Alameda Health System in Oakland, Calif., is having a difficult time making its current inpatient system, Cerner Corp.'s Soarian Clinicals, mesh with its ambulatory system, NextGen Ambulatory EHR. Soarian is an incomplete product, and NextGen and Soarian don't play well with each other, said Dr. David English, assistant chief medical information officer at Alameda.
To get around the lack of interoperability, Alameda is investing in a new EHR that will enable it to pass clinical data seamlessly from one care site to another. “Even if the incentive money is no longer available, there is still the issue of penalty avoidance from meaningful use, which looks to be a growing item hitting our bottom line in coming years,” English said.
The availability of government money for EHR investment is on the wane. Last year, incentive payments to eligible hospitals dwindled to $68.3 million, down from the peak of $6.3 billion in 2013. The program has awarded $18.9 billion to hospitals since its inception.
The health information technology portion of the 2009 stimulus act included a requirement that grant recipients achieve all meaningful-use requirements, including interoperability, by the end of 2017. Modern Healthcare's 26th annual Survey of Executive Opinions on Key Information Technology Issues found that 24% of provider respondents said EHR adoption and implementation or replacement is still the top IT priority for their organizations over the next 24 months.
In their efforts to meet the requirements, many providers are making adjustments to their EHRs, survey respondents said. Bayhealth, a Dover, Del.-based system, is installing a new Epic Systems Corp. system to replace its McKesson Corp. product, said CIO Richard Mohnk. He expects the new system to go live the next few months.