Acute care physicians happiest with Epic EHR, but eClinicalWorks and athenahealth score big in ambulatory settings

The biggest EHR winner in a new report gauging the majority of satisfied physicians was Practice Fusion – recently acquired by Allscripts – which operates almost exclusively in the ambulatory space.
By Jessica Davis
03:34 PM
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EHR satisfaction

“Clunky,” “burdensome” and “not user-friendly” are phrases often tossed around when describing EHRs since the industry made the switch from paper records. But not all physicians are dissatisfied with the technology. In fact, a new report from Reaction Data found that happiness with an EHR may depend on care setting.

Of the 39 percent of physicians happy with athenahealth’s platform, for instance, 50 percent were in the ambulatory setting, while only 13 percent of its acute care physicians had similar satisfaction. Another 19 percent were on the fence about the EHR. Fifty-three percent of eClinicalWorks ambulatory users, on the other hand, while 29 percent were on the fence. 

To get these numbers, Reaction Data analyzed information from tens of thousands of physicians across the country, focusing on those who are satisfied with their EHR.

[Also: EHR satisfaction survey 2017: After years of frustrations, user wish-list turns positive]

Epic also scored big with satisfaction, with 45 percent of users happy with the EHR. Of those, 48 percent were in the acute setting and 41 percent in ambulatory care. Around 22 percent were on the fence.

Ambulatory physicians showed overall happiness with their GE EHRs, the vendor’s primary market. But at the same time, 27 percent of users were on the fence.

Another surprise was that despite the controversy surrounding eClinicalWorks last year, 53 percent of users are happy with the EHR platform overall, all in the vendor’s ambulatory market. Although, 29 percent were on the fence.

The biggest winner was Practice Fusion, with a whopping 70 percent satisfaction rate overall in the ambulatory setting (the vendor’s marketplace) and only 5 percent of users on the fence about the product.
This is big news for Allscripts, which just announced the acquisition of Practice Fusion for $100 million, as Allscripts was one of the vendors on the low-end of satisfaction ratings among providers.

Only 16 percent of users are happy with Allscripts’ EHR, 11 percent were those in the acute setting and 18 percent ambulatory. Further, 12 percent were on the fence about the product. Buying Practice Fusion may help Allscripts improve its rank among physicians.

Cerner was another upset – only 22 percent of users said they were happy with the EHR, 25 percent in the acute setting and 19 percent ambulatory. And another 22 percent said they were on the fence.

Even fewer physicians were happy with their Meditech EHRs at only 15 percent. 

Further, 16 percent of ambulatory organizations and 11 percent of acute facilities plan to switch EHR vendors.

“For better or worse, EHRs have become, in many ways, the operating system of a healthcare organization. And as such there’s simply no way around it. Perhaps that’s why most physicians hate their EHR – they have no choice but to use it,” the report authors wrote. “Even the most publicly maligned EHR vendor has some organizations and physician users who are truly happy with them. Once vendors start profiling their ideal customer base, dissatisfaction will decrease, as will the churn rate.”

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com