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KLAS Reveals Rocky Start to Cerner-Siemens Acquisition

One year after the Cerner-Siemens acquisition, KLAS reports on the state of the two health IT companies, showing a rough start for Siemens.

By Sara Heath

One year after Cerner Corporation acquired Siemens Health Services, it looks as though Siemens’ EHR, Soarian Clinicals, is struggling to maintain a foothold, according to a recent KLAS Research report.

The KLAS report breaks down how Soarian Clinicals – Siemens’ EHR platform – is doing one year following the acquisition. The report breaks its prognosis down into four sections, explaining that Soarian Clinicals’ performance may be suboptimal right now, but that many users express a hope and belief of future improvements.

Soarian Clinicals losing steam compared to competitors

A total of 87 percent of Soarian Clinicals users are planning on leaving the technology, with 64 percent reporting that they plan to leave within the next year. On top of that, over half of those getting rid of Soarian Clinicals have already selected the EHR vendor they will likely adopt come adoption time.

Seventeen percent of respondents report that they have already selected or are strongly leaning toward adopting the Cerner Millinium EHR, and another 13 percent have that EHR in the running. Epic Systems is another popular choice for those providers looking to lose the Soarian platform, with nine percent saying they plan to adopt an Epic EHR and 15 percent reporting that the vendor is in the running.

Software lagging for revenue cycle management

In terms of revenue cycle management, both Cerner Patient Accounting and Soarian Financials are underperforming, their users say. Both systems rank low on product functionality and product development.

That said, users are reportedly hopeful that both systems will improve. If Cerner were to pick up some of Soarian’s new technology expertise, and if Soarian were to have similar developmental resources to Cerner, both systems could ideally improve. According to KLAS, both Cerner and Soarian would have to make “significant changes” in order for the systems to become big players in revenue cycle management.

Cerner Powerchart ratings remain intact

Although some of the KLAS report shows less than desirable results of the Cerner-Siemens acquisition, Cerner’s Powerchart was an exception.

KLAS explains that following a vendor acquisition, it typically takes 12-18 months for the vendor to release a report of the results of the acquisition. However, if there were considerable negative consequences to the acquisition, customers of the product will usually talk about them prior to a report’s release.

As there has been little chatter coming from Powerchart users, KLAS asserts that there is likely no dip in the product’s customer satisfaction ratings.

Soarian Clinicals is still struggling

Although Cerner’s Powerchart ratings came out of the acquisition unscathed, Soarian Clinicals did not. Cerner reportedly has done little to amp up Soarian’s customer reviews, despite the fact that this was one of the goals at the time of the acquisition.

Although some customers are still reportedly holding out hope that Cerner will intervene and help improve the product’s development, most plan on leaving the vendor and adopting a new EHR.

At the time of Cerner’s $1.3 billion cash acquisition of Siemens Health Services – including its EHR system, Soarian Clinicals – Cerner stated that it would help develop the EHR throughout the next 10 years.

“Siemens AG is a tenured company with a long and respected track record in health care,” said Cerner’s chairman, CEO, and co-founder Neal Patterson. “A unique feature of this acquisition is we’ll continue working with Siemens AG in a R&D capacity, in order to advance the interoperability of electronic health records with medical devices.”

Industry experts indicated that Cerner’s acquisition of Siemens Health Services was intended to compete with big-name competitors, namely Epic Systems, which has maintained a notable foothold on the EHR market. By acquiring a company with a struggling EHR platform, experts say Cerner aligned itself well to migrate several Soarian customers over to its own EHRs.

“This move is clearly a response to Epic’s current domination of the EHR marketplace,” said John Campbell, CHCIO, CIO at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network when the acquisition was announced.   “Siemens has struggled with the launch of its Soarian product and had some visible early failures especially with large-scale clients.   At the end of the day, this is a move to combine market share VS products or complementary capabilities — most likely to migrate Siemens customers to Cerner products.”

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