Epic leads way on EHR interoperability, says KLAS
A KLAS report released this week took a deep dive into how healthcare organizations perceive their electronic health record vendors' role in helping them to achieve meaningful interoperability.
While all vendors have room to improve, the report found that Epic stands out as the leader, with almost all customers saying they have access to outside data.
"Both Epic and non-Epic customers feel the vendor’s commitment to outside sharing has grown," wrote KLAS researchers.
WHY IT MATTERS
KLAS defines "deep interoperability" as providers' ability to have consistent access to outside data; easily locate patient records; view outside data inside their EHR workflows; and experience positive, frequent impacts on patient care.
Using that criteria, KLAS found that nearly two-thirds of Epic customers were able to achieve deep interoperability, followed by Cerner with 28% of customers, NextGen Healthcare at 19%, Allscripts Sunrise at 18%, and eClinicalWorks at 14%.
Report authors noted that Cerner has quadrupled its customers who report deep interoperability since 2017, with progress coming from "significant improvements" to how fluidly records are presented in the clinical view and increased use of CommonWell.
"When it comes to making initial connections to outside EMRs or national networks, customers have started to see more proactivity from Cerner; in the past, organizations didn’t see much progress without investing significant internal effort."
Meanwhile, Greenway Health, Meditech and Allscripts customers' interoperability progress has stagnated, says the report.
Although Meditech's migration to Expanse has been largely positive, KLAS said, "customers are left to drive interoperability on their own and, right now, are mainly focused on getting the new platform up and running and learning how to leverage product workflows."
Greenway Health's progress, it continued, has been hindered by frequent leadership turnover and the prioritization of other areas besides interoperability.
For Allscripts customers, "getting initial access to electronic records is a challenge but possible with enough internal effort," according to the report.
THE LARGER TREND
Epic's record-sharing numbers on its Care Everywhere platform showed a big jump this year, according to data the EHR giant released earlier this month.
Epic representatives said the increase mirrored the desire for mobility and increasing demand for healthcare services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
"With COVID-19, we got to see some of the value of that [interoperability] work at Epic," said Dave Fuhrmann, senior vice president of interoperability at the company.
Meanwhile, Cerner revealed new interoperability tools in October, with CEO Brent Shafer saying COVID-19 has "inspired a burst of innovation."
ON THE RECORD
"Past KLAS reports have shown that most vendors achieve a high degree of deep interoperability when it comes to customers exchanging data with organizations using the same EMR," wrote report authors.
"This year, Epic and athenahealth customers continued to report a high degree of satisfaction. Cerner, NextGen Healthcare, and Meditech customers are starting to see more progress; Cerner customers would like the vendor to be more proactive. Allscripts, eClinicalWorks, and Greenway Health customers feel their vendor still has a ways to go," they said.