- Epic Systems and Cerner Corporation solidified their status as top dogs in the health IT industry in 2017.
Both health IT companies scored massive contracts this year, with Epic continuing to gain popularity among the private sector and Cerner expanding its presence in the public sphere.
Cerner and Epic have also found success expanding their health IT offerings into other areas of care management, including population health and revenue cycle management. The companies have proven their ability to stay ahead of the curve by continuing to add more products and technologies to their arsenal in keeping with developments in the industry.
Over midway through 2017, here are a few of the most significant achievements of the year by the biggest players in health IT:
1.Epic offers new cost-effective EHR product packages
At HIMSS 2017, Epic founder and CEO Judy Faulkner announced the health IT company would release new product offerings designed to ease the implementation and onboarding process for smaller hospitals.
The Wisconsin-based vender introduced two new product packages allowing providers the option to choose the EHR solution that best fits their practice size and specific clinical and operational needs.
Epic stated it will also assist in preparing providers for the implementation process through a more measured, incremental EHR adoption cycle.
“We’ve been focusing a lot over the past few years on helping our customers understand the features they’ve installed and how to use them better,” Faulkner explained. “We've gone through our various capabilities and functionalities and labeled them by which area they belong to, which helps our customers see how they're doing with each type of task.”
While Epic is traditionally considered a vendor that caters more to large health systems, the addition of more affordable product packages opened the door for smaller physician practices and hospitals to benefit from Epic’s myriad solutions, services, and EHR functionalities.
2.Epic achieves milestones, scores big contracts with health systems in the private sector
Last month, Epic scored a $100 million contract with Meritus Health in Maryland to supply the six-hospital health system with an integrated Epic EHR.
The project is set to take place over a five-year span.
Meritus Health opted for an Epic system following an 18-month review process involving 1,000 Meritus Health employees and officials.
The $100 million sum will cover the complete modernization of Meritus Health’s EHR system as well as all labor costs for hiring and training staff members for the implementation process.
Epic also achieved a milestone last month after NYC Health + Hospitals (NYCHH) announced the success of an Epic implementation at its two Queens hospitals.
According to recent NYCHH data, the EHR system implementation has led to significant improvements in patient experience as more patients are utilizing Epic MyChart to access their own health data.
“Our health system’s transition to Epic is a crucial step in our transformation to better meet the health needs of the communities we serve,” Interim CEO Stanley Brezenoff said in a public statement. “These data confirm our expectations that Epic’s electronic medical record is already improving the patient experience, and we remain fully committed to implementing the combined EMR and revenue cycle suite throughout our system to ensure the best possible results for patients and providers.”
Epic scored the contract with NYCHH in 2016.
3.CVS Health chooses Epic for specialty care management
In March, CVS Health chose Epic to support its specialty care management programs.
CVS Specialty is the largest specialty pharmacy nationwide, offering advanced clinical services such as drug therapy management and customized counseling encouraging safe medication use.
"We are pleased to transition our care management programs onto the Epic platform, which will enable immediate information sharing with other health care providers across the patient's entire care team. This connectivity is integral in providing the best possible, coordinated health,” said CVS Specialty Executive Vice President Alan Lotvin, MD, in a public statement.
CVS will utilize Epic technology to enable evidence-based care management programs and achieve interoperability with all other providers using Epic EHR systems for health data exchange.
"By transitioning to the Epic EHR, we can further coordinate care across health care disciplines and settings, which promotes more effective and informed health care decision making," stated Accordant President Trip Hofer.
4.Epic partners with Mayo Clinic for Epic MyChart, Mayo Clinic EHR implementation
Epic Systems collaborated extensively with Mayo Clinic in 2017 to foster mutual improvements for both the health IT company and the large health system.
First, Epic partnered with Mayo Clinic in April to offer Epic users access to Mayo Clinic’s patient-facing educational resources.
Through the partnership, patients using Epic gained access to over 18,000 pages of content on over 4,000 health topics. Patients can use the Mayo Clinic app to research symptoms, conditions, and diseases as well as general life stage and healthy living information through Epic MyChart.
“Making Mayo Clinic’s world-class health knowledge available within MyChart and MyChart Bedside can help patients understand and better manage their health and well-being,” says Epic President Carl Dvorak. “We look forward to collaborating with Mayo Clinic on this and other innovations.”
Epic and Mayo Clinic followed through on this promise to further collaborate last month when Mayo Clinic began work on a $1.5 billion project to integrate all of its patient EHRs into a single Epic EHR system.
Epic scored the billion-dollar deal to house over 200,000 Mayo patient health records for health sites in Wisconsin cities such as La Cross, Onalaska, Prairie du Chien, and Sparta.
"For Mayo Clinic, this is absolutely a huge milestone,” Regional Vice President for Mayo Clinic Health System Timothy Johnson, MD, told The Post-Bulletin. “This is the first implementation of us all being on a single electronic record system. While it is the historical record, it is also the workhorse. All of our workflows center around the movement of information, whether it's a prescription or ordering a lab or getting a result back to the right person.”
5.UK Hospital using Epic technology wins Healthcare’s Most Wired
Last month, Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) and its Epic Systems eHospital platform was named the Most Wired by the American Hospital Association (AHA). The two-hospital health system is the first health organization beyond US borders to earn this designation.
