Electronic health record software can streamline the process of activities and operations for many health care providers, whether it be a hospital, medical institution or practice of varying sizes. Having an EHR is the equivalent of having a patient’s paper chart in a doctor’s hands.
Some organizations may plan to implement EHR, then develop the criteria that they are looking for in a partner. Others may select the software, then work their planning around the system and its strengths. Most, though, initially identify their organizational goals, do an assessment, then select a system based off that assessment to achieve their overall goals.
There are dozens of EHR vendors who try to focus on specialties within the health care system, or those who do things in a broader fashion. Here are several of note that people should know about.
Allscripts: A publicly traded provider, financial management and HER systems for hospitals and practices that are small or medium sized, Allscripts covers emergency department, surgery, anesthesia, population health and more among its areas of care with a product called Paragon. For larger organizations, Allscrips has a larger product line called Sunrise. Users generally rate Allscript highly as a product.
athenahealth: A relative newcomer, athenahealth has been around since 1997. It focuses on cloud-based work, and both athenaClinicals and athenaOne work with ambulatory practices and larger health care systems. They focus on analyzing software data points to resolve or prevent issues in billing, physician compliance and regulation compliance. athenahealth is focused on organizations reducing accounts receivable days and have an open-source effort called More Disruption Please, which uses application programming interfaces to build connections between products and external systems.
Cerner: Its products are built on a single platform, and continues to gain share of the EHR market throughout the world despite some high-profile lawsuits from hospital organizations that claimed their product harmed patient care. It has made several acquisitions in the past five years, including Siemens Health Systems, and won a Department of Defense contract worth $4.3 billion for a system-wide records system, then won a $10 billion bid for the VA in 2017.
eClinicalWorks: Privately held since its founding in 1999, this organization provides EHR, billing and population health software on a cloud-based platform. It has been hit with lawsuits in the past, but got a boost in 2005 when the New York City government spent $19 million to contract with them and provide EHR for those who serve poor areas.
Epic Systems: Used by many large systems throughout the United States, Epic is contracted with Johns Hopkins, Mayo, Cal-State Fullerton, UCLA and the University of Washington. They are known for responding and fixing issues quickly and putting profits toward developing their product offerings.
GE Healthcare: The name ‘GE’ is massive in just about any industry, let alone the EHR marketplace. GE is known for its work with MRIs, X-rays, ultrasounds and other equipment and software that is related to radiology. It is not typically known, however, for its work in the EHR industry despite its work in the sector. In fact, they sold off a number of their offerings to another business, Veritas Holdings.
Greenway Health: This company does work with urgent care and dental records and have products for those respective specialties, although they are otherwise a hodgepodge of other firms’ systems. It was hit with a ransomware attack in 2017 that took several weeks to recover from and affected about 5% of clients.
McKesson: A relatively late arriver in the EHR marketplace, McKesson was actually founded as a drug and chemicals supplier in 1833. They are now a publicly traded provider of software that handles most areas of health care, but it still makes most of its profits from distributing drugs and medical supplies. Its software products are typically ones it acquired, not building anything from scratch. McKesson acquired an IT firm in 1999, HBOC, but subsequently were exposed by the SEC for some illegal bookmaking during the deal.
Meditech: Privately held, this vendor is known for dealing mostly with hospitals that range up to 200 beds. They have had trouble with the smaller hospitals as larger vendors such as Epic and Cerner move into the market, but have a cloud-based EHR named Expanse that focuses on patient engagement foremost, but tries to handle a full contingent of care needs.
NextGen: If you haven’t heard of them before, you may know them mostly from the different companies they have had mergers with including Micromed, HeathFusion and Opus. First founded in 1978 and now publicly traded, NextGen focuses most of its business on the Ambulatory market, although they also have products to serve practice management, patient engagement and clinical documentation.
Practice Fusion: First started with a free product in 2005, they sold advertising to providers as their way of generating revenue before being acquired by Allscripts (who we mentioned at the top) in 2018. Shortly after that, the free system was shut down with providers having to pay for their subscriptions.