Vendors abound, but serious options are lacking in HIE market

By Mike Miliard
10:15 AM

A new KLAS report, which examines the health information exchange purchase plans of nearly 100 healthcare organizations, has found that, despite a crowded market, very few companies so far have consistently earned the confidence of providers.

Whether connecting hospitals or linking to community physicians, healthcare providers considered 38 unique vendors in their search for health information exchange (HIE) technology, according to the KLAS report. Amid that crowded market, however, only five companies were considered in more than 10 percent of buying decisions.
 
The KLAS report, "Health Information Exchanges: Perception in an Expanding Frontier," examines the HIE software purchases or planned purchases of 95 healthcare providers, including which vendors they considered in their search. While nearly 40 vendors were named in the research, just a handful were considered with relative frequency.

Of those, Medicity was considered in 23 percent of HIE buying decisions, followed by Axolotl (22 percent), RelayHealth (16 percent), ICA (11 percent) and Epic (11 percent). The report noted, however, that at this point Epic is strongly considered only for Epic-to-Epic connections.
 
"The sheer number of HIE vendors vying for provider mindshare makes finding the right solution uniquely challenging," said Jason Hess, general manager of clinical research for KLAS and author of the new report. "Technology, cost and integration were the selection criteria most often mentioned by prospective buyers, but evaluating those factors is especially difficult when most HIE vendors can point to only a handful of live deployments."
 
The KLAS report also notes how the structure and management of a health information exchange dictates, in part, the kind of solution a provider will consider:

  • Public HIEs – A public exchange may belong to official state agencies or may be semi-independent with direct and typically temporary government backing. Public HIEs demand solutions with strong potential scalability and need standards-based technology.
  • Cooperative HIEs – In this model, otherwise-competitive hospitals work together to form independent HIE organizations, generally with an open invitation to other hospitals, clinics and physician practices. These HIEs often struggle to establish long-term funding and look for vendor solutions that offer flexible and affordable cost alternatives while best adapting diverse EMR technologies.
  • Private HIEs – In some respects, private HIEs are designed to enhance relationships as well as exchange data. Often, a single hospital or IDN creates an HIE hoping to draw in community physicians while protecting or increasing revenues. Funding is less complicated and these HIEs are more likely to be satisfied with solutions that best work with their existing technology.

Among the 38 vendors referenced by providers in the survey these 10 were considered most often: Axolotl, Cerner, dbMotion, Epic, GE, ICA, InterSystems, Medicity, Orion and RelayHealth.