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KLAS: Epic Losing Ground To Cerner

Posted on September 6, 2013 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.

At this point in the EMR buying cycle, one would figure that the market for new hospital EMR purchases is pretty saturated, especially among larger hospitals with the capital to invest in big health IT projects. But according to a recent blog entry from KLAS, that’s not exactly the case.

In his blog item, KLAS researcher Colin Buckley notes that his firm has been watching clinical IT vendor wins and losses at 200+ bed hospitals for 10 years.  During that period — and especially post- Meaningful Use — KLAS has seen a growing number of new hospital EMR contracts.

By this point, after lots of EMR buying, and some switching out technology for second and third-choice EMRs, one might think that over-200-bed hospitals had settled on a platform that they could live with through Meaningful  Use Stage 3. Actually, not quite, Buckley says.

In fact, KLAS data shows that there are more hospitals running legacy EMRs, homegrown EMRs or no EMR at all than those who have bought a currently-marketed solution sometime in the past four years. And it’s likely these hospitals will be choosing a new EMR from the current vendor marketplace within the new few years, KLAS projects.

As sales increase in the 200+ bed hospital segment, market forces are shifting to favor new vendors. What’s particularly noteworthy about this is that the research firm has seen the ratio of Epic-to-Cerner wins shrink from 5-to-1 in 2010 to 2-to-1 in 2012.

According to KLAS, the hospitals that are likely to be out buying new EMRs look different than those which have already bought and implemented the EMR they’ll use for the next several years. “They are smaller and more cost conscious than the large hospital IDNs that have given Epic a lion’s share of wins year after year,” Buckley writes.

With Cerner and Epic busy eating each other’s lunch, Allscripts, MEDITECH, McKesson and Siemens are moving ahead as quickly as possible to roll out integrated ancillary and ambulatory solutions, Buckley notes. In other words, the competition for both ambulatory and hospital EMRs is far from played out.

Despite all of this activity, we are clearly in a late stage of the EMR market as a whole, or as my colleague John Lynn puts it, “the Golden Age of EHR adoption is over.” But if KLAS is right, there’s still some very healthy bucks to be made selling to laggard mid-sized hospitals. Let’s see if vendors used to serving hospital giants can adapt in time.

AHA, AMA Seek More Flexible Meaningful Use Requirements

Posted on July 30, 2013 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.

The American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association have sent a joint letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking for more flexibility in the requirements for the Meaningful Use program, iHealthBeat reports.

The two trade groups, which called the program’s requirements “overly burdensome,” argue that as the current Meaningful Use program is structured, it’s too hard for some providers to keep up. “[W]e believe that the best way to move the program forward and ensure that no providers, particularly small and rural ones, are left behind is to realign the meaningful use program’s current requirements to ensure a safe, orderly transition to Stage 2,” the letter adds.

The letter makes four recommendations to improve the Meaningful Use program for providers, iHealthBeat notes:

* Let providers meet Stage 1 requirements using either a 2011- or 2014-certified EMR

* Set up a 90-day reporting period for the first year of each new stage of the program, applicable to all providers;

* Give providers increased flexibility to meet Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements

* Extend each stage of the Meaningful Use  program to a minimum term of three years for all providers

The AHA submitted also submitted testimony to the Senate Finance Committee last week asking legislators to give providers more flexibility within the Meaningful Use program.

As things stand, unless current requirements for electronic clinical quality measures are changed, “clinicians [will be] spending extensive amounts of time working for the EHRs” rather than having the EMRs work for them, the trade group suggested.

As part of its testimony, the AHA presented case studies drawn from four separate hospitals. Based on the issues arising at these hospitals, the group recommended several changes to MU, including using fewer, better-tested electronic quality reporting measures, starting with Stage 2, and making EMRs and electronic clinical quality measure reporting tools more flexible to align data capture with the nuances of workflow.

Many Hospital Executives Expect Big Health IT Investments This Year

Posted on May 8, 2013 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.

Surprise, surprise.  A new report from the Premier healthcare alliance finds that many hospital executives will make their largest capital investments in IT this year.

To prepare the report, known as the spring 2013 Economic Outlook, Premier spoke with 530 survey respondents, most of whom were hospital leaders.  Survey respondents also included materials and practice area managers, reports iHealthBeat.

Roughly 43 percent of respondents said that their health organization’s biggest capital investment over the next year would be in health IT, a jump of 21 percent from two years ago.  Offering a hint on where the money may be going, the report also found that 32 percent of respondents can’t currently share data across the continuum of care.

Other clues as to where the spending is going come from the study’s topline finding, which predicts a big shift from inpatient to outpatient care.

