Epic, Cerner top list of ACO-ready vendors

Epic and Cerner are the health IT vendors that have the best technology solutions for healthcare systems that aim to form accountable care organizations, according to providers surveyed by KLAS, the Orem, Utah-based research firm. But KLAS' press release emphasizes that "there are no one-stop shops for providers' ACO IT needs, especially since each ACO will be different."

KLAS polled 197 providers at 187 organizations about the IT demands of ACOs, which are groups of hospitals and doctors committed to improving quality and lowering costs. ACOs that meet certain standards will be allowed to participate in Medicare's shared-savings program, starting next year.

Only one-third of the surveyed providers told KLAS they plan to pursue a formal Medicare ACO designation, but the majority agreed that accountable care is where healthcare is heading. Among the ACO-related areas where respondents plan purchases are data warehousing, analytics, health information exchanges and patient portals.

According to the respondents, Cerner has already integrated many of the IT pieces that ACOs will require and is actively working with providers to help them build these organizations. Respondents also perceived Epic as being close to ACO-ready, although gaps remain in the electronic health records' analytic capabilities and its ability to share data with non-Epic systems.

The KLAS report also examines provider perceptions of ACO readiness for Allscripts (Eclipsys), CPSI, GE Healthcare, McKesson, MEDITECH, QuadraMed and Siemens.

"Accountable care will touch every aspect of an organization," report author Jason Hess said in the announcement. "Its changes have the potential of turning the healthcare world upside down--from patient care to administration to revenue cycle management to IT infrastructure. The internal challenges appear endless. Unfortunately, planning an ACO is further complicated by the fact that the final government rules have not yet been published." 

To learn more:
- read the KLAS press release
- see the Healthcare IT News article