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athenahealth for Hospitals
Insights into the Early-Adopter Experience

author - Jonathan Christensen
Jonathan Christensen
October 5, 2017 | Read Time: 2  minutes

athenahealth entered the underserved community hospital EMR market in 2015 with the acquisition of RazorInsights. Since then, provider interest has skyrocketed, with athenaOne for Hospitals and Health Systems being the third most frequently selected hospital EMR solution in the US in both 2015 and 2016. This report takes an early look at the progress athenahealth has made and the overall experience of early adopters. Speaking with executives, IT professionals, and departmental end users, KLAS interviewed all of the 8 hospitals who contracted directly with athenahealth to convert from another EMR and who came live by February 2017. KLAS also spoke with 28 other hospitals who contracted with athenahealth but were not yet live as of February 2017 to get their thoughts on how things are progressing. Hospitals who migrated from the acquired RazorInsights platform were excluded from this research as their experience is atypical of what prospective clients could expect.

overview of emr market performance

1. athenahealth Vision Resonates with Hospital Executives

Executives at small hospitals are largely positive about their experience thus far with athenahealth. They love the prospect of having an integrated clinical/RCM solution for their hospital and clinics without a large up-front capital outlay. Most feel athenahealth’s innovative cost structure and web-based solution can help community hospitals stay financially viable and decrease IT and security resources in coming years. Additionally, they feel athenahealth’s cloud-based model will allow them to more quickly develop the solution to meet future healthcare needs. Executives say expectations are properly set for implementations and that partnering and development are strong. While they acknowledge gaps in the inpatient offering, most feel athenahealth has the majority of pieces needed today. Since the start of interviews for this report (April 2017), athenahealth reported to KLAS that they have released two major updates; KLAS has yet to validate the impact of these releases.

athenahealth performance by job area

2. Pharmacy, Charge Capture, Nursing the Biggest Challenges for End Users

Departmental end users don’t share the same vision as executives and feel the athenahealth solution is less ready and doesn’t have all needed and expected functionality, especially compared to their previous EMR. Seven of the eight live customers identify pharmacy and medications as significant challenges requiring manual processes for barcoding, charge capture, medication reconciliation, and start/stop time documentation, all of which have become table stakes for EMR vendors today. Charge capture for IVs and supplies is also manual, though most customers have workarounds. In total, 13 of the 28 contracted customers delayed or canceled their implementation over not-yet-available functionality, like charge capture and surgery (currently in beta). Also, the nursing workflow and documentation are clunkier than nurses would like, lacking contextual information for encounter notes or predefined options that speed up charting. Still, customers are optimistic for the future, and even end users say athenahealth is making the progress they expect.

biggest challenges

3. Improved Usability Reported as Biggest Success

The majority of customers surveyed (outside of pharmacy) say the athenahealth solution’s overall ease of use has been a win, especially for physicians. Though there is much room for improvement and documentation can be enhanced, customers note that overall the workflow is better than what they had before with paper or a previous EMR and that this translates into better physician adoption and efficiency. Executives also feel athenahealth’s enthusiasm has been a big success, resulting in healthy collaboration and a sense of partnership.

your biggest successesathenahealth at a glance from selection through implementation

author - Jonathan Christensen
Jonathan Christensen
author - Jess Wallace-Simpson
Jess Wallace-Simpson
author - Robert Ellis
Project Manager
Robert Ellis
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This material is copyrighted. Any organization gaining unauthorized access to this report will be liable to compensate KLAS for the full retail price. Please see the KLAS DATA USE POLICY for information regarding use of this report. © 2024 KLAS Research, LLC. All Rights Reserved. NOTE: Performance scores may change significantly when including newly interviewed provider organizations, especially when added to a smaller sample size like in emerging markets with a small number of live clients. The findings presented are not meant to be conclusive data for an entire client base.