Athenahealth, Cerner, Epic see wide adoption of population health platforms

But KLAS analysis suggests that what providers want in a PHM solution going forward is likely to evolve.
By Bernie Monegain
01:35 PM
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population health platforms

While much of the population health management work hospitals are undertaking today relies on EHRs, new research from KLAS uncovered a crop of technology companies gaining purchase in the realm: IBM Watson Health, Philips Wellcentive and HealthEC. 

EHR vendors athenahealth, Cerner and Epic are still seeing stronger deployment of their pop health tools than these third-party vendors, KLAS noted. 

Research firm BlackBook said over the summer that Epic, Cerner and Allscripts are poised to dominate the population health market as a wave of mergers, acquisitions and consolidation is coming. 

[Also: Population health is in a major state of change]

Here’s the rub: “No one tool is yet used for all basic functionalities,” KLAS found.  

KLAS, in fact, identified six verticals of IT functionality required for PHM: data aggregation, data analysis, care management, administrative and financial reporting, patient engagement and clinical engagement.

“Since many organizations are trying to get as close as they can to a one-stop shop, EMR vendors see strong cross-vertical deployment,” the report said. And that’s where the plot twists a bit. “New vendors have emerged, resulting in a diverse array of technologies that may address one or all of the different PHM verticals.”

To that end, KLAS cited IBM’s string of acquisitions including Phytel and Explorys building out Watson’s strengths, Philips Wellcentive broadening in those vertical capabilities and HealthEC’s nimble development as making them pop health management options for hospitals looking outside their EHR vendor’s existing product portfolio. 

Exactly who will win out in the long-run, however, remains to be seen and even though KLAS called out the aforementioned vendors specifically as leaders it included a total of 23 companies in its broader population health lineup. 

It’s also worth noting that pop health is a broad and continually advancing trend -- meaning that hospital technology needs, too, will change moving forward. 

HIMSS Analytics, in fact, said in mid-September population health today is primarily a manual process but the firm expects that to change as the technologies mature. 

“As provider organizations enter into more risk-based agreements, what they need and expect from PHM solutions evolves,” according to the report. 

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com