Health Information Management

Health Information Management: The Gatekeepers, Their Tech And Our Data.

Health Information Management is pivotal in today’s healthcare landscape, ensuring that patient data is accurately recorded, stored, and utilized. This blog post explores how electronic health record (EHR) and electronic medical record (EMR) systems are reshaping the field, highlighting key advancements and their impact on patient care. Dive into the evolution of health information management with us, as we uncover the benefits and challenges of these technologies, and the leading companies driving this transformation.

Health Information Management

Health Information Management: Meet The Providers.

Epic

Epic Systems Corporation, commonly known as Epic, is a privately held healthcare software company based in Verona, Wisconsin, United States. It was founded in 1979 by Judith Faulkner, who has led the company since its inception. Epic specializes in electronic health records (EHR), and its software is widely used across hospitals and health systems to manage clinical and administrative functions.

Epic’s software platform supports various healthcare-related activities, including patient care, registration and scheduling, clinical systems for doctors, nurses, emergency personnel, and other care providers, as well as billing systems for insurers. The company’s EHR system is known for its extensive functionality, interoperability, and ability to handle complex healthcare operations, making it a critical component in the operations of many large and small healthcare institutions.

One of Epic’s notable products is MyChart, a patient portal that allows individuals to access their health records, schedule appointments, communicate with healthcare providers, and more, via the Internet. This tool has become increasingly important for patient engagement and personalized healthcare management.

Health Information Management

Epic’s software is known for being highly customizable, which allows healthcare organizations to tailor the system to their specific workflows and processes. However, this customization can also lead to challenges in terms of interoperability and data sharing between organizations using different systems.

Despite these challenges, Epic has played a significant role in the digitization of healthcare records in the U.S. and around the world. The company has been recognized for its contributions to healthcare IT and has received numerous awards for its software and company culture. Epic’s focus on continuous innovation and improvement in healthcare technology continues to impact the industry significantly.

Health Information Management

As of April 2023, Epic Systems was one of the leading providers of electronic health records (EHR) in the United States, with a significant percentage of U.S. hospitals and health systems using its software. The exact percentage can vary over time due to new contracts, hospital mergers, and shifts in the healthcare IT market.

Epic’s market share in the U.S. healthcare sector is substantial, often reported to be over 50% for large hospitals and health systems. This includes a majority of the top-ranked hospitals and medical schools, which use Epic’s software for clinical, administrative, and billing functions. The company’s systems are noted for their comprehensiveness, allowing for a wide range of medical specialties and departments to integrate their workflows into a single, unified platform.

Cerner Corporation

Before being acquired by Oracle, Cerner was one of Epic’s largest competitors, offering a comprehensive suite of electronic health record systems solutions and health information technologies. Cerner’s systems are widely used in hospitals, healthcare systems, and clinics around the world.

Meditech (Medical Information Technology, Inc.)

Meditech provides electronic health record systems solutions and services to healthcare organizations of various sizes. Their software supports clinical, administrative, and financial tasks within healthcare facilities.

Allscripts Healthcare Solutions

Allscripts offers electronic health record systems, practice management, revenue cycle management, and other healthcare software solutions. They serve a wide range of healthcare providers, including large hospital systems and small to medium-sized practices.

McKesson Corporation

Although McKesson has historically focused on healthcare supply chain management and pharmaceutical distribution, it also provided healthcare IT solutions through McKesson Technology Solutions, which has since been merged into Change Healthcare.

Athenahealth

Known for its cloud-based services for healthcare systems, athenahealth offers electronic health record systems, practice management, and care coordination services primarily to outpatient care providers and medical practices.

eClinicalWorks

This company provides electronic health record systems and practice management software to healthcare providers, with a focus on ambulatory care settings. eClinicalWorks offers solutions that include telehealth services, revenue cycle management, and population health management.

Each of these companies provides unique features and services tailored to the specific needs of healthcare providers, ranging from large, multi-hospital systems to small, independent practices. The choice among these systems often depends on various factors, including the size of the healthcare provider, the specific healthcare sectors they serve, the complexity of their operations, and their specific technology needs.

