Epic dominates among providers eyeing an outpatient EHR change, but athenahealth is creeping in

HIMSS Analytics found 51 percent of providers are considering Epic while 26 percent are looking at athenahealth.
By Bill Siwicki
09:57 AM
Epic and athenahealth outpatient EHRs

The outpatient electronic health record system market is an epic market – one might also say it’s an Epic market.

When purchasing a new ambulatory EHR, or replacing or upgrading an existing ambulatory EHR system, 51.4 percent of healthcare provider organizations are considering EHR vendor Epic, up from 45.1 percent in 2016, according to the new HIMSS Analytics 9th Annual Outpatient PM and EHR Study.

[Also: One-third of eClinicalWorks customers prepping to switch EHR vendors, KLAS says]

“The market has gone back and forth for decades around the benefits of best of breed versus a single, integrated solution,” said Bryan Fiekers, senior director of research services at HIMSS Analytics. “As healthcare drives toward accountable care and value-based care, the integration of solutions and the flow of data across the enterprise becomes more critical.”

Health systems are working to migrate their outpatient facilities from disparate solutions to a more enterprise-based platform, and it just so happens that Epic does fairly well on the inpatient side as well, he added.

The HIMSS Analytics study shows soaring interest among providers in the EHR of athenahealth. 25.7 percent of providers looking for a new outpatient records system or seeking to replace or upgrade a system are considering athenahealth, up from just 7.4 percent in 2016, the study found.

[Also: Healthcare pros more suspicious of all EHR vendors after eClinicalWorks scandal]

“While Epic started with the inpatient market and rolled out to the outpatient, athena took the opposite, more grassroots approach, starting in the outpatient environment and climbing up the ladder to inpatient,” Fiekers said. “Ultimately some of the same forces behind Epic’s success are at play with athena.”

Additionally, athenahealth has done a good job of marketing its differentiated solutions to the industry, he added, and organizations are becoming more comfortable leveraging the cloud. As that happens, athenahealth’s value proposition increases, he said.

Among other EHR vendors, 17.1 percent of providers are considering Cerner, down from 21.3 percent in 2016; 15.7 percent are looking at embattled vendor eClinicalWorks, up slightly from 15.6 percent in 2016; and 14.3 percent are considering Allscripts, up from 13.9 percent in 2016, found the study, which examines many other vendors, as well.

Vendor eClinicalWorks recently was slapped with a large legal settlement by the U.S. Department of Justice. According to a recent KLAS study, 34 percent of providers with an eClinicalWorks EHR plan to migrate to another vendor. However, only 4 percent specifically said they’re leaving because of the settlement.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himssmedia.com

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