Small hospitals are eschewing traditional clinical information systems and favoring the larger players in the electronic health record (EHR) market, a recent research report from KLAS Enterprises LLC found. (A clinical information system manages administrative, financial and clinical data; an EHR system typically handles only patient records.)
The hospitals’ motivation, according to Healthcare IT News, is meaningful use. Smaller hospitals — generally speaking, those with 150 or fewer beds — worry that community clinical information systems simply won’t be able to help them meet meaningful use requirements, which they have to do to be eligible for federal incentives worth millions of dollars. As a result, the KLAS report said, they are turning to such vendors as Epic Systems Inc., McKesson Corp. and Cerner Corp., all of which are traditionally found in larger health care facilities.
This is not surprising. The KLAS report follows a recent SearchHealthIT.com article highlighting various large EHR vendors pushing new clinical information systems. Of particular interest are those being offered as Software as a Service and coming with implementation, maintenance and storage fees that are lower than those of traditional, client-based EHR systems. The report also follows news that Epic is growing, expanding its Wisconsin headquarters’ campus and attracting more than 5,000 attendees to its recent user conference.
Ultimately, consolidation is inevitable in health information technology. Hundreds of companies develop EHR and clinical information systems. As small hospitals turn to vendors with a clear grasp of meaningful use, and as regional extension centers select preferred EHR vendors, it’s clear that health IT is a market where the fittest vendors survive and dominate.