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With the increasing adoption rate of EHR and EMR systems, the market size is predicted to reach over $47.6 billion by 2030. Of course, one can rightly guess why; today’s healthcare industry is a highly data-driven worldwide sector. So, the use of EMRs and EHR integration is inevitable. However, the hurdle most healthcare organizations encounter in their EHR adoption process is finding the right software.
Healthcare providers use multiple software, including telehealth solutions and practice management solutions. And with integrated EHR, the workflows will become complex, Interoperability will continue, and productivity will diminish. But the catch here is which EHR to invest in. Cerner and Epic are well-known names in the healthcare industry. These EHR vendors collectively control 55% of the acute care hospital market in the United States. Since these are large, expensive systems, there is little room for error when deciding which one your firm will utilize. Contracts typically exceed millions, if not billions, of dollars, and implementing the software can take anywhere from six months to more than a year, not to mention the time it takes workers to master the new system.
Cerner vs. Epic has changed indistinguishably, regularly keeping up with one another in innovations and new software functionalities. And this makes it difficult to determine the best option for a new EHR. In this article, we’ll compare their functionalities to help you choose one.
Comparing Cerner and Epic EHR Systems- Pros and Cons
The adoption and widespread use of electronic health record systems have greatly benefited the healthcare industry. It is significantly simpler to keep patients’ medical records safe and accessible these days. Technology makes things easier, but as software solutions evolve, the market expands and becomes more competitive. This results in more solutions, like remote patient monitoring, being developed and made available to healthcare companies. In this competitive market, where every best healthcare mobile app development company delivers unique solutions, Cerner and Epic Software, two top-rated EHR solution firms, are at the top. Both offer EHR development, EHR integration with devices, and UI design in the healthcare industry. Now look at Cerner and Epic’s pros and cons regarding its usability and other factors.
1. Market Share of Cerner and Epic
Epic Systems maintains its lead in the EHR hospital market share, with 83 hospitals entering its network in 2022, compared to Oracle Cerner, which added only 22. Here’s how Epic Systems and Oracle Cerner compare in terms of hospital market share and hospital beds.
Epic’s Market Share
The 83 hospitals that joined Epic Systems added a total of 14,330 beds to its network. And that gives Epic EHRs the largest hospital market share, with approximately 36% of acute care hospitals in the United States using its platform. Overall, the total market share of Epic stands at approximately 31%.
According to KLAS Research, Epic has the largest share of the acute care hospital industry between 2017 and 2022. According to the study, Epic added 434 hospitals and 94,656 beds within that time span.
Cerner’s Market Share
Meanwhile, when it comes to hospital market share, Cerner continues to trail behind the Epic EHR system. In 2022, Cerner brought in 22 hospitals but lost 4,658 beds.
This fall is ascribed to the addition of largely modest standalone facilities to its portfolio during the year. Despite this, Cerner ranks second behind Epic, with a 25% share of the hospital industry in 2022, according to KLAS Research.
2. Type and Size of Businesses using Cerner and Epic
Cerner and Epic have a similar portfolio in terms of types of businesses using their solutions. However, the sizes of businesses using them differ. Here are some details on it.
Cerner- Business Portfolio
According to recent data, 17,107 businesses are Cerner users. Cerner users are mostly US-based businesses and belong to the Hospital & Health Care industry. Moreover, Cerner is most commonly utilized by businesses with 50-200 employees and $1 million to $10 million in revenue.
Looking at Cerner clients by industry, the main segments are Hospital & Health Care (28%), Information Technology and Services (11%), and Computer Software (5%). Further, Cerner customers are divided into three categories: small (50 employees), medium (43%), and big (>1000 employees). The majority of Cerner customers (60%) are small, with revenue of approximately $50M; 23% are large, with revenue less than $1000M; and 9% are medium-sized.
Epic- Business Portfolio
A recent report suggests that nearly 4,484 businesses use Epic systems. Companies that use Epic EMR are most frequently found in the United States, over 91%, and are typically from the Hospital & Health Care sector. Besides, Epic EMR/EHR is most utilized by businesses with 50-200 employees and $1 million to $10 million in sales.
Looking at Epic clients by industry, the major segments are Hospital & Health Care (45%), Information Technology and Services (11%), Medical Practice (9%), and Higher Education (6%). Further, 21% of all Epic customers are small businesses, 40% are medium-sized, and 37% are large.
