Now, Epic targets smaller market

EHR giant goes for community hospitals, physician practices
By Bernie Monegain
10:45 AM

Having landed more than 250 mega multi-million dollar EHR installations in large hospitals and integrated delivery networks across the country, Epic is now making its way into smaller community hospitals. According to a new report, the move is providing new opportunities for the organizations.

Driving the uptake of Epic Community Connect among community hospitals are prospects of regional integration and cross-organizational connectivity, according to a new report from research firm KLAS.

The report, "Epic Enters the Community Space: Collaboration Brings Synergies for Smaller Organizations," discusses the recent ability of community providers to implement Epic via hosting partnerships with larger clients. The KLAS report focuses on Epic's move into community hospitals, but the EHR giant is also targeting physician practices with its Epic Community Connect offering.

[See also: MinuteClinic taps Epic for EMR.]

Some 74 percent of community hospital providers surveyed by KLAS reported the partnership and connectivity gained through using Epic Community Connect had a positive impact on patient care, according to KLAS.

However, along with significant benefits that included training, application resources and affordability, providers also reported specific challenges and risks. Most often mentioned was decreased decision-making autonomy, which appeared to be top of mind, with 53 percent of respondents reporting it as a substantial challenge.

"The end goal for community providers using Epic Community Connect is improved patient sharing on a regional level," said Paul Pitcher, report author and research director at KLAS, in a statement. "Through these hosted partnerships with larger players, community providers are also seeing opportunities for implementing initiatives such as ACOs and population health management. While the transition is not without its challenges, the feedback from community providers has been overwhelmingly positive."

[See also: athenahealth topples Epic on KLAS list.]