Differences Between ROI, Ease of Meaningful Use Vary Between Vendors

Posted on March 21, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

New research by KLAS seems to have uncovered important differences between the way EMR vendors perform when organizations are mounting them for Meaningful Use compliance.

According to the research firm, which interviewed 104 MU-compliant providers, both large and small hospitals successfully passed through Meaningful Use attestation.  However, the choice of vendor did seem to make a difference — one which, if KLAS is right, hospitals would be ill-advised to ignore.

KLAS concluded that hospitals using Allscripts, Healthland, HMS, McKesson had a harder time moving ahead on MU than organizations that went with MEDITECH, Cerner, CPSI and Epic. (It should be noted that while MEDITECH had the highest number of successful attesters, most of those came from a single large IDN, which makes it a bit hard to tell whether the IDN’s execution strategy or the product deserves the credit.)

One surprising bit of data, for me at least, that community hospitals were having an easier time covering their costs than larger IDNs.  KLAS notes that this varied from vendor to vendor, but didn’t name which were the higher performers.

Why the difference? My guess is that the bigger IDNs bought “Extormity” software (such as Epic and Cerner) and are having a hard time paying for it; that they have higher integration costs; and that they’re dealing with larger piles of smoking heaps of machinery (oh, excuse me, I meant very outdated mainframes and what have you).

As for problems, providers obviously had plenty to share.  Reporting and problem list functions were the most commonly reported challenges, KLAS said. In these areas, it seems, all vendors performed poorly, including the ever-popular Epic Systems.