3. Products of Cerner and Epic and their flexibility
Having talked about market share and types of businesses, it’s now time to look at the products offered by Cerner and Epic; and their flexibility too.
4. Products Offered by Cerner
Well, Cerner offers diverse products, but three proprietary software solutions are Cerner Millennium, Cerner PowerChart with PowerChart Touch, and Cerner CareTracker. While Cerner’s EHR platform, Millennium, gives clinicians and hospitals real-time access to patient health data, PowerChart is an EHR built for accelerating clinical workflow, including a patient portal and e-prescribing. PowerChart Touch, a web-based application, is used to enable clinicians to see patient charts from their iPhone or iPad. Finally, CareTracker is a point-of-care documentation system designed exclusively for long-term care facilities.
Interestingly, Cerner is mostly used for ambulatory and small practices. And the products offered have limited capabilities, so their flexibility is debatable.
5. Products Offered by Epic
Epic Systems’ products integrate with a wide range of settings and functions. EpicCare, MyChart, Healthy Planet, Revenue Cycle Management, Tapestry, and Mobile interfaces are the company’s main products. While EpicCare, the primary EHR product, is designed for physicians and organizations and focuses on clinical care, decision assistance, and efficient processes, MyChart offers patient engagement features such as family health information. Other products include Healthy Planet, which leverages data interoperability to improve population health management efforts, RCM software, which assists with patient claims and invoicing; and Tapestry, which handles managed care tasks.
Coming to the flexibility of Epic products, it’s clear that with multiple features and upgrades, Epic systems are more flexible than Cerner.
With this knowledge about the market share, business type, and products, users can get a better understanding of Cerner and Epic systems from a relatively larger perspective. However, in comparison, there are some crucial metrics that every provider and IT developer must consider about Cerner and Epic.
Here are some of these crucial metrics-
Cerner vs. Epic: Which is Easier to Use?
The essential feature that might contribute to the success of any EHR on the market is its user-friendliness. In Cerner vs. Epic, let’s see which is more user-friendly-
1. Cerner Pros and Cons
Cerner offers an intuitive and user-friendly UI. It contains a patient portal with a secure, HIPAA-compliant messaging application. Cerner gives patients an encrypted way to communicate with their doctors, including the ability to ask questions and remain in touch with them to verify whether they are precisely following their treatment plan. Patients typically find it simple to obtain online prescription refills because the system is user-friendly. It also expedites the scheduling of virtual appointments. As a result, nurses prefer Cerner for charting.
On the contrary, certain pages on the portal can be confusing to users, who might also need help navigating. While there are worse options for a usable EHR, Cerner will still require certain training before staff feels comfortable working with it.
2. Epic Pros and Cons
Epic has been striving hard to build and develop its EHR into a user-friendly one. Epic EHR system offers a patient portal that allows patients to schedule appointments and securely see their health records. It also tells them how much a particular operation will cost them. Furthermore, both types of users, patients, and providers, can schedule virtual consultations within the system.
Despite Epic’s assurances of user-friendliness, many customers say the system is difficult to use. Due to the large number of Epic EHR’s capabilities, it can be not easy to navigate through different options. Epic’s sophisticated architecture can often make things tough for healthcare consumers because the needs of healthcare organizations dictate a simple EHR solution, which Epic might not be for some users.
Cerner vs. Epic: Which offers better Interoperability?
To share databases with other healthcare systems, providers require Interoperability and integration. Cerner and Epic are privately sponsored EHR systems that offer rapid healthcare integration resources. They enable numerous systems to connect and exchange data. Now let’s see in Cerner Epic interoperability which one is the best.
1. Cerner EHR system
Cerner supports Interoperability in a variety of methods. One method is through CommonWell Health Alliance, the first and most popular non-profit industry trade association co-founded by Cerner and its six competitors. CommonWell Health Alliance’s standards and procedures enable members to access and share their patient data readily.
Cerner also provides Cerner Ignite APIs to enable integration between third-party apps and the EHR. Reference Lab Networks also enable Cerner users to share data with several “acute and reference labs” without connecting to each lab individually.
2. Epic EHR system
One significant disadvantage of Epic is the lack of third-party app integrations, so you’d have to design them yourself if you wanted them. That being said, Epic does integrate with other EHR networks through Carequality. And that helps make sharing patients’ records easier with multiple providers. Epic also facilitates Interoperability in another way. Companies can connect via EpicCare Link, which enables non-Epic users to view patient information from an Epic user. It works similarly to Dropbox or Google Drive in that users gain access using a sharing link. Another interoperability tool that patients can use to share their health information with third-party providers is linking to Share Everywhere. This capability allows clinicians to examine patient data without connecting to Epic via an EHR.
