athenahealth, Cerner, Epic shine in KLAS interoperability report

Participants in a new survey gave high marks to Epic for its interoperability strengths
By Tom Sullivan
11:07 AM

Which electronic health record system is the easiest and most effective to connect to?

KLAS put that question to "customers, non-customers and vendors" and at least one of the top three might surprise a few users and health IT professionals.

Because some vendors are better than others at interoperating with outside EHRs, and the firm also gauged the effectiveness of doing so, it's not exactly a clear ranking – but the vendors who look good in the KLAS report are athenahealth, Cerner and Epic.

Here's a quick snapshot of what KLAS found: 

1. athenahealth is the easiest to connect to. The cloud-based vendor "delivers both simple and very complex connections," KLAS authors wrote, "choosing not to pass along many additional integration costs to customers." Both athenahealth customers and non-customers indicated that its EHR is easy to connect to because they can do so with a single interface.

2. Cerner is effective across complex connections. That said, "Cerner is rated lower by clients for higher integration costs and the lack of a simple switch to turn on sharing with other Cerner clients," KLAS explained. Other vendors said that licensing outside of CommonWell, costs and dealing with multiple software versions inhibit the effectiveness of interoperating with Cerner.

3. Interoperability is pervasive among Epic clients. KLAS found that "sharing is solid via point- to-point and HIE connections to organizations with foreign EMRs," and that "Epic customers share with other Epic customers in order to receive the same, often forcing competitive health systems to share whether they want to or not." Among non-customers, KLAS found "frustration" with Epic's self-imposed standards.

Here's where the plot thickens. The fact that Epic clients share data is well known, yet the vendor has the reputation of being more difficult to work with than anyone else.

"Perceptions are not in line with actual experiences. Some 44 percent of providers with no or very limited Epic experience report a perception that Epic struggles the most," KLAS explained. "Contrary to
 this perception, Epic customers, providers connecting into Epic, and even other vendors give Epic high marks for interoperability strengths."

Does your experience jibe with the KLAS report? 

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