Market Share Breakdown


As of April 2023, the market share for electronic health records (EHR) in the U.S. healthcare IT market is divided among several major companies, including Epic Systems, Cerner Corporation (now part of Oracle), Meditech, Allscripts, Athenahealth, and eClinicalWorks, among others. The specific market share held by these companies combined can vary depending on the source of the data, the specific segment of the market being considered (e.g., large hospitals vs. ambulatory care), and the time of the analysis.

Epic Systems and Cerner have traditionally been the leaders in the Health Information Management market, especially in the large hospital and health system segment, with both companies often cited as holding a significant portion of the market share. Epic, in particular, is known to have a substantial presence in large hospitals and academic medical centers. Before its acquisition by Oracle, Cerner was also a major player in this space.

Health Information Management

Meditech, Allscripts, and Athenahealth are also significant, particularly in segments like mid-sized to smaller hospitals, ambulatory care, and specialty practices. These companies, along with eClinicalWorks and others, cater to a broad spectrum of healthcare providers and have substantial user bases.

Collectively, these companies likely represent a significant majority of the Health Information Management market in the U.S., especially when considering the acute care hospital market and the ambulatory care sector. Accurate, up-to-date market share percentages would require access to current market research reports from firms like KLAS Research, Frost & Sullivan, or similar organizations that specialize in healthcare IT market analysis.

What If?

Now that we know who everyone is the question that comes to mind is, how would it affect hospitals if hackers were able to take down any of these providers for a long period?

Health Information Management

If hackers were able to take down one of these providers for a long period, it would have a profound impact on hospitals and healthcare systems that rely on their electronic Health Information Management software for their daily operations. The potential effects would be widespread, affecting various aspects of healthcare delivery, administration, and patient care:

Disruption of Clinical Operations: Hospitals would face significant challenges in accessing patient records, which could disrupt clinical operations. Physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers rely on Health Information Management Systems for vital patient information, including medical histories, medications, allergies, and lab results. A lack of access to this information could lead to delays in treatment, medication errors, and challenges in emergency care.

Impact on Patient Care: The inability to access EHRs could compromise patient care quality. For example, without access to a patient’s full medical history or test results, healthcare providers might be unable to make informed decisions about care plans, potentially leading to adverse outcomes.

Health Information Management

Operational and Administrative Challenges: The software from any of these providers also manages scheduling, billing, and other administrative tasks. A prolonged downtime could lead to significant operational disruptions, including difficulties in scheduling appointments, processing insurance claims, and managing hospital workflows.

Emergency Response and Continuity of Care: Hospitals would need to activate emergency protocols and revert to manual systems, such as paper records, which are less efficient and more prone to errors. This could also affect the continuity of care, as transferring patients between departments or healthcare facilities without electronic records could increase the risk of miscommunication and errors.

Financial Impact: The financial impact on healthcare providers could be significant, including the cost of responding to the incident, potential loss of revenue due to operational disruptions, and possible fines or settlements related to data breaches or compromised patient safety.

Health Information Management

Legal and Compliance Risks: Hospitals could face legal challenges and regulatory scrutiny if patient data is exposed or compromised during the attack. Compliance with laws and regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) in the U.S. could be jeopardized, leading to potential legal penalties and damage to reputation.

Long-term Trust and Reputation Damage: A prolonged downtime could erode patients’ trust in their healthcare providers’ ability to protect their data and provide safe, reliable care. This could have long-term implications for the reputation of the affected healthcare institutions.

Hospitals and Health Information Management Systems invest heavily in cybersecurity measures to protect against such scenarios, recognizing the critical importance of EHR systems to their operations and the safety and well-being of their patients.

But What If…?

For the most current and detailed information, including the latest developments in EHR technology, cybersecurity practices, and market dynamics, I recommend consulting:
Industry reports from organizations like KLAS Research, Gartner, or Frost & Sullivan.
Official websites and press releases from EHR providers (e.g., Epic, Cerner).
Publications from healthcare IT and cybersecurity regulatory bodies, such as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S.
Scholarly articles and studies published in healthcare and IT security journals.