Interestingly, because the Carequality and CommonWell networks can communicate with one another, this may be a moot point in the Cerner vs. Epic comparison.
Cerner vs. Epic- Which is easier to install
When it comes to implementation and installation, both Epic and Cerner EHRs have their own methodologies. And the specific process depends on the organization’s size, complexity, and individual needs. Let’s see which is easier to install between Cerner and Epic.
1. Cerner electronic health record systems
Cerner systems offer optimal practices and techniques through Model Experience, which it employs to generate the most effective suggestions for implementation and installation. Cerner also provides extensive training packages for users and administrators to assist them in confidently installing their new EHRs. Its consulting staff supports organizations in comprehending their EHR and confidently implementing their new system. Hence, Cerner is much easier to install than Epic.
2. Epic electronic health record systems
The cost of Epic’s implementation and installation is significantly higher than that of other EHRs, including Cerner. In fact, the implementation and installation of Epic need the assistance of IT professionals, which accounts for a significant portion of the installation cost.
Before installing Epic electronic health records, healthcare practices must create and convey their organizational goals, strategies, and plans. With so many factors to consider, Epic EHR implementation becomes a difficult task for medical practices. However, if you need a high-quality and comprehensive EHR system, Epic is one of the best options.
Cerner vs. Epic- Which offers better Customer Support
Cerner and Epic are both well-known for their excellent customer service. Both organizations feature customer support teams that can help with technical concerns, training, and ongoing maintenance.
1. Cerner electronic health records
Cerner has a support team dedicated to aiding users understand its technological solutions and answering their questions to provide the finest customer service possible. Cerner enhances customer service by providing eService via its portal, which is open 24/7. Cerner also trains existing staff members to provide the technical know-how for the system’s in-house installation.
On the downside, Cerner’s customer service might get slower, and consumers may have to wait longer to get responses to their inquiries.
2. Epic electronic health record systems
Epic has a team of technical professionals who can be reached via its phone number. Epic’s support service responds to users within 24 hours after their inquiry submission. Further, Epic’s newsletters keep users updated on industry news and trends. And when Epic changes its system, it sends semi-annual email newsletters to all its users with the latest information.
Despite these advantages, Epic is often reluctant towards user-requested updates. Some of the system’s operations necessitate the assistance of many of its internal personnel during setup, making customer support expensive.
Cerner vs. Epic Cost- Which is Cheaper?
Regardless of the method, costs differ greatly from one another. Pricing is determined by criteria such as the features selected and the number of users accessing the system. There needs to be pricing information on either company’s website or through other ways, making EHR pricing comparison difficult. You need to reach the company directly to obtain an estimate.
However, EHR cost for systems like Epic or core Cerner usually includes setup, maintenance, and hardware updates. All of these factors can add up to a substantial sum. However, Cerner is the cheaper alternative in this Epic vs. Cerner comparison.
1. Cerner Cost Per Hospital
Cerner’s pricing plan is unquestionably less expensive than Epic’s. As a result, the cost of Cerner PowerChart Ambulatory EHR could start at $25.00 per year. But Cerner PowerChart Ambulatory EHR does not have a free trial or a free version.
2. Epic Cost Per Hospital
The pricing for Epic cloud-based EMR systems can range from $200 to $35,000 per month, depending on the functionality available. These expenses include setup and training. However, certain vendors may charge for training separately. By including training expenditures, the charges might reach over $2,000.
Besides, a self-hosted Epic EMR can range from $1,200 to $500,000 for major hospitals and clinics. Aside from this pricing, you may get an Epic EMR for anywhere between $1200 and $500,000 or more.
Overall, after accounting for all the additional costs associated with implementation and installation, the Cerner EHR software is considered the more inexpensive option. On the other hand, the Epic platform provides more value.
Moving on, the distinction between Cerner and Epic is pretty much clear, considering these metrics. Healthcare providers can find it easy to choose between both electronic health record systems. However, these metrics aren’t enough information when it comes to integrating the EHR with existing health systems. Providers must look beyond these metrics and focus on aspects of integration such as the capability to customize, flexibility, scalability, and the requirement of specialists.
