Shannon McIntyre Hooper
Vice President, ReviveHealth
Nashville has never been afraid to stand on its own and step away from the crowd. For decades, the country music and health care epicenter of the country has skirted the edges of the status quo and created new trends, and it’s happening again. But this time, it’s not about guitars and hot chicken. It’s about electronic health records (EHRs).
A new study from TechnologyAdvice has revealed some stark findings: Nashville is doing things completely differently from the rest of the country when it comes to EHRs. And for a city that boasts more than 250 health care companies, and whose local health systems manage over 60% of our country’s for-profit hospital beds, this is no small matter.
Here’s how Nashville is bucking the EHR trend – and why it’s a big deal for the rest of the country:
Epic Isn’t So Epic.
Epic is the #1 national EHR vendor, storing the medical information of more than 40% of the U.S. population through its 10.8% market share of health care providers. Epic is especially dominant in the large hospital and health systems marketplace, where it’s famed for its expensive price point and lock-down on interoperabilityand patient information sharing. So, where is Epic in Nashville?
Not even in the top five. If Nashville is such a leader in the health care industry, could this portend a decline for the big iron behemoth? Perhaps. At the very least, it should raise some eyebrows, and encourage hospital C-suite to question whether Epic is really the only option out there.
Meaningful Use Is a Challenge.
Before analyzing Nashville’s issues with Meaningful Use, let’s start by explaining the much-confused term itself. As a result of the HITECH Act, CMS implemented an EHR Incentive Program that promised incentives to providers who achieve “meaningful use” – in other words, providers who “show they’re using certified EHR technology in ways that can be measured significantly in quality and in quantity.”
This is a phased process; and we’re currently in the trenches of phase two, affectionately called simply “Meaningful Use 2.” Well, here’s the deal – Nashville isn’t doing so great. Only 36% of Nashville’s providers are ready to attest for Meaningful Use, compared to 68% nationally. (“Ready to attest” means that they’re prepared to validate that they meet the requirements.) Since the TechnologyAdvice study doesn’t hypothesize on why this is the case, I’m ready to do the theorizing myself: Nashville is disproportionately using eClinicalWorks.
I mean no disrespect to eClinicalWorks, but just look at the data: CMS recently released a list of all the EHRs that have helped providers achieve Meaningful Use 2, and eClinicalWorks shows up not once. Perhaps time to rethink that investment, Nashville…
Nashville Is in the Cloud.
More so than nationally, Nashville is embracing cloud-based EHR options. Three out of the top five options (Practice Fusion, NextGen, and athenaClinicals) are in the cloud, and a fourth (eClinicalWorks) offers a cloud-based version – whereas national health systems are still predominantly wringing their hands at the big iron data centers (Epic, AllScripts) sitting in their basement.
Even more notably, athenaClinicals is the only EHR that shows in up Nashville’s top five, while not in the national top five. This bodes well for improving those dire numbers for Meaningful Use 2, as athenahealthguarantees that eligible providers will receive Meaningful Use incentives from the government, and its clients comprise almost 60% of all Meaningful Use 2 attestations to-date.
It also bodes well for innovation: athenahealth’s cloud-based model lets them rapidly iterate, integrate, and evolve right alongside providers as they battle the storms of health reform and changing reimbursement models.
All in all, TechnologyAdvice has revealed some fairly surprising results through their Nashville EHR study, and ones that I believe will cause the rest of the country to take note. The battle is just beginning in the EHR market, and the choices are many. But Nashville, with its incredible wealth of health care knowledge and decision-makers, just may be the one to set the stage for the future.