According to Accenture, the global EHR market will top $22 billion dollars by next year.
EHR Market Slows
The growth rate for the market has slowed considerably and many believe it is due to a lack of return on investment from deploying expensive technology for documenting clinical process and integrating that process into financial systems. The inability to show substantial improvement in outcomes and cost advantages is challenging for hospitals as they budget for upgrades or changes in their EHR strategy.
MEDITECH is a major player in the EHR market, although many market experts believe their long term position in the market is greatly threatened by Epic and Cerner. In an April 2013 article, Healthcare IT News shared survey results that indicate that more then 60% of MEDITECH customers will upgrade in the next two years. Those upgrades primarily involve 5.6 and 6.0 upgrades. As part of that survey 36% of those responding indicated their preference to upgrade to Epic or Cerner and if that happens MEDITECH’s base of 1400 customers will shrink substantially in the process.
MEDITECH or Not?
The question for us, as consultants at Orchestrate Healthcare, is whether or not we should recommend upgrade to new MEDITECH technologies or to steer people toward Epic, Cerner, or another solution. We have experts on our staff who have worked primarily with MEDITECH technology and believe in the road map and base their careers on the success of it. We have participated in 5.6.5 to 5.6.6 upgrades and have seen significant success for our customers in that process.
The more challenging question centers around the 6.0 upgrade. You can look at the upgrade any way you want to, but 6.0 is fundamentally a system replacement – and that is why the MEDITECH base of customers is looking at alternate options from other vendors when considering this upgrade.
MEDITECH Performance Questions
Our top consultant on the 6.0 upgrade is very bullish on the product and ultimately the resulting MEDITECH system. Questions have come up in regards to the MEDITECH upgrade:
- Is it challenging and time consuming to do this upgrade? Yes it is.
- Were there initial problems in getting the kind of outcomes and performance post go-live of a 6.0 system? Yes there were.
However, a more pertinent questions for our customer is:
- Will they be able to compete with Epic, Cerner, McKesson and Siemens systems installed in hospitals in their market with regards to provider productivity and satisfaction with the processes included in their workflow?
The jury is still out on that question. But so far it appears that MEDITECH 6.0 will hold its position better than originally thought in our opinion.
Technology Under Review
While costs and upgrade timelines are under scrutiny, whether you are upgrading your current MEDITECH system to a new version, or completely exchanging it for a competitive system like Epic, the roll of technologies like HIE, Analytics, and EHR itself are under review across the market at the same time. When organizations spend millions of dollars buying and installing systems with the intent to reduce costs and improve quality, the outcome must be clear and measurable.
It has not been that way for any of these technologies over the past few years. MEDITECH users have enjoyed an advantage in being able to maintain their systems at much lower operating costs than the average of any of its’ competitors. When outcomes are unclear, costs are usually the best measure until outcomes are resolved. (IE: if I am going to buy something and I don’t know whether it has really improved my life or not, the least I can hope for is that it will cost me as little as possible to acquire and maintain it in the first place.)
Time will resolve the issue of the role EHR systems will play in the greater drive to population health, lower costs, and improved risk modeling and prediction. In the mean time, we recommend that most users stay the course they are on. If you need help installing a MEDITECH upgrade, or optimizing your performance give us a call at Orchestrate Healthcare. We offer the lowest cost, best quality option, in this space and our KLAS ratings and customer feedback supports that claim directly. Patient progress is the best method in a market area where there is as many questions as there are answers.