ARRA fueled doubling of 2009 EMR sales

Fueled by the prospect of federal incentive payments courtesy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, sales of acute-care EMRs to large hospitals nearly doubled in 2009, according to health IT research firm KLAS Enterprises. Two vendors stood out last year, as nearly 70 percent of new purchases among hospitals with at least 200 beds were for integrated Cerner or Epic Systems products, KLAS reports.

2008 marked a seven-year low for EMR sales, according to the Orem, Utah-based company.

"Changes in the [clinical information systems] marketplace as a result of ARRA seem to have blindsided some vendors and left them struggling to stay afloat in the large hospital market," report author Jason Hess says in a prepared statement. "In 2009 Eclipsys, GE, McKesson Horizon [product line], and QuadraMed all lost more hospitals than they gained; they are struggling to regain lost ground."

KLAS says Meditech and Siemens Healthcare did post modest gains last year, but many hospitals raised concerns about those two vendors. Legacy Meditech systems may not have the functionality to help providers achieve "meaningful use," and some customers are worried that there is not enough time to implement the updated Meditech C/S version 6 before CMS ratchets up requirements in 2013. Similarly, many longtime users of Siemens Invision are replacing that outdated system with other vendors' products rather than upgrading to the current Soarian line, according to KLAS.

Epic and Cerner gained, KLAS says, because more users are looking for a "truly integrated system" and for a vendor that can be a "consistent and reliable partner in their efforts to reach meaningful use."

KLAS notes that Eclipsys merged with ambulatory EMR powerhouse Allscripts less than a month ago in a $1.2 billion deal that "may be a catalyst that will affect the product offering and its success."

Adds KLAS, "Some providers are looking forward with cautious optimism to GE's release of Quilibria, the result of collaboration with Intermountain Health Care, even with GE's customer satisfaction rating decreasing by five points in 2009."

For more:
- check out this story (reg. req.)
- read this news brief from Becker's Hospital Review
- see this KLAS press release