According to Premier, only 35 percent of respondents are expecting to see an increase in inpatient spending this year as compared to 2012, down 30 percent from predictions made last year. Meanwhile, 69 percent of respondents said they expect to see an increase in 2013 outpatient volume compared to last year.

Some additional intelligence from the report:

* 22 percent of respondents are in an ACO, and 55 percent plan to be by the end of next year

* 27 percent don’t have plans to pursue the ACO model, and may look to bundled payment, care management fees or pay for  performance options

*  29 percent said overutilization of products and services and 22 percent said lack of clinical coordination were the biggest drivers of healthcare costs

* 48 percent said reimbursement cuts had the biggest impact on their health systems

* 40 percent said capital spending would increase over the next 12 months as compared with the previous year

* Almost 37 percent project a capital spending decrease

Survey: Healthcare CIOs Average $200K In Annual Base Salary

Posted on April 9, 2013 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.

While numbers varied widely depending on organizational factors, healthcare CIOs earned an average base salary of $208,417 in 2012, according to a recent survey conducted by CHIME.

The survey, which drew responses from small, medium-sized, large and rural facilities, drew responses from 263 CIOs from late December 2012 and early January 2013.

Some key findings from the survey included the following:

Multi-hospital, academic medical center execs make more  The average base salary reported for multi-hospital system execs was $254,054. and the academic medical center CIOs reported an average $243,229 base salary.

Smaller-hospital CIOs make much less  Top IT execs at the smallest hospitals, CAHs with 25 beds or less, got an average base salary of $125,573. Execs at hospitals with fewer than 200 beds reported an average base salary of $150,956, or about 28 percent than the overall average, notes iHealthBeat.

Standalone execs make less  CIOs with stand-alone community hospitals also responded lower income than the average, at $178,786, roughly 14 percent less than the overall average.

*  Titles matter, a lot  Hospital leaders with the title of CIO had average base salaries of $199,890, about four percent less than the overall survey average, but when they had additional titles salaries went up starkly. CIOs who were also titled vice president had an average salary of $206,788, while those with CIO and executive vice president had an average salary of $310,326, or almost 49 percent over average.  Meanwhile directors of IS or IT averaged $128,193, or about 38 percent less than the survey average.

Reporting relationships count As iHealthBeat reports, salaries varied depending on who the CIO reports to in the organization.  The 44 percent of respondents who report to the CEO earned ann average of $217,170, or about 4 percent more than average.  Meanwhile, those reporting to the CFO earned an average base salary of $175,263, or 16 percent less than the average of salaries reported.

Few and small raises reported  Despite the huge amount on health IT execs’ plates, most survey respondents reported minimal  pay raises, with almost 75 percent saying that their base salaries increased by less than 5 percent between 2011 and 2012.

So, readers, how do these numbers look to you?  Do they reflect the realities of your institutions? And how about those low raises — think hospitals are risking losing critical talent by holding that line?

Real-Time Responses To EMR Training

Posted on February 28, 2013 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.

Teaching hospital staffers and clinicians to use your EMR is a hard enough job. Figurng out just what they didn’t learn during training is even harder. But here’s a trick some hospital administrators and IT leaders are using to do just that.

A report in the HealthTechZone blog notes that at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago, they’ve already seen some success with a technology that allows audiences to respond to quizzes embedded in EMR training materials.

The hospital’s training sessions use a polling software application called TurningPoint which allows audience members to respond to questions in real time, using either their smart phones or “ResponseCard” keypads. The technology also allows presenters to bring in audience members not in the room at presentation time and collect their responses to polls remotely.

At St. Joseph, administrators use this technology to structure their EMR training sessions more effectively and focus in on areas where the audience seems not to have understood what was presented.  It’s as simple as sending the training group on a break, reviewing the quiz and reorganizing PowerPoint slides to re-emphasize any points that the audience missed.

But the response technology’s use doesn’t end there, the blog reports. Once the formal training is over, administrators hand audience polling results to the IT team. IT administrators then use the data to address employee concerns as they proceed with the EMR rollout.

I think this is a great approach, not only for training but for gauging employee (and clinician) support for the EMR rollout, gathering input on the effectiveness of the EMR in users’ daily work lives, and generally fostering EMR acceptance by having a finger on the pulse of user sentiment.  Readers, have you tried anything like this?

The Dawn Of “Compliance As A Service”?

Posted on October 5, 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.

A few days ago, I posted a quick report on our EMRandHIPAA.com sister site discussing Verizon’s plans to offer a HIPAA-compliant cloud service.

