Cerner, Epic, NextGen lead in making outside patient data usable, says KLAS
A report released from KLAS this week ranked NextGen Healthcare, Cerner and Epic highly on measures of usability of shared patient data from outside sources.
The report specifically focused on acute and ambulatory electronic health record vendor adoption and usability of national interoperability networks Carequality and CommonWell Health Alliance.
"Based on the expectations healthcare organizations reported in early 2019, KLAS had expected to see progress from a larger number of vendors. However, little has changed for customers of Allscripts, athenahealth, CPSI, eClinicalWorks, Greenway Health, or MEDITECH," wrote report authors.
WHY IT MATTERS
As KLAS researchers noted in a parallel report also released this week, the CommonWell-Carequality connection has mostly been used by acute and ambulatory care health systems since it was established in 2018.
Of the main acute and ambulatory EHR vendors, KLAS reported, NextGen, Epic and Cerner provide strong usability experiences, specifically with regard to flow of outside data, reconciliation of problem, allergy, medication, and immunization (PAMI) data, lab data workflow and progress notes workflow.
NextGen had the strongest showing, especially when it came to duplicate medication data – which continues to frustrate provider organizations.
"NextGen Healthcare is the only vendor whose customers report significant improvement in this area. The NextGen EMR is able to filter out duplicate medications, even for inexact matches (e.g., Tylenol vs. acetaminophen). While other solutions may be capable of flagging duplicate information and removing some of it, customers say the process is often still very manual," wrote the report authors.
Although Epic and Cerner scored high for end-user experience and integration, customers say the next step is for vendors to reduce duplication of PAMI.
Overall, usability rates were lowest for CPSI and GreenWay Health.
Nearly all of athenahealth and Epic's customers have adopted the CommonWell connection, noted the report, with Cerner and NextGen showing leaps in the numbers of live customers in the past 18 months.
"Additionally, through the CommonWell-Carequality connection, Cerner customers can share with Epic exchange partners, opening up access to a large volume of data," wrote the researchers.
MEDHOST is the last major acute care EHR vendor to not be connected to either CommonWell or Carequality.
And although Allscripts was a founding member of CommonWell in 2013, it did not connect its first customer until this year.
THE LARGER TREND
In December 2018, KLAS reported that some health IT organizations were continuing to drag their feet on participating in new interoperability frameworks.
At the time, all of the most prevalent EHR vendors except Allscripts and MEDHOST were connected to CommonWell-Carequality – "putting the ability to exchange patient records within the reach of most acute care or clinic-based provider organizations, regardless of size or financial situation."
Now, nearly two years later, MEDHOST continues to be unconnected, with Allscripts only establishing a connection in the second half of 2020.
Meanwhile, other barriers to interoperability continue to be addressed. In October, Carequality parent, the Sequoia Project, announced that it's forming a new data usability workgroup focused on developing three implementation guides to data usability requirements for provider-to-provider, provider-to-public health agency and healthcare entity-to-consumer information exchange.
ON THE RECORD
"The national interoperability networks of Carequality and CommonWell Health Alliance have become some of the primary means by which patient records are shared between healthcare organizations in the U.S.," said KLAS researchers. However, the number of organizations connected to these plug-and-play networks and the usability of the shared data vary significantly depending on the EMR in use."