Epic, Cerner, Meditech and McKesson tops at attesting to meaningful use, study claims

New data suggests that the EHR makers vary when it comes to enabling hospitals to collect EHR reimbursement dollars under meaningful use and the authors advise picking a vendor wisely.
By Beth Jones Sanborn
10:01 AM
EHRs meaningful use

Hospital IT shops considering a new EHR should take note: The vendor you choose will likely influence success at attesting to meaningful use and the reimbursement incentives doing so enables you to earn from the investment. 

That’s the takeaway from a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association titled “Are all certified EHRs created equal? Assessing the relationship between EHR vendor and hospital meaningful use performance.” 

[Also: Meaningful Measures specifics emerge: CMS program will track 18 areas]

Researchers found that four vendors stood out as the top performers across meaningful use stage two criteria: Epic, Cerner, Meditech and McKesson in that order. Epic had the largest market share among study participants, with 27.4 percent of hospitals using it, followed by Cerner with 25.1 percent. 

Meditech logged a 19.6 percent share and McKesson came in at 9.8 percent.  

Researchers from Harvard Business School, The School of Medicine at University of California-San Francisco and University of Michigan’s School of Public Health created a national hospital sample using data from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s EHR Products Used for Meaningful Use Attestation public use file, CMS April 2016 Medicare Electronic Health Record Incentive Program Eligible Hospitals public use file, data from the 2014 American Hospital Association Annual Survey to measure hospital characteristics.

[Also: Senators reintroduce EHR Regulatory Relief Act to dramatically change meaningful use]

Modular EHRs dominated the market in general, with 71.2 percent of hospitals using this type of EHR, compared to those who complete systems, 28.8 percent. Among hospitals that used modular systems, a little more than half, roughly 55 percent, used only one vendor. 

These rankings also represent Stage 2 meaningful use performance levels. The best performance was for the criteria looking at patients having the ability to view/download/transmit information, with 87.6 percent of hospitals scoring here. Ironically, the lowest average performance was for patients actually engaging in VDT, which saw results of only 15.1 percent.

Researchers took into account six criteria: number of medications ordered via computerized physician order entry functionality; whether at least 50 percent patients were provided with the ability to view, download and transmit data; whether five percent of patients actually viewed/downloaded/transmitted their health information; medication reconciliation capabilities; whether a summary of care record was provided for 50 percent of patients transitioning to another provider; and whether in at least 10 percent of those patients transferred, if a summary of care record was sent electronically. 

These findings suggest that hospitals and providers might want to thoroughly consider who they choose for a vendor if they are looking to achieve higher levels of meaningful use compliance and should not base decisions solely on the EHR certification process to make sure all EHR systems are on a level playing field when it comes to capabilities. 

“It is possible our results capture not only the impact of the software itself on meaningful use performance, but the quality of vendor support services,” the authors wrote. “Policy-makers may therefore wish to explore a certification process that includes an assessment of the quality of these services that holistically evaluates software and vendor support services.”

Twitter: @BethJSanborn
Email the writer: beth.sanborn@himssmedia.com