EMR Adoption – Acute Care Hospitals

My last article covered EMR adoption in the Ambulatory space. This is a review of EMR adoption in Acute Care Hospitals and the prominent vendors of EMRs in the hospital market.

According to ONC Health Information Technology, as of July 2017, 186 certified health IT developers supplied certified health IT to the 4,520 non-federal acute care hospitals, participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. Of those 4,520 hospitals, 96% have 2014 certified edition technology. Cerner, MEDITECH, Epic Systems, CPSI and its subsidiaries, McKesson, and MEDHOST supplied 2014 certified technology to 92% of hospitals that have reported.

According to ONC, “Certified health information technology (health IT) meets the technological capability, functionality, and security requirements adopted by the Department of Health and Human Services. The order above reflects vendors of commercial certified health IT only.”

According to a new report from KLAS (Utah Based Health Informatics research company) US Hospital EMR Market Share in 2016, shows that Epic (25.8%) and Cerner (24.6%) led the EMR market space for acute care hospitals in the United States, with Meditech (16.6%) following close behind. The data in this study is based on acute care EMR purchasing activity that occurred in the United States from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2016.

Thirteen of 23 contracts for integrated delivery networks (multi-hospital organizations) went to Epic. Small community hospitals with less than 200 beds, accounted for 80 percent of all hospital EHR decisions in 2016 with Cerner being most popular. However, athenahealth, more recent to the EMR market, grew the most. The number of hospitals that contracted with athenahealth more than doubled in 2016, and one third of the new hospitals included more than 25 beds.

In other EMR vendor news, Epic is entering the smaller hospital market with less expensive, scaled-down EMR versions due out later this year. In addition to the full enterprise EMR, called All Terrain, Epic will offer a mid-range version with fewer modules called Utility which will target mid- to small-size organizations. They also have a more slimmed down model with even fewer features and modules called Sonnet. Sonnet will target smaller hospitals with limited ancillary services, post-acute care facilities, and physician practices. Judy Faulkner, CEO and founder of Epic Systems, recently called these three versions “Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear”. No release date for the new offerings has been announced.

With this move, Epic will be in direct competition with vendors like athenahealth. Currently, athena has nearly 10% of independent small hospitals in the U.S. with 50 beds or fewer, and CEO Jonathan Bush the goal is to reach 20% by year’s end.

As the hospital merger and consolidation continues with the large academic hospitals scooping up the smaller acute hospitals, the ability for the EMR vendors to cost effectively consolidate and integrate with the big academic EMRs is promoting an interesting competitive marketplace for the EMR vendors.

It will be interesting to see Epic’s impact in the smaller hospital EMR market with these new versions.