The success of that Epic Systems has had in getting health systems and hospitals to sign sizeable contracts to implement and maintain their EHR systems cannot be argued. That being said, the EHR industry leader has caught its fair share of flak from critics as a result of its price tag or the demands it places on healthcare organizations and providers when it comes to adopting Epic EHR (or even the criticism that being the top brand necessarily leads to — “A favourite has no has friend!” Thomas Gray once wrote).
In a recent post on his personal blog, John Halamka, MD, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and one of the rare few not using Epic, explores the potential motivations driving healthcare organizations to make the switch to the market leader’s EHR. As he notes on Life as a Healthcare CIO, most of his neighboring CIOs and hospitals are in the process or considering adopting an EHR from Epic.
According to Halamka, there are no less than five reasons why hospitals are choosing Epic EHR over other EHR vendors.
First off, Epic EHR provides a product that gets clinicians to buy in, perhaps the most influential determinant in a successful EHR adoption. “Epic systems sells software, but more importantly it has perfected a methodology to gain clinician buy in to adopt a single configuration of a single product. Although there are a few clinician CIOs, most IT senior management teams have difficulty motivating clinicians to standardize work,” he writes.
Secondly, hospital EHR adoption of Epic, observes Halamka, eases the demands on health information managers and IT staff whose ability to make changes to the system’s functionalities is dependent on the company’s release schedule for updates, upgrades, and the like.
Thirdly, hospitals eligible for or participating in the EHR Incentive Programs, the worry over an EHR company’s sustainability or ability to achieve and maintain meaningful use certification is eliminated. “It’s a safe bet for Meaningful Use Stage 2. Epic has a strong track record of providing products and the change management required to help hospital and professionals achieve meaningful use,” claims Halamka.
Fourthly, the decision to adopt Epic is both a popular and safe decision. “No one got fired by buying Epic,” says Halamka. That doesn’t mean the vendor’s EHR is without flaws. However, having Epic EHR implemented “is seen in some markets as a competitive advantage to attract and retain doctors,” notes the healthcare CIO.
Lastly, Epic EHR system is a streamlined, deeply integrated solution. With interoperability proving a challenge to some hospitals that have chosen a best-of-breed approach, having one go-to system enables Epic EHR Systems adopters to integrate clinical settings.
Although BIDMC haven’t sipped the Kool-Aid, few hospitals have such a unique and versatile resource as Halamka. In lieu of having a technically-sound and -gifted CIO at the helm, putting faith into Epic EHR is an attractive choice for those who can afford it.
Read Halamka’s complete post here.