Good EHR Bets for Multispecialty Groups Surface in Survey

March 22, 2012

March 22, 2012 — Electronic health record (EHR) systems from Epic Systems and Cerner are the safest bets for large groups and hospitals that want to please primary care physicians plus the widest range of specialists with a single program, according to a new report by the research firm KLAS.

Designing an EHR program for specialists as well as primary care physicians has challenged software makers, as KLAS found out when it interviewed more than 700 medical professionals. Internists and family physicians are the happiest with their software, posting scores of 7.6 and 7.5 on a 9-point satisfaction scale, respectively. At the low end of the ratings are oncologists and ophthalmologists, at 5.8.

KLAS zeroed in on Epic, Cerner, and 4 other vendors in an analysis of EHRs that can provide broad specialty coverage in a large group or hospital. Epic and Cerner stand out from the rest because their inpatient and ambulatory EHRs are built on the same software platform, and thus do not need special interface software for exchanging data.

Epic scores in the top quartile of performance ratings in 4 specialties (family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, and pediatrics), and in the middle quartile for 11 others. Such high scores help explain why Epic's ambulatory EHR consistently tops the KLAS EHR charts among larger groups.

Gastroenterology is a bottom-quartile specialty for Cerner; otherwise, the vendor posts performance scores in the middle quartile for 10 other specialties. Cerner also earns a nod for giving physicians the same screen experience whether they are in the office or hospital.

"Cerner and Epic offer the most comprehensive and highly rated [EHR] solutions across multiple disciplines," the KLAS report concluded.

The other 4 vendors rated are Allscripts, eClinicalWorks, GE Healthcare, and NextGen Healthcare. The eClinicalWorks program receives mostly strong performance grades, scoring in the middle or top quartiles for 8 specialties and in the bottom quartile for only obstetrics/gynecology. KLAS notes that unlike the other vendors, eClinicalWorks does not offer an inpatient EHR that works in tandem with its ambulatory system.

Dominating the bottom quartile are Allscripts (5 specialties), GE Healthcare (3), and NextGen Healthcare (7).

Product Ratings by Specialty

The KLAS report also ranks EHRs within 6 specialties:

  • Family and Internal Medicine: The top-rated program for family physicians is Praxis from Infor-Med Medical Information Systems. KLAS said star programs in primary care such as Praxis make it easy "to formulate and document a wide range of visit types in a flexible workflow rather than a rigid, sequential workflow." An EHR called Amazing Charts ties Praxis in this category, but its score is based on a sample size too small to meet a statistical confidence level set by KLAS.

  • Cardiology: The EHR from SRSsoft leads here, with providers calling the system easy to customize and use. However, like Amazing Charts, it has too small of a sample size in this particular category. KLAS also notes that SRSsoft is not "a complete EHR." The number 2 EHR for cardiologists is from Vitera Healthcare Solutions.

  • Obstetrics/Gynecology: Top honors in this specialty are shared by EHRs from Vitera and Greenway Medical Technologies. Providers told KLAS that the programs enable them to create their own unique templates for charting a visit.

  • Orthopaedics: SRSsoft leads in this specialty, where practitioners look for speed, speed, speed, according to KLAS.

  • Pediatrics: The program from PCC (Physician's Computer Company) leads the pack with pediatricians. KLAS said strong systems in this category are geared to the needs of children, not adults, allowing clinicians to adjust medication dosing based on weight and track immunizations.

  • Surgery: EHRs from Greenway and Vitera tie for first place, although both are asterisked as having an inadequate sample size among surgeons. The same caveat applies to e-MDs, the makers of the number 2 program. The highest-ranking program with an adequate sample size in the surgical category is from Epic.

The KLAS report can be purchased on the company's Web site. The price is $980 for physicians, but survey data on individual vendors are free if physicians fill out an online questionnaire about the medical software, equipment, or computer services that they use.

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