engagement. Meanwhile, Cerner will be vying with Allscripts in the area of population health management.

While MACRA implementation was a less significant health IT priority among all providers, IDNs will be considering Advisory Board, Premier, IBM, and Aetna; hospital-own practices, Optum and Premier; and independent physician practices, Aetna and IBM.

Recent market projections expect the ambulatory EHR market to reach $5.2 billion over the next four years, liking indicating where EHR vendor competition is to be most visible.

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