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Meaningful Use, ICD-10, Epic, Cerner Lead Top 2015 Headlines

As the year comes to a close, here are the our leading stories from 2015.

By Sara Heath

When looking back on our most-viewed stories from this year, we noticed three major themes: meaningful use, ICD-10, and vendor news. Between the publication of the Meaningful Use Modifications Rule, the October ICD-10 go-live, and countless vendor breakthroughs, it has been a busy year for the health IT industry.

EHR health IT meaningful use ICD-10 epic cerner

Below is a round-up of our top-viewed stories from the past year, counting down to our most popular article:

10. Could poor public perception have hindered Epic Systems?

Following the Department of Defense’s announcement that it will be using Cerner’s EHR for the agency’s DoD Healthcare Management System Modernization (DHMSM) project, the industry was abuzz with theories as to why Epic got the snub.

Although the DoD never released an official comment, several experts concluded that Epic’s reputation may have gotten in the way. Between Epic’s known interoperability difficulties and Cerner’s reputation for being foremost dedicated to their clients, many industry professionals believed that Epic had some work to do to improve its public perception.

READ MORE: NC Health System Adds Epic Patient Monitoring Technology

9. The 10 Biggest Cerner Corp. Implementations

Earlier this year, we listed the top Cerner implementations in the United States. From Ascension Health to Banner Health, Cerner has cemented itself as a major EHR vendor by working with huge hospital systems throughout the nation, leading them to prestigious awards such as the Most Wired awards and numerous HIMSS Stage 7 awards.

8. New York Hospitals Face Epic Implementation Issues

At the end of this summer, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) faced several issues, potentially having to do with their Epic EHR implementation. HHC reportedly fired four of its employees due to medical billing and implementation misconduct. However, HHC denies any claims stating that the EHR implementation and the staff restructuring were related.

Additionally, reports showed discrepancies in HHC’s implementation timeline and estimated costs.

READ MORE: Comparing Largest Epic, Cerner EHR Implementations to Date

7. Congress Goes Ahead with Scheduled ICD-10 Go-Live

Considering the numerous times ICD-10 had been delayed before, several industry professionals wondered if the new code set would meet the same fate this year. However, as both houses of Congress considered a new Sustainable Growth Rate bill, which would include any potential ICD-10 delays, there was no indication that the code set would be postponed.

6. SGR Bill Passes Both Houses of Congress

Indeed, by the middle of April both the House of Representatives and the Senate had passed the SGR bill with no mention of an ICD-10 delay, implicitly telling the healthcare industry that the new code set was a go, and that the transition would take place on October 1, 2015.

5. CMS Finalizes Meaningful Use Modifications

READ MORE: HIEs Fail to Meet Needs of Population Health Management

Providers continued to face policy changes this year as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its modified meaningful use requirements. This final rule included modifications to the Stage 2 requirements, eliminating duplicative or unnecessarily arduous measurements. Additionally, it introduced the Stage 3 requirements, which will be mandatory for all participants starting in 2018.

4. CMS Considers Changes to Meaningful Use

Prior to the publication of the meaningful use modifications rule, a considerable amount of anticipation built throughout the healthcare industry. This all began as CMS announced that it was considering minimizing the requirements included in the Stage 2 requirements. As early as January, the agency was considering the possibility of reducing the newcomer reporting period to only 90 days, as well as eliminating extraneous measures, two things on which CMS eventually followed through.

3. House Bill Calls into Question ICD-10 Implementation

Although by mid-April it appeared as though ICD-10 implementation was on track for its expected October 1 deadline, a new House bill, introduced in May, brought the timeline back into question. The bill specifically sought to delay ICD-10 implementation because the bill’s sponsor, Texas Representative Ted Poe, felt that the code set was another example of frivolous government bureaucracy.

2. Epic’s 10 Largest EHR Implementations

Just as we looked at Cerner’s biggest EHR implementations, we also looked at Epic’s 10 largest implementations. The EHR vendor is known as a super-giant in the health tech industry, implementing at huge health systems such as Kaiser Permanente Health Foundation and the University of Pittsburgh Health System. Epic has helped these health systems win HIMSS Davies awards, HIMSS Stage 7 awards, and Most Wired nods, among many other health IT recognitions.

1. Cerner Wins Out on DoD EHR Modernization Project

What would 2015 have been without the Epic and Cerner competition for the DoD bid? Our biggest news of the year entails Cerner’s win for the DoD’s DHMSM project, which is valued at nearly $9 billion over a 10-year span. Although the DoD didn’t report any specific reasons why it chose Cerner, many speculate Cerner’s known reputation for interoperability and customer service to be a major contributing factor to its success.

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