Cerner Siemens 1

EMR Market Share by the Numbers: The Cerner/Siemens Acquisition, Part 1

On August 5, Cerner surprised (much of) the HIT world by announcing they would acquire Siemens Health Services for $1.3 billion. Surprise or no, it represents a major shift in the hospital EMR market place. Siemens has experienced their share of ups and downs over the last 20 years, but there is no arguing that they have been a major market player.

Unfortunately, since unveiling their next-generation Soarian EMR in 2002, Siemens has had a few more downs than ups. Most of these downs have been related to a single word: speed. Over the years, providers have indicated that Siemens is too slow to achieve reliable go lives at customer sites, too slow delivering code fixes and upgrades, and too slow evolving their portfolio—most notably in producing an integrated Soarian ambulatory EMR. Last October, one provider summed it up this way:

Siemens is behind the eight ball, and they need to be faster at providing improvement for Soarian Clinicals. We are running up against this wall of meaningful use and ICD-10 and so on and so forth. They are improving. They are coming out with new features and functions, but their competitors have had those things for at least a few years already. For example, we haven’t implemented provider documentation yet. Epic has very robust documentation, whereas Siemens is only beginning to scratch the surface with some basic features. They are clearly playing catch-up.

Speaking of Epic, 12 of the 16 hospitals that decided to leave Siemens last year contracted with Epic instead. According to Epic customers, the vendor has largely figured out the kind of challenges that plague Siemens. That reputation has shot Epic to the forefront of hospital EMR vendors: in 2013 they took the yellow jersey of market share leader from longtime front-runner MEDITECH.  

During that same period of time, Siemens lost more hospitals than they gained. In fact, aside from Epic, only one other vendor has been consistently expanding their market share: Cerner.

For the past several years, Cerner has taken second place to Epic in the annual race to sign up new hospitals. Each year, however, Cerner has progressively been closing the gap with Epic. Or have they? Certainly this is true when it comes to raw hospital counts, but some say not all hospitals are created equal.

More on this and what the “New Cerner” means to market share in Part 2 of this post.

For more details on market share trends for all the EMR vendors, see the recently published KLAS report “Clinical Market Share 2014: Competition Mounts as Markets Collide