“A key part of the eHospital programme is the Epic electronic patient record system which is used concurrently by 3,200 clinical staff, at peak times,” said Chief Medical Information Officer and Renal Consultant Dr. Afzal Chaudhry.
The CUH Epic EHR is in its third year of operation after completing its Epic implementation in 2014.
CUH is now in the process of rolling out its Epic patient portal, MyChart, as well as Epic’s interoperability platform Care Everywhere and health data exchange platform EpicCare Link.
1.Cerner scores VA contract for commercial EHR replacement of VistA
In June, VA selected Cerner to supply its commercial EHR.
The Department chose Cerner in an effort to follow in the footsteps of DoD’s Military Health System (MHS) GENESIS.
While the EHR systems for both VA and DoD will operate on Cerner platforms, the systems themselves will not be identical. VA plans to develop its own EHR system with features and capabilities specific to the Department’s needs.
“Without improved and consistently implemented national interoperability standards, VA and DoD will continue to face significant challenges if the Departments remain on two different systems,” wrote VA Secretary David Shulkin in a written statement. “For these reasons, I have decided that VA will adopt the same EHR system as DoD, now known as MHS GENESIS, which at its core consists of Cerner Millennium.”
VA clinicians will be substantially involved in the Cerner EHR development and implementation process, according to VA officials.
The new EHR system will be an integrated system with DoD that ensures interoperability with the private sector.
2.DoD Cerner implementation achieves milestone
In July, the Naval Hospital in Oak Harbor at Washington State completed its Cerner implementation of MHS GENESIS.
The DoD MHS site provides inpatient and outpatient care along with labor and maternity care. The Naval Hospital is the second site to successfully complete a go-live of DoD’s initial operating capability program.
“The integrated system aggregates information into a single EHR, standardized across the branches of the military, to facilitate the safe transition of care across the spectrum of military operations to include garrison, theatre, and en route care,” Cerner officials announced. “At its core, MHS GENESIS is the same commercially available, off-the-shelf electronic medical record that is deployed at thousands of facilities worldwide, operating on one code set.”
In February, DoD completed its first-ever installation of the GENESIS EHR system at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington.
"This is an exciting milestone for our team. We worked hard to get to our first [initial operating capability] site, and I can report first hand from the command center that everything is going as expected,” said Defense Healthcare Management Systems Stacy Cummings. “Providers at Fairchild are treating patients while the government and contractor team are quickly implementing fixes to issues as they are identified.”
DoD’s Cerner implementation is part of a $9 billion contract to update DoD legacy health IT infrastructure.
3.Cerner population health management platform gains traction
Cerner’s population health management platform saw continued success in 2017 as two large health systems deployed the technology this summer.
In June, Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) implemented Cerner’s population health management platform HealtheIntent for improved coordinated care.
The platform will improve care management for the over 12 million patient interactions happening annually at all care sites part of the CHS clinically integrated network, Carolinas Physician Alliance.
Cerner already provides CHS with its integrated EHR and intends to extend its remote hosting relationship with the health system.
"Our goal is to equip our care teams with a holistic and timely picture of a patient's interactions throughout CHS, as well as provide system wide insights to ultimately improve quality of care and reduce costs for our entire patient population,” said CHS Senior Vice President of Population Health Ruth Krystopolski.
Truman Medical Centers (TMC) in Kansas City also utilized Cerner’s population health management platform to launch its comprehensive disease management programs using remote patient monitoring technology.
The health system’s initiative will help clinicians better engage patients in their own health management for improved outcomes among patients with high-risk chronic conditions.
HealtheIntent identifies groups of TMC patients with conditions such as diabetes and chronic heart failure and monitors their health conditions and vital signs outside the hospital setting.
“Engagement is a critical piece of chronic condition care management, especially after a patient has left the hospital,” said Director of Health Home Primary Care at TMC Sonja Dicken. “The introduction of HealtheIntent into our monitoring workflow has saved our staff time by facing up important information quickly and making scheduling follow-up interactions easier.”
4.Cerner wins contract with Department of Health Services in Epic’s home state
In July, Cerner was chosen for a $33 million contract to provide an EHR system for the top health agency in the state of Wisconsin.
The ten-year contract will provide the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) with an EHR system for all seven of the state agency’s care and treatment facilities.
While Epic is headquartered in Verona, Wisconsin, the health IT company did not submit a proposal for the project, according to DHS spokeswoman Jennifer Miller.
The Cerner contract covers health records for Central Wisconsin Center and Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison, among others.
The implementation marks a milestone for Wisconsin as the first time a state-operated mental health treatment facility has had access to a coordinated EHR system.
“This is an investment in more coordinated, efficient services,” said DHS Secretary Linda Seemeyer. “This system is designed to enhance the health and safety of patients and residents and improve staff productivity.”
5.Cerner leads the EHR market in 2017
A Kalorama marketshare report released in April showed Cerner earned the number one slot among health IT companies as the leader of the EHR market in the first half of 2017.
Researchers credited Cerner’s success to its ability to develop new services in keeping with the rapidly-evolving health IT landscape.
Cerner’s acquisition of Siemens IT has also assisted in boosting Cerner’s reputation among hospitals, health systems, and health IT developers.
The vendor was also praised for its usability and its wide array of product offerings, including its new revenue cycle management solution Cerner RevWorks.