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Specialty EHR Products Tied to Highest Physician Satisfaction

Integration, revenue cycle management, and other specialty EHR service providers continue to rank highest in physician satisfaction.

specialty EHR ambulatory EHR

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth Snell

- Specialty EHR product categories were given the highest physician practice satisfaction scores, according to a recent Black Book survey.

Researchers interviewed 18,950 physician practices in client experience and satisfaction and gathered customer evaluations on 340 EHR products.

AdvancedMD, drchrono, Epic Systems, NextGen, NetSmart, Modernizing Medicine, and SIS Amkai received top ratings from Q3 2017 to Q1 2018, in areas such as addiction medicine, cardiology, endocrinology, and nephrology.

Black Book Research Managing Partner Doug Brown said that single-solution offerings, including ones that integrate EHRs, focus on revenue cycle management, and utilize coding and practice management tools will likely continue to lead the way for specialty practices in 2018.

“It’s clear that even in this tightening and increasingly complex ambulatory EHR market, specialist-centric vendors that innovate through integrated EHR, RCM, Coding and PM tools are continuing to lead the small specialist practice market,” Brown explained in a statement.

“By providing a product that is a vital part of the users’ workflow, patient coordination and critical digital capabilities, independent and network-affiliated physicians can be successful in the value-based care environment through these systems.”

Epic Systems ranked highest in nephrology, neurosurgery, and transplant medicine, while athenahealth took the top spot for endocrinology.

NextGen garnered a top specialist ranking in general practice, multispecialty clinics, and obstetrics and gynecology, with drchrono nabbing high scores in mobile and sleep medicine.

The ambulatory EHR market will reach $5 billion within the next two years, Black Book noted.

MarketsandMarkets research reported similar findings nearly one year ago, explaining that ambulatory EHR market growth is partially attributable to government support for advanced health IT adoption through federal incentive programs. The increased use of EHR technology and need to reduce healthcare costs will also encouraged more healthcare facilities to implement ambulatory EHRs, MarketsandMarkets stated.

Ambulatory EHR systems were also found to be used primarily for practice management in 2016, powering ahead of practice management, patient management, e-prescribing, and numerous other services.

“This growth can be attributed to the increasing adoption rate among healthcare providers, as they are shifting from pay-per-procedure billing to paying for value—that is, incentives for providing better care efficiently,” the researchers explained.

The team added that large hospitals tend to occupy the larger share of the global ambulatory EHR market, but that more affordable and adaptable options being introduced within specialty EHRs are helping small- and medium-sized practices.

“The small to medium sized practices segment is estimated to register the highest growth rate primarily due to the funding provided by the regional extension centers (REC) to support to adoption of EHR among these users,” the report said.

Even so, other research has indicated it can be more difficult for smaller organizations located in rural areas to take advantage of such technology.

Research published in January 2018 in the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) found that 73 percent of surveyed ambulatory care practices with operational EHR systems were not using their EHR technology to its full potential. More than 40 percent of practices were also under-users, the survey showed.

“There are likely multiple factors involved in EHR and health IT under-use by ambulatory care practices,” the research team wrote. “Cost has been cited as the primary barrier to adopting an EHR system; similarly, upgrading a basic EHR to one more comprehensive may not be financially possible for practices with limited resources.”

The AJMC study also stressed the importance of policymakers enabling specialty care practices to fully use EHR functionalities. This is especially critical as ambulatory care practices continue to become more diverse. Barriers keeping small, rural, and specialty practices from engaging in more advanced EHR use must be overcome, the research team stated.

“Suboptimal use of critical health IT functionalities may have direct relevance for the quality of care provided by an individual practice as part of routine patient care,” researchers wrote. “Under-use of these technologies (such as health information exchange) may have consequences for the quality of care provided across the ambulatory care sector.” 

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