Let’s dive into these elements and see which EHR, Cerner or Epic, is easier to integrate.
Cerner vs. Epic Integration- Requirement of IT Specialists
It’s quite obvious that the integration of electronic health records or EMR systems would require the expertise of IT professionals. For Cerner and Epic as well, this requirement is the same. However, there’s a slight difference between both.
1. Cerner EHR systems
Cerner EHR solutions, indeed, need a team of IT specialists for successful integration. IT professionals play an important role in enabling seamless integration by building and implementing interfaces that allow for seamless information transmission between Cerner EHR and other healthcare systems. Their technical experience allows them to comprehend the complexities of Cerner’s architecture, database structure, security protocols, and interoperability standards, all of which are required for effective integration.
2. Epic EHR systems
The complexity and diversity of Epic EHR’s capabilities call for specialist knowledge in order to effectively integrate it into existing hospital systems. These IT professionals have a thorough understanding of the server infrastructure, data management, network security measures, and interoperability protocols essential for successful implementation.
However, the catch here is that providers might need to consult Epic’s IT specialist team to facilitate the integration process. Due to security and privacy issues, Epic integration requires its own IT team’s help.
Cerner vs. Epic Integration- Complexity and Flexibility
Well, in terms of the complexity of integration, it’s clear that Cerner is less complex than Epic. Here’s how-
1. Cerner EHR systems
With limited features, Cerner electronic health record systems are less complex to integrate with other healthcare software solutions like RCM. Also, Cerner is quite flexible too compared to Epic. Cerner is typically open to third-party integrations and offers APIs as well, which makes it flexible to seamless integrations. But the downside of this is that Cerner is prone to a lot of technical glitches.
2. Epic EHR Systems
Unlike Cerner, Epic has a diverse set of features, which can be upgraded too. And this makes it more complex to integrate with health systems. Moreover, Epic is less flexible, too, as it can’t integrate with non-Epic systems. This is due to privacy and security reasons.
Another limitation of Epic is the lack of data mapping capability, which can be a deal-breaker for many practices unless they’ve another option.
Cerner vs. Epic Integration- Customization and Scalability
Customizable EHRs are the need of today’s healthcare ecosystem. Most clinical practices want their software solutions to be customizable and according to their needs and preferences, and scalable too for the future. And this brings us to the next point of consideration in Cerner vs Epic integration.
1. Cerner EHR systems
There’s no debate that Cerner is customizable and scalable too. But its limited features and functionalities are a setback to its customizing capabilities and scalabilities. Practices with short-term vision might not find Cerner’s customizations and scalability an issue.
2. Epic EHR systems
On the other hand, Epic Systems’ diverse set of features and functionalities are open to customizations. Not only customizations but Epic EHRs are also highly scalable and support long-term business visions quite well.
How Should You Choose?
Considering all aspects of features, functionalities, and pricing in this Cerner and Epic comparison, we’re sure you can decide which one to pick. What kind of EHR you select will be determined by criteria such as your organization’s needs, the level of customization and integration necessary, the training and support available, and the overall cost.
In terms of your organization’s requirements, you should examine the features of each vendor and select the solution that best fulfills your criteria. If your practice is a small-scale, independent one, then Cerner would be a great fit but for large practices like hospitals and care homes with multiple branches, Epic would be the right choice. Moreover, your choice will also depend on your business goals. Whether your goal is a long-term goal or a short-term one, the decision between Cerner and Epic will depend on that. Multiple reviews suggested for short-term goals, Cerner is a good fit and vice versa.
We at OSP have an experienced team of developers who’ve worked on Epic and Cerner. From third-party integrations to customized APIs, our team can effortlessly implement them. And from our experience, if your practice is on budget and requires a simple, easy-to-use EHR, the Cerner hospital system is a good option. However, it might be sufficient for large practices offering multiple services and handling tons of data. In that case, Epic Systems would make a better option.
Cerner and Epic are top-tier electronic health record services, so you can go right with them. They will provide sophisticated patient and physician portals to make the task easier and faster. However, each software will perform better for different users. We hope this Cerner EHR vs. Epic EHR helps you pick the right software.
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Written by Riken Shah linkedin
Riken's work motto is to help healthcare providers use technological advancements to make healthcare easily accessible to all stakeholders, from providers to patients. Under his leadership and guidance, OSP Labs has successfully developed over 600 customized software solutions for 200+ healthcare clients across continents.