Small practices are flocking to electronic health records that use the software as a service (SaaS) model, according to a new report from KLAS, an Orem, Utah-based research firm. Although these Web-native, remotely hosted EHRs don’t threaten to take over the market, they have increased their market share significantly in the past few years, report author and KLAS research director Erik Bermudez told InformationWeek Healthcare.
For this survey, KLAS defined SaaS products narrowly as browser-based EHRs that have a single database for all customers and the ability to apply software updates to all customers’ EHRs simultaneously. Although the leading EHR vendors offer both onsite client-server and remotely hosted applications, none of them provide a system that meets this SaaS definition, according to Bermudez, so they were excluded from the report.
The researchers randomly called 300 practices that use SaaS products from vendors such as AdvancedMD, athenahealth, Bizmatics, CureMD, MedPlus/Quest Diagnostics, MIE, OptumInsight, Practice Fusion, Sevocity, and Waiting Room Solutions. The practices included a number of specialties, but were mostly primary care groups. The average size of the practices was two to four physicians, Bermudez said.
“SaaS technology really caters to that small physician practice,” he noted. “When you look at the dynamics of a small practice, it’s not going to have a full-time IT person to keep its systems up and running and to customize the EHR to its needs. Nor do these practices have a ton of money to dump $50,000 to $100,000 into an EHR system. So because of the features of SaaS, whether it’s IT or the money, SaaS is very attractive for those smaller physician practices.”
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