Verizon, which has beefed up on security services over the past few years, seems to see its role as being compliance vendor rather than just a mere business associate.  The carrier notes that not only does it offer super-secure data centers, it has trained staffers on HIPAA-specific data handling issues.

But Verizon obviously isn’t the only cloud vendor out there capable of offering HIPAA-compliant services. Could this be the dawn of CaaS (compliance as a service) for healthcare? (Others industries, like banking, are already well into this approach.)

According to reader Scott Gardner, who commented on the story, this concept has legs. “I’ve been pitching [Compliance As A Service] to cloud-based persistency vendors targeting mobility for some time,” writes Gardner, whose company Inyago focuses on private practice IT services via MacPractice. “Offering this service makes perfect sense, especially in private practice healthcare. And you get interoperability (core #14) right out of the box for all users on the platform.”

The burning question here, I suppose, is whether CIOs feel safe trusting outsiders with clinical data flow. Right now the answer seems to be “no.” As my colleague John noted in a related blog post, at present even those providers who are cloud users are more prone to access it for “commodity” services such as e-mail, file storage, videoconferencing and online learning, according to a CDW survey.

With providers needing interoperability under Meaningful Use Stage 2, the landscape may change, however. Whether or not they’re terribly comfortable with Verizon and its rivals, CIOs might find it easier to delegate compliance than cope with the difficulties of build-your-own-interoperability schemes. So perhaps CaaS really does have a chance at achieving rapid uptake — unless someone invents the insta-install HIE!

Health Management Associates Makes System-Wide Deal With athenahealth

Posted on September 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.

Cloud-based EMR vendor Athenahealth has struck a deal with hospital chain Health Management Associates that its vendor competitors would die for.

HMA has signed an agreement with athena under which the chain’s 1200+ employed physicians — cutting across 15 states and 300 locations — will now use the vendor’s practice management, EMR and patient communication services. HMA’s 10,000-odd independent physicians will also have access to the systems.

In the announcement, HMA and athena took pains to emphasize that the selection process was a fair and thorough one:

Health Management selected athenahealth after a twelve-month review and due diligence process that involved more than 350 clinical experts, including more than 200 physicians. The evaluation process included detailed questionnaires, onsite and virtual demonstrations, site visits, and clinical template shootouts.

Perhaps those details were included to convince observers that the deal didn’t include some kind of payola. I don’t think doctors are going to be too impressed by the IT talk. (If it were me I’d care about only one demonstration — how it worked for me on Day One.)

HMA may not be the country’s largest hospital chain, but it’s still a heavyweight, operating 66 hospitals spanning 10,330 licensed beds. Its hospitals span Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia.

Particularly given its scale, this deal intrigues me for a few reasons. It raises what seem to me to be important questions:

* Is HMA expecting its independent physicians to dump whatever EMR they may already have in place and switch it out for athena?  Or adopt its practice management module instead of what they use now?  That seems, uh, a bit unrealistic?

* I don’t know what enterprise EMR system HMA uses (do you, readers?) but whatever it is, I doubt it will plug seamlessly into to the athena cloud.  How do the IT types at HMA plan to connect the whole schlemiel?

* If the independent physicians don’t want to adopt the athena package, what will HMA do? Club them like baby seals?  Or just accept that a large percentage of its docs aren’t connected?

What Won’t Happen In #HIT By September 2013

Posted on September 7, 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.

As part of the upcoming National Health IT Week (#NHITWeek), which takes place September 10 through 14th) my august colleague John has written up a list of ways in #HIT is likely to make a difference over the next 12 months.  (He makes some great guesses; definitely give the post a look.)

For my part, being the naughty contrarian that I am, I thought It’d turn John’s blog post on its head and answer the question “What Won’t Come Together In Health IT Over the Next 12 Months?”  Here’s some of my predictions:

* EMR-to-EMR interoperability:  Folks, from what I see we’re definitely more than a year from having a workable form of interoperability between systems or even routine high-volume data sharing. Really, do I even have to debate this one?

High penetration by HIEs:  With funding mechanisms and goals ranging all over the map — and players including health plans, broadband network providers like Verizon, hospital coalitions and more — I just can’t see the HIE picking up a lot more market share over the next 12 months. Too many organizations involved, and too much to figure out.

Major uptick in open-source HIT  use:  Time and again, I’m reminded that far too many hospital leaders, government CIOs and medical practice leaders aren’t ready to take open-source tools seriously despite the myriad of good reasons to do so. I don’t think this is poised to change in the near term, sadly.

