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EpicCare Ambulatory 2020—Community Connect EpicCare Ambulatory 2020—Community Connect
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EpicCare Ambulatory 2020—Community Connect
The Reality of Community Connect vs. Direct Contracting

author - Aaron Gleave
Aaron Gleave
author - Alex McIntosh
Alex McIntosh
April 2, 2020 | Read Time: 3  minutes

Because of Epic’s presence in the healthcare market and their record of strong performance, many standalone (i.e., not associated with a hospital) midsize to large ambulatory organizations have chosen or are seriously considering Epic’s platform. These organizations have two options: contract directly with Epic for an independent instance of the solution, or contract with a local hospital/IDN under the Community Connect model. This research—KLAS’ first look at the differences between these approaches on the ambulatory side—includes two main findings from standalone ambulatory organizations:

(1) With direct contracting, Epic delivers a highly satisfactory experience for midsize to large ambulatory organizations.
(2) Those on Community Connect, who rely on their host organization for support, tend to be considerably less satisfied and fault Epic for allowing host organizations to deliver an experience below Epic’s usual standard.

Satisfaction Lower with Community Connect—
Providers Fault Epic

performance snapshotCommunity Connect customers’ satisfaction is about on par with the market average for all ambulatory EMR solutions. Compared to organizations directly contracted with Epic, Community Connect users are less satisfied in nearly every KLAS metric—including overall performance and how likely customers are to recommend Epic to peers. Four of the ten who gave feedback about their implementation report a subpar experience, citing issues with integration, physician usability, and getting specialty-specific workflows. While some fault their host organization, several are frustrated with Epic for allowing host organizations to implement a subpar version of EpicCare.

In Direct Contracting Model, Epic Delivers Strong Support

support metricsSupport significantly impacts ambulatory providers’ satisfaction with the Epic platform. Those with direct Epic contracts—who therefore receive support directly from the vendor—say that Epic works collaboratively with them to solve problems. Support personnel are described as knowledgeable and empowered to make changes or fixes that improve the EMR experience and help users work more efficiently. The quality of the support experience for ambulatory organizations using Community Connect depends on the host organization (who is primarily responsible for support in this model). A number of these organizations say issues are sometimes overlooked by the host organization or not resolved to their satisfaction. Sometimes changes requested by the customer are denied by the host organization. Additionally, the level of expertise at host organizations is inconsistent.

Training Shortcomings by Host Organizations Have Downstream Effects on Community Connect Customers

While the underlying software solution is the same for directly contracted and Community Connect users, those who contract directly with Epic report significantly higher satisfaction with the system itself. These providers feel that Epic has done a good job of training them on how to effectively utilize the system’s functionality, allowing them to be more efficient and productive and leverage new technology effectively. Community Connect users are commonly frustrated by a lack of training from their host organization, and this often translates into frustration with the EMR’s ease of use and a poorer opinion of the system’s overall quality. This also directly and negatively impacts Community Connect customers’ likelihood to recommend Epic to their peers.

confidence metrics

Amount of Organizational Control Has Substantial Impact on Epic’s Perceived Value

money's worth and avoids nickel and dimingOrganizations using Community Connect report a substantially lower perception of overall value than their directly contracted peers even though the Community Connect model is less costly. Many Community Connect users attribute their EMR struggles to a loss of control over their own EMR experience and place significant value on that control. Organizations directly contracting for EpicCare Ambulatory EMR report that while the cost of the system is relatively quite high, the overall EMR experience that Epic delivers (e.g., product quality, user experience, integration, and new functionality) is well worth the higher price. Several report increased efficiency and more accurate billing practices as direct outcomes of using EpicCare compared to their previous EHR, contributing to a perception of high value from Epic’s platform.

Data Insights

customers experience pillars overall score distribution

Note: Distribution counts are based on individual respondents, not unique organizations, and may therefore differ from the sample sizes shown in other charts.

standard numeric indicators
author - Amanda Wind Smith
Amanda Wind Smith
author - Madison Moniz
Madison Moniz
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.