Epic products ranked highest in two key categories, acute-care hospital/inpatient EHRs and ambulatory EHRs for the largest group practices with 100 or more physicians. Its software also finished tops in pharmacy and radiology and twice more for billing systems, one for use by hospitals and another used by the largest group practices.
What is Epic's secret to such customer loyalty?
“We do the same thing that we've always done, that is, make sure we spend most of our energy with our customers,” said Carl Dvorak, executive vice president of Epic. “They come first, before owners or investors or Wall Street.
“I don't see much difference in what we do today from what we did 10 or 15 years ago,” said Dvorak, who has been with the company for 23 years. Epic provides “a really solid training program for our staff” and they in turn “work very closely with our customers to make sure the installs go well.”
“Our historical model seems to be holding up well,” Dvorak said.
McKesson Corp. had four best of KLAS awards for community hospital information systems (defined as clinical information systems utilized by hospitals with fewer than 200 beds): financial/enterprise resource management; planning; home care; and physician practice management for groups of 26 to 100 physicians. Greenway Medical was a triple threat in the smaller physician office market, with Best of KLAS awards for EHRs for six- to 25-physician and two- to five-physician groups, and for practice management systems for the six- to 25-physician market.
The report, which, according to KLAS, represents the findings from surveys and interviews gathered over the past 12 months for software products and 18 months for some services, shows a deterioration of customer-satisfaction scores across the board compared with the survey from the prior year, according to KLAS President Adam Gale.
The biggest drop was in the ambulatory EHR market, Gale said. “That could mean that vendors are selling more and unable to fully staff the uptake.”
Another possible explanation, Gale said, is that the more enthusiastic and tolerant earlier adopters have already acquired and are already using EHRs. Users new to the technology are adopting now. Gale described them as “normal docs who say, ‘If this doesn't help me save time and moneywise, send it away.' ”
Of the 24 software product classifications ranked in the survey, enterprise scheduling systems on average were rated highest by customers in the survey, with an overall average satisfaction score of 86.36%. The lowest-scoring product class was ambulatory EHRs for 26 to 100 physicians with an average satisfaction score of 70.28%.
Oddly, though, both EHRs and practice management systems targeting the small-practice market of two to five physicians ranked relatively high, fourth and fifth respectively, out of 24 product classifications, with scores of 80.19% and 79.36%.
Gale said Cerner Corp., Kansas City, Mo., was something of a surprise, given its reputation as a vendor of locally installed systems for the large hospital market, in that it was named Best of KLAS in the IT services category for remote hosting of clinical and business applications. The clinical applications portion includes running systems for both small and large hospital customers.
Cerner has made a big play in this market in recent years, investing heavily in data warehouse capability. Gale said he doesn't see a lot of activity in the large hospital IT market being driven by EHR subsidies under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
“Most of them have already made their decisions,” Gale said.
The community and small hospital markets, where IT adoption is lower, are another story.