Epic controls the hospital EMR world for good:  Yes, hospitals are still switching over to Epic. And yes, hospital cutovers to Epic probably haven’t even hit their all-time peak.  But the smaller to medium-sized hospitals that just can’t afford Epic are still in play, and there’s a lot of them. Let’s see who comes riding in to put the lock on this niche before we crown Epic world heavyweight champ.

* Major growth in remote monitoring:  Mobile technologies are becoming more critical daily to the practice of medicine. But somehow, that doesn’t translate to a hunger for home-monitoring patients using, say, wireless glucose monitors. I’ve been watching this sector for years and it still seems like it could explode, but I’m not seeing critical mass this year.

Having been Scrooge for a bit, I certainly have to join John in saying that yes, this is likely to be a pivotal year for the EMR industry, and for #HIT entrepreneurs.  I just think we’re going to remain stuck with some of these legacy issues for some time to come.

Hospitals Adjusting to Meaningful Use Stage 2 Rules

Posted on August 30, 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.

We knew the final draft of Meaningful Use Stage 2 was going to come with as many complaints against it as Stage 1. Given the scope of the new rules, and the importance of following them, hospitals don’t seem to be up at arms to the extent one might have expected.

To start with, it’s worth noting that hospitals are very happy about one change from the draft, the provision that requires Stage 2 compliance to begin in 2014 rather than 2013, though they still have some significant Meaningful Use worries, according to an AHA official quoted in Modern Healthcare. Presumably, the AHA is also psyched that providers will only be required to demonstrate MU for a three month period in 2014, rather than an entire year.

But that doesn’t mean they’re perfectly content. Senior vice president of public policy analysis and development Linda Fishman said in a statement that hospitals are “disappointed” that the rule sets an “unrealistic” date by which hospitals must meet Stage 1 goals in order to  avoid being slapped with reimbursement penalties.

Other provider groups are focused on a new provision requiring 5 percent of patients to view, download or transmit health information during a three month period. The College of Healthcare Management Executives’ noted, quite fairly, that providers can’t control what patients do on their own time. If nothing else, making sure patients meet these goals is going to take marketing, workflow changes and some arm-twisting, to say the least, so I feel their pain.

Meanwhile, some non-hospital groups think Stage 2 didn’t go far enough. The requirement that physicians submit an electronic summary of care docs for 10 percent of patients being transferred to a hospital or another provider does far too little to promote data exchange, critics in the HIE world say.

I too am surprised that HIE-type requirements are relatively light (and focused on Direct Project specs). I’m sure that Meaningful Use Stage 3 will address these issues further, but given what our guy Farzad has said about interoperability, it might have been nice to see more progress now.

5 Mistakes Healthcare Vendors Make in Tracking Customer Satisfaction

Posted on August 17, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Chris O’Neal is Managing Partner at KATALUS Advisors. KATALUS Advisors is a strategic consulting firm focused on the healthcare vertical. We serve healthcare technology vendors, hospitals, and private equity groups in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Our services span growth strategies in new and existing markets, M&A due diligence, market analysis, and advisory services. www.KATALUSadvisors.com

A lot of our work revolves around helping our healthcare vendor clients engage with their customers, specifically to track satisfaction and loyalty. We have seen what passes for customer research in the industry, and while the efforts are commendable, the execution typically leaves a lot to be desired. There are five common mistakes we regularly see healthcare vendors make in their customer loyalty programs:

  1. Survey Fatigue: Most companies use lengthy, complex surveys which just take too much time. Also, providers get hit with a lot of survey requests. These two concerns induce low response rates and poor data quality.
  2. Low Response Rates: Many structured survey programs yield single-digit response rates. If this is the case for your program, you need to rethink the entire process, from how you notify your customers to the tools you are using to gather information. Getting more of your customers engaged is as much about process as it is about product.
  3. Low Frequency: Given the effort required to conduct a wide-ranging customer satisfaction poll, most vendors who do so usually engage once a year, or twice a year tops. Too many things are happening in your customer base in the intervening six or twelve months to stay out of touch.
  4. Lack of Consumability: Typically, it takes weeks and months for a customer research program to turn around the results of the campaign. To be truly effective, the information needs to be as close to real time as possible. That means making the data immediately available and consumable for decision makers as it comes in, not after the fact.
  5. Lack of Closing the Loop: Few customer research programs provide an effective means for applying the results in a way that positively and quickly impacts the customer experience.

Savvy vendors are finding ways to avoid these common mistakes. These companies understand that engaging customers in a consistent, meaningful manner must be a corporate focus, not an afterthought. And customer satisfaction is only becoming more important for hospitals as well, as requirements around patient engagement and similar initiatives will likely be part of the ACO model.