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The 2013 Information Technology Vendor Survey

September 20, 2013
by Dennis Grantham, Editor-in-Chief
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Our survey details 40 electronic health record systems, plus a dozen more of the latest software and technology offerings, from 52 companies serving behavioral health customers.

Welcome to the 2013 Behavioral Healthcare IT Vendor Survey, our annual look at the growing range of information technology products and solutions from vendors who serve the behavioral health industry.

Since 2009, when the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act set out incentives for many health providers to adopt Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems, growing numbers of eligible providers (EPs) in behavioral health have set out to earn them. To do so, EPs must purchase or use “certified” EHR technology and demonstrate, through successive stages of “Meaningful Use” (MU) that they are, indeed, meaningfully using the software to meet national health objectives. 

IT vendors who want to offer certified (incentive-eligible) EHR technology must have their products “certified” by an “authorized testing and certification body” (ATCB) that is authorized by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The certification process evaluates the features intended to support meaningful use of the EHR system in one of two settings—Inpatient or Ambulatory—and, if the software “passes” the test, the testing body issues either a “complete” or “modular” certification.

This first step in the MU incentives qualification process requires that EPs attest for themselves (or for their employer/agency) that incentive funds will be used to “adopt, implement, or upgrade” a certified EHR and then report MU data and meet MU requirements for any 90 days in the same calendar year. The Stage 1 MU measures consist of 15 “core set” and 10 “menu set” measures.

Most of the 40 EHR products shown in the 2013 IT Vendor Survey are certified as “complete,” meaning that they can support all of the Stage 1 MU/2011 certification criteria today.  Two are listed as “pending” complete certifications by yearend 2013. Products with a “modular” certification can support one or more MU measures, but must be combined with other modules to create a complete, incentive-worthy EHR package to meet Stage 1 MU requirements.

Following the release of Stage 2 MU/2014 certification criteria in summer 2012, IT vendors began the process of upgrading their EHRs so that they could become certified to support these requirements. As of today, fewer than 200 products have been certified at this level.  However, much work is ongoing and a much wider variety of Stage 2/2014 certified products should be appearing within the coming year. 

Parts of the 2013 IT Vendor Survey

As in the past, the 2013 Behavioral Healthcare IT Vendor Survey divides products into two categories: The upper list contains electronic health record (EHR) products while the other contains products whose functions serve other vital behavioral health operations. Both lists then detail:

1. Market Segments Served, with numerical codes for various providers, payers, and governmental authorities for whom the system or functionality is intended.

2. Platforms, which briefly describes the system architecture or platform on which the software operates.

3. Clinical Features and Administrative and Financial Features, which includes categories of clinical and administrative functionality, along with symbols indicating the availability of the feature, as reported by the product’s developer. A solid box indicates the feature is built in or included, a box with an “O” indicates the feature is “optional,” and a box with a “3P” indicates the feature must be obtained from a third party.

Clinical Features include: Case management, Treatment plans, Patient appointments, Clinical assessments, Clinical decision support, Disease management, E-prescribing, Automatic tracking (using radio-frequency interchange (RFI) or real-time locating system (RTLS) technology), Personal health records, and Telehealth/Telepsychiatry.

Administrative/Financial features include: Report writing, Document imaging, Dashboards, Staff/workforce scheduling, Revenue cycle management, Accounts payable/General ledger, Managed care/payer software, E-learning, and Enterprise resource planning

4. Certification status. Most EHRs are certified “complete” for Stage 1 (solid red box), and several more have modular certifications (red box, white letters) two are pending complete certification (red letters) by yearend 2013. For the latest information about the certification status of an EHR product, visit the Office of the National Coordinator’s Certified Health IT Product List, found online (oncchpl.force.com/ehrcert).

 

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