20 things to know about Allscripts, Cerner, Epic, Meditech heading into 2021

Allscripts, Cerner, Epic and Meditech are four of the biggest EHR vendors for hospitals and health systems across the U.S.

Here are five things to know about each company's strategy and operations at the start of the new year.

Allscripts

1. Allscripts closed a $1.35 billion sale of its care coordination company CarePort Health to WellSky Dec. 31. The Chicago-based EHR company inked the agreement in October 2020 and plans to use the net after-tax proceeds of the sale to invest in its health IT solutions and support share repurchases.

2. Allscripts built on its partnership with Microsoft in 2020, and in July announced a five-year extension of its alliance with the tech giant. As its new cloud provider, Allscripts later launched launched an updated EHR platform Sunrise 20.0 running on Microsoft Azure in December.

3. In August, Allscripts secured five new patents focused on improving healthcare delivery and innovation. One of the patents is for an app connecting EHRs to other wellness apps and supporting patient engagement through goal tracking, while another new patent supports application programming interface calls from EHRs for genetic testing data searchers.

4. Allscripts forged new relationships and expanded existing partnerships throughout 2020. In January, New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health extended its partnership with Allscripts Managed Services through 2026. The company also contracted with numerous new physician practices, including Family Medical Associates of Raleigh (N.C.); Urology Centers of Alabama in Birmingham; and AllCare Health in Grants Pass, Ore.

5. In July, Allscripts announced that Strata Decision Technology would acquire its healthcare decision analytics and budgeting business Epsi for $365 million. The companies finalized the deal in October.

Cerner

1.  Cerner shook up its C-suite in 2020 with a handful of new executive appointments as well as leaders who departed from EHR company. New additions included Don Trigg as president, John Peterzalek as chief client and services officer, William Mintz as chief strategy officer and Peter Liebert as Cerner Government Services' new vice president and chief information security officer. In October, Senior Vice President and CFO Marc Naughton announced he would leave the company in 2021.

2. The Kansas City, Mo.-based EHR vendor forged several new tech partnerships in 2020, including with Amazon for its health tracking device Halo. By integrating into Cerner's EHR solutions, the device lets users to opt in to share their health data directly into their EHR and with care teams that use Cerner. San Diego-based Sharp Healthcare was the first Cerner client to participate in the collaboration.

3. Cerner was also involved with several acquisitions last year; in August, revenue cycle management services provider R1 finalized its acquisition of Cerner's RevWorks services business, and in December, the EHR giant formed an agreement to acquire clinical research company Kantar Health for $375 million.

4. Following schedule delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Veterans Affairs deployed the first capabilities of its $16 billion Cerner EHR system in October at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Wash. Cerner also made strides with the Department of Defense's EHR deployment and powered several hospital and health systems' go-lives.

5. In July, Cerner launched a new cloud-based EHR offering, dubbed CommunityWorks Foundations, to help rural and critical access hospitals speed up the implementation process and reduce costs. The company also focused on software developments and initiatives in 2020 targeting data quality, interoperability and social determinants of health, CEO Brent Shafer said during Cerner's virtual health conference in October.

Epic

1. In January 2020, Epic CEO Judy Faulkner made headlines after voicing opposition to HHS' proposed interoperability rules. Citing privacy concerns related to third-party use of patient data, Ms. Faulkner sent emails to some of Epic's largest U.S. hospital clients urging them to speak out against the proposed regulations. Sixty U.S. health systems signed Epic's letter opposing the rules.

2. Throughout 2020, Epic inked partnerships with several tech companies. In September, Microsoft announced the EHR giant became the first medical record system to integrate the Microsoft Teams, which allows clinicians and patients to launch telehealth visits through the platform. In October, Lyft announced it is integrating with Epic to let healthcare workers coordinate patient transportation directly from the EHR.

3. Epic also increased research efforts over the past year with the launch of its public-facing research network in May. The Epic Health Research Network lets medical professionals publish observational findings about COVID-19 and other public health issues. The EHR giant also worked with Cleveland Clinic to add the health system's COVID-19 risk prediction model to its EHR software in November.

4. Ms. Faulkner shared her thoughts and predictions on the future of digital healthcare in 2020, touching on areas including interoperability and the potential of AI to improve clinical care.

5. Epic supported hundreds of go-lives this year, with 190 health systems rolling out its platform from September through the end of 2020. Other notable go-lives from 2020 include Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based AdventHealth, Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health and San Antonio-based University Health System.

Meditech

1. Meditech inked a partnership with Google Cloud in December to deploy a new cloud-based, subscription model EHR platform. As an extension of the vendor's cloud-based Expanse EHR, Meditech Cloud Platform introduced several new capabilities including a virtual care feature that lets new and existing patients access urgent virtual care on demand through the provider's website.

2. Meditech also added new voice assistant features to its EHR software last year; the company worked with artificial intelligence developer Nuance to roll out a voice assistant for clinicians using Expanse. With the new tool, clinicians can use their voice to search patient charts for information including lab results and medications.

3. The American Health Information Management Association tapped Meditech's Expanse platform in September to serve as the flagship system for the organization's EHR digital training, which is offered to 16,000 students at more than 300 colleges and universities.

4. Meditech also expanded several partnerships with providers throughout 2020; in January, Dallas -based Steward Health implemented the Meditech's EHR across its 35 hospitals. On Oct. 1, Milford (Mass.) Regional Medical Center went live on Meditech's Expanse EHR after starting the $18 million implementation process in 2018.

5. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Meditech supported virtual EHR go-lives at hospitals including Ithaca, N.Y.-based Cayuga Medical Center and Safford, Ariz.-based Mount Graham Regional Medical Center. After assisting with the virtual go-lives, Meditech established an implementation task force to develop plans for post-COVID-19 virtual and in-person training and go-live plans.

More articles on EHRs:
Ohio hospital regains access to patient records after locked out of Meditech EHR for months
Cerner strategic growth VP departs after losing congressional campaign
ONC releases new resources for interoperability rules: A timeline of key compliance dates

 

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