Does it matter which EHR your health system uses? This study says yes

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Although the goal of the federal EHR certification process is to create a level playing field for quality in support of the meaningful use program, some EHR vendors consistently outperform others, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

A team of researchers, led by Jay Holmgren, a doctoral student in the health policy management track at the Boston-based Harvard Business School, examined national hospital data on EHR products used for meaningful use attestation provided to ONC, and compared those measures against EHR incentive program data reported to CMS. The study was limited to hospital performance on six meaningful use stage two criteria.

Here are the six criteria.

1. Availability of medication computerized physician order entry

2. View, download and transmit technology availability

3. Whether VDT can be used by patients

4. Medication reconciliation capabilities

5. Ability to provide summary of care records

6. Ability to electronically send summary of care records

Epic was associated with higher performance on five of the six measures, while other vendors received mixed results. EHR vendor choice accounted for between 7 percent and 34 percent of performance variation across the criteria.

Here are the top four vendors contributing to hospitals' success meeting meaningful use stage two criteria, according to the study.

1. Epic

2. Cerner

3. Meditech

4. McKesson

"Our results suggest that policy-makers should improve the certification process by including more 'real-world' scenario testing and provider feedback or ratings to reduce this variation," the authors write. "Hospitals can use these results to guide interactions with vendors."

Click here to view the full study.

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