Summary Results: To ensure that the application met the real needs of physicians, a detailed study was conducted by AC Group, Inc., during the Spring of 2002-2012 with updates during October of 2003-2011. The AC Group EHR functionality report is based on 84 months of research and the cumulative results of a 90-page questionnaire distributed to each participating vendor. The EHR survey includes 2,300 functional questions divided into 47 categories, while the PMS survey includes over 1,000 functionality questions divided into 26 categories.
The 47 functional categories included a section on the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) requirements for a computerized patient record (CPR), along with functional questions relating to operational areas including prescriptions, charge capture, dictation, interface with laboratories, physician order entry, decision support and alerts, security, personal health records, reporting and documentation. To assist the physician community, the AC Group report quantifies six specific components necessary to ensure that a physician or a group of physicians have made the right choice. The components include:
Product Functionality – How well a product meets the basic requirements of a comprehensive EHR based on the guidelines of the Institute of Medicine and the detailed comprehensive survey of functionality based on AC Group’s 2,300+ EHR functionality survey.
Company Financial Viability – The strength of a company in relationship to their annual revenues, profitability, and percentage of revenues that are placed back into future development.
Client Base – The strength of the company’s EHR client base and their ability to understand and meet the needs of their current and future clients.
Technology – The strength of the EHR’s use of proven technology that enables a practice to become a digital office of the future.
Price – The total price of the solution should be considered when making a decision – not just the price of the software. Practices should determine the “Total Cost of Ownership” (TCO) when evaluating the numerous potential solutions.
Through AC Group's research, we have learned that, while having the appropriate level of functionality is critical, providers require a vendor that will support and continue to develop the product. Therefore, the report employs a point system based on a combination of the following major sets of criteria: functionality, company size, client base, end-user satisfaction and price. This point system provides a more comprehensive view of the ability of the end-user to derive benefits from the product. Each set of criteria has been weighted, and each vendor was assigned a “Total Weighted Point Value”.
The AC Group selection methodology provides physicians with a simple methodology that they can use to help reduce the number of choices. According to our research, the number of vendors that state that they sell an ambulatory EHR is currently over 800 – too many for any one physician to consider. Through the use of this methodology, practices can reduce the number of potential choices to the top 5 to 10 EHR/PMS products – based on their specific requirements.
Continuing in 2007, AC Group will be “Validating” vendor application. The purpose of the detailed analysis is to determine which vendors meet the functionality to be considered a “Validated EHR” today and to determine which vendors who, with future development, could have a “Validated EHR” in the next couple of years. Vendor Products that receive a minimum rating of 85% are routinely reviewed for validation by AC Group. Other vendors have excellent charting systems and document imaging systems, but in many cases, do not have the necessary clinical alerts, clinical knowledge based databases, and may not have the Clinical Decision Support (CDS) necessary to improve care and to document improvements in clinical outcomes. They still provide excellent benefits, but should NOT be considered a clinically driven EHR.