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Health care IT research firm KLAS recently unveiled its list of the top software platforms in health care, with Epic Systems at the top of its Overall Software Vendors Rankings. For the survey, KLAS looked at such application categories as Acute Care Electronic Medical Record (EMR), Ambulatory EMR (over 75 physicians) and Practice Management.

For the "2011 Best in KLAS Awards: Software & Services," the company interviewed 18,404 providers and rated 693 software products between Nov. 15, 2010, and Nov. 15, 2011. As a result, 187 software services appear in the December 2011 report.

In the Overall Software Rankings, vendors earned a percentage score out of 100 that represented "the average client experience," said Chase Titensor, senior research manager at KLAS. It reflects the results of interviews with vendors using the application, Titensor told eWEEK.

Vendors with at least one product in three market segments qualified for the Overall Software Vendors Rankings.

In addition to product functionality, scores took into account the contract process, implementation process as well as service and support, Coray Tate, clinical research director at KLAS, told eWEEK.

Epic emerged as the leader in the list of Acute Care EMRs and Ambulatory EMRs for outpatient facilities with more than 75 physicians.

One of Epic’s strengths is its customer service, said Titensor. "Epic really does have a consistent delivery model," he told eWEEK. "From initial contracting, sales, training through implementation and ongoing service and support of the product, they really manage very effectively the whole client experience."

The vendor’s software integrates e-prescribing, computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and features for documenting outpatient visits, Titensor noted.

"Health care IT today really is swinging quickly to an integrated experience across the enterprise, and Epic has positioned themselves to offer solutions across the entire hospital enterprise," said Titensor.

Meanwhile, Athenahealth’s cloud-based AthenaClinicals app also achieved the top ranking for top ambulatory EHR product geared toward midsize practices of 11 to 75 physicians. "Athenahealth has really done a good job of meeting clients’ expectations and delivered fairly consistent service and support overall," said Titensor.

"Physicians have to bear a number of pressures, so they certainly can’t afford dealing with the barriers that often come with traditional software-based EHRs," Jonathan Bush, chairman and CEO of Athenahealth, said in a statement. "By harnessing the power of the cloud, Athenahealth has a unique window into our physicians’ clinical workflow, allowing us to help address issues in real time and inject greater value faster."

Cerner, another leading health care software vendor, ranked second in the Acute Care EMR category. Consistency in customer experience put Epic ahead 90.3 percent to 78.5 percent, said Tate.

"The way Epic separates itself is they’re very consistent with their customer base," said Tate. "It’s rare to hear someone frustrated."

Rankings are broken down by size of clinics. "Certain vendors only play in the large practice space," Titensor noted. "A product that meets the needs of a complex large clinic is going to be different from one that’s very specialized a general practitioner of one or two physicians."

The report also highlighted a lesser-known EHR vendor named Amazing Charts, which won in the category of ambulatory EHR apps for one to 10 physicians.

Amazing Charts started as a regional player in the Massachusetts area and is now acquiring a national following, said Tate.

In the Practice Management category, Greenway Medical Technologies‘ PrimeSuite Practice application won for practices of one to 10 as well as 11 to 75 physicians, while Epic’s Resolute/Prelude/Cadence led for practices with 75 or more physicians.

In Brown-Wilson’s "Black Book 2011 State of the e-Prescribing Industry" rankings announced on Nov. 8, Practice Fusion’s EHR application came out on top with a 96.9 satisfaction rating. The top 10 products were "virtually neck in neck on satisfying client needs," Doug Brown, principal and co-founder at Brown-Wilson, wrote in an e-mail to eWEEK.

To read the original eWeek article, click here: Epic EHR Platform Tops KLAS Health Care IT Software Rankings