The current pressures in the industry for increased efficiency and better care delivery, coupled with significant advances in technology and applications, have enabled EHRs to take center stage. The challenge with EHRs iut is hard for the average physician practice to effectively evaluate the numerous options. To assist the physician community, AC Group, Inc. has developed an univerisal RFI that evaluates and quantifies six specific components necessary to insure 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 funtionality survey - based on AC Group’s 3,000+ functionality questionnaire.
- End-User Satisfaction – Demonstrates how well a company performs in relation to “End-User Satisfaction” surveys conducted by independent analyst firms like KLAS and AC Group.
- Company Financial Viability – The strength of a company's annual revenues, profitability, and percentage of revenues that are placed back into future development.
Client Based – The strength of the company’s EHR client based and their ability to understand and meet the needs of selected specialities .
- Technology – The strength of the EHR’s use of proven technology that enables a practice to become the 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.
Type of Products:
The 2015 report includes a point system, based on a combination of product functionality, company size, client base, end-user satisfaction, and price. This new point system provides a more comprehensive view of the ability of the end user to derive benefits from the software product. 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. Each of the specific areas was given a weighted value, and each vendor was assigned a “Total Weighted Point Value”. Additionally, in 2015 report AC Group will divided the rankings based on the following product types:
- Back in May of 2005, ACG added a new category for Integrated PMS and EMR vendors – Our research has shown that more than 87% of the selections since 2006 have been for both Practice Management and EMR/EHR applications. In 2015, ACG will continue to track vendors that provide a tightly interfaced or integrated solution.
- EHR Vendors – Full EMR capability, with internet-based Personal Health Records, health maintenance tracking, proven interoperability with other EMR vendors, national clinical standard couplers, and clinical decision support with nationally recognized alerts, etc. The application must have interfaces to multiple Practice Management Systems. We further divided this category between large multi-specialty clinics and stand-alone practices.
- EMR Vendors – Full charting and Document Imaging Management, along with e-Rx with formulary tracking by health plans, automated E&M coding and verification, medical necessity checking by CPT and Diagnostic codes, comprehensive orders and results reporting, with integrated workflow routing and tracking. The application must have interfaces to multiple Practice Management Systems.
- Charting Vendors – Ability to simplify the charting requirements, as specified by many of the medical societies and the IOM. Advanced functionality must include orders and results reporting, problem list and e-Rx tracking. The product does NOT have to have advanced nationally recognized alerts and clinical decision support. The application must have interfaces to multiple Practice Management Systems.
- Document Imaging Management (DIM) Vendors – Ability to scan and store paper documents by patient and by sub-folder, along with the ability to electronically receive and file documents that are received either electronically or by fax, including Lab results, transcribed reports, and hospital ADT information. The DIM must have integrated routing and workflow capabilities and interfaces to multiple Practice Management Systems.
- Community Health Record (CHR) Vendors – These vendors may not have a full functioning EMR but provide the interoperability functions of an EMR-Light along with the ability to maintain a community health record via a community clinical and demographic data exchange. Advance functionality includes reporting and tracking of orders, results, e-Rx, allergies, and problem lists, among others. The product should maintain a community master patient index, based on numerous inputs, including hospitals, health plans, and numerous physician practice management systems. The Community Health Record vendor must also be working with various EMR/EHR vendors, to ensure effective clinical data exchange, following national standards like CCR or other recognized future interoperability standards.
The AC Group selection methodology provides physicians with a simple methodology that they can use to help reduce down the number of choices. According to our research, the number of vendors that state that they sell an ambulatory EHR is currently over 1,290 – too many for any one physician to consider. Through 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 2015, AC Group will be “validating” vendor application. The purpose of the detail 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% and can base our documentation challenge will be eligible as a “Validated EHR” 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 systems 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.
Reporting of Results:
Once the project is completed, the results of the survey will be distributed to the physician community in a number of ways:
- Mr. Anderson will be presenting the results of the EHR/EHR survey at numerous conferences in 2015.
- The results of the study will be posted on the AC Group web site.
- The summary results will be submitted to multiple magazines for publication
- The results of the survey will be presented at numerous healthcare specific conferences throughout the year (Note: Mr. Anderson speaks at over 100 educational events each year)
- The results will be distributed to the membership of specific physician organizations (i.e. American College of Rheumatology (ACR), AAFP, BONES, DOC-IT, QIOs, ADA/M, etc.
- The results of the annual survey will be used for identifying the appropriate vendors for various search and selection project conducted by AC Group and other consulting forms. Since 2003, more than 900 practices used the results of the AC Group report to select their top vendors.
- The results of the survey will be presented at this year's IPA association Meeting (TIPAAA)
- AC Group is actively conducting EHR search and selections for more than 500 practices throughout the US.
- Since 2003, over 200,000 physicians have seen the EHR Annual EHR functionality Survey Results.
To insure that vendors are honest in their responses to the AC Group’s PMS/EHR RFI, individual vendor responses WILL BE legally binding and included in all of the contracts the AC Group conducts for their clients. Additionally, we will be recommending to all physician groups to include all of the vendor responses in any contract that is signed in the next year. The assumption is that if the vendor states that they can meet the individual functional requirement, then, the vendor should be willing to place their comments is writing in the form of a contract addendum.
Responses to RFI may be reviewed and evaluated only by AC Group staff and the specify vendor answers will be confidential. Detailed responses will be used only by physician practice during contract signing. Except as otherwise set forth herein, the review and evaluation of Responses to RFI shall be a closed evaluation process.