Epic, Cerner, Allscripts moving to dominate the population health market

A wave of consolidation is coming, industry analysts say, and leading electronic health records platforms will emerge as more appealing to hospitals than standalone options.
By Tom Sullivan
01:14 PM
population health market epic, cerner, allscripts

As EHR vendors are adding features and functionality for value-based and patient-centric care, hospitals will increasingly turn to those platforms for population health management initiatives instead of implementing standalone products.

“With Cerner and Epic holding 51 percent of hospital EHR market share, and Allscripts also deep into fully-funding integrated PHM, I would expect there will be fewer and fewer large systems adopting new standalone PHM products,” BlackBook Managing Partner Doug Brown said.

Brown predicted a coming wave of consolidation as hospitals move from best-of-breed to integrated platforms for population health management and leading EHR vendors acquire pure-play PHM companies and technologies.  

Indeed, HIMSS Analytics ranked EHRs as the most common tool that hospitals are using for population health management projects currently underway in its second annual population health survey. The other commonly-used technologies include portals, patient engagement tools, manual care management, data aggregation software, analytics and business intelligence programs. 

[Also: Allscripts, Cerner, Epic signal more open EHRs ahead]

The course of natural market maturation would suggest that the number of products will be whittled down considerably and, while it’s not clear exactly how many tools hospitals will need to successfully run population health management programs, HIMSS Analytics Research Director Brendan FitzGerald previously said that “it doesn’t have to be 30 products.”

Brown said that EHRs — particularly those equipped to handle managed care, longitudinal patient records and billing — will be more appealing to hospitals than pure-play population health platforms. And he said that Epic, Cerner and Allscripts are investing seriously into new population health platforms that enable patient-centric and quality-based care that hospitals need to transition away from fee-for-service. 

BlackBook found that 90 percent of surveyed CIOs, CFOs and hospital managers, in fact, anticipate that population health platforms will operate as next-generation patient accounting systems encompassing care collaboration and coordination as well as patient engagement features and functions for measuring outcomes and overall system performance. 

That said, standalone PHMs won’t disappear anytime soon and, instead, will battle for market share among smaller healthcare organizations with the likes of Meditech, athenahealth, CPSI, and HMS, Brown said.

“Those customers are up for grabs,” Brown said, “but far less lucrative for standalone PHM vendors than the market presented 2 years ago.” 

Twitter: SullyHIT
Email the writer: tom.sullivan@himssmedia.com

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