More docs gravitating to cloud-based EHRs

Physician practices are turning to Software as a Service (SaaS) electronic health record systems--and have several good options to choose from, according to a new report from Orem, Utah-based healthcare research firm KLAS.

The study, in which more than 290 providers using SaaS ambulatory EHR systems were interviewed, reported that SaaS EHRs are becoming increasingly popular. "These systems appeal to small organizations that want low maintenance, a quick go live, and small up-front investment," the report noted. "Providers must also be comfortable with clinical and patient data being stored off-site and limited flexibility in the system."

Four key areas that differentiated SaaS EHR vendors from others included:

  • EHR response time, such as the loading time between clicks
  • Customer support, such as frequent updating and enhancements
  • Product quality/usability
  • "Bang for the buck", i.e. attractive pricing

The top ranked SaaS vendor/product was CureMD EMR, followed closely by Practice Fusion, athenahealth athenaClinicals, MIE WebChart EMR, MedPlus/Quest Diagnostics Care 360 EMR, and Sevocity EMR.

One downside to SaaS EHR products, according to the report, is that many of them do not also offer practice management solutions. Of the top six products, only CureMD and athenahealth sell practice management products in tandem with their EHR systems.

The report corroborates trends in hospitals, which also are embracing cloud computing for their EHR and HIE use.  Gartner recently predicted that cloud computing will take center stage by 2014.

To learn more:
- here's KLAS' announcement
- purchase the study
- check out what the hospitals are doing
- read the announcement on the Gartner study