Cerner EHR vs Epic EHR: An Actionable Comparison
Are you struggling to find an appropriate EHR (Electronic Health Record) solution for your healthcare organization?
Evaluating and selecting the right EHR solution for your medical facility can be both confusing and troublesome. Choosing the wrong system for your hospital or clinic can put you on the route of extreme challenges (a recourse you can avoid by following the right approach).
Normally, a good deal of research is required to pick a fitting EHR software suited to a particular practice. While the services provided by most healthcare IT vendors are more or less the same, there are some points of distinction among their offerings that demand thorough consideration.
So, to save you both time and hassle, we’ve written a detailed comparison between the two biggest EHR software competitors (by cap) in the global health healthcare market space:
Cerner and Epic.
The Basic Difference between Cerner and Epic
Both EHR solutions offer their own unique sets of functionalities. Cerner caters to small practices and hospitals with 10-25 beds. Epic, on the other hand, caters to larger medical facilities (although the vendor is attempting to net smaller practices).
Now, let’s dig deep into how each differs – often in terms of offering a unique value proposition.
A good EHR system must be able to integrate with other systems in order to exchange and make use of information.
How Cerner Fares
Cerner EHR has built-in interoperability features to help users exchange information across healthcare IT systems.
Specifically, Cerner hosts three platforms to make integration possible with external systems. This makes connecting with operational, financial, and clinical data easier. The EHR solution is now attempting to develop application program interfaces (APIs) that will facilitate integration with third-party vendors for the provision of more holistic services.
Cerner offers a longitudinal patient record that enables clients to access a sorted, organized perspective on numerous sources of clinical information for comprehensive, one-snap, assessments. The vendor has set ‘interoperability’ as its platform’s core feature on account of being a founding member of the CommonWell Health Alliance, a non-profit and independent organization working towards the development and deployment of interoperability solutions.
The ‘Interoperability Ticker’ is another feature available on the Cerner website that helps in keeping a track of pharmacy and clinical transactions along with health data exchanges. For years, Cerner has gravitated towards initiatives that help the industry get to a common language that promotes a free and secure exchange of patient health records.
How Epic Fares
Epic EHR has received criticism for its lack of integrations as it offers less interoperability compared to its competitors. The vendor, on a different note from Cerner, has traditionally avoided entering into marketplace collaborations that claim to work towards integration (such as the CommonWell Health Alliance). For the past several months, however, it has been making efforts to improve on this front.
However, connecting Epic to other such software is easier via Direct Protocol, which means its robust connectivity to other EHRs makes it better than Cerner.
Epic, additionally, offers a ‘Happy Together‘ feature. This utility enables healthcare providers and patients to access data from multiple sources through a centralized, merged, portal view. It further assists healthcare organizations to take actions such as searching information across health systems, duplicate lab order checking, direct messaging, scheduling, and recovering reference-quality images while working as a single unit.
Implementation and Installation
Installing and implementing an electronic health record (EHR) system can be arduous. So, it’s important to consider the time, cost, and effort involved in installing and implementing new software in any clinical setting.
How Cerner Fares
Cerner does not enjoy a great reputation when it comes to smooth workplace integration. For installation, users are provided with a handy task list that makes it easier to execute everything. Software implementation on these lines facilitates good documentation. So far, however, Cerner has not announced any big changes regarding its implementation procedures.
How Epic Fares
Just like Cerner, Epic does not have a good record when it comes to under-budget implementation. The software’s installation costs users millions of dollars and they often end up spending more than what they expected. Further, the need to hire dedicated IT staff for installing Epic is a big concern as it increases the expenditure involved. The process, however, is easier to navigate.
According to most estimates, improvements in user interface come directly associated with increased EHR adoption. Up to 47% percent of healthcare executives, in fact, have communicated the said software attribute as being their topmost preference when deciding what to look for in an EHR subscription prospect for their organization.
How Cerner Fares
A report from KLAS has ranked Cerner with an upper hand over other EHRs in terms of usability – tabulated from the reviews of clinicians, care managers, and program administrators.
The bulk of reviewers, however, have found the application UI to not be as intuitive as they would have wanted. According to one account, the interface is tricky to navigate, which makes it difficult to focus on patient care. In this vein, the system is considered to be poorly designed and unintuitive.
How Epic Fares
Epic has received a mixed bag of reviews for its UI. Some have praised it for being easy to use and quick to implement. These commentators go on to state that the software is easier for users looking to navigate between documents and notes. At the same time, many others are critical of Epic’s UI and complain about the time it takes to learn the system.
Still, there is the fact – another pointer gleaned from the public reviews canon – that, once you have learned its UI, everything in Epic becomes a systematic, easy-to-work, affair.
Unhindered, always accessible, customer support is what makes an EHR software subscription appealing. Let’s see how both applications fare on this front.
How Cerner Fares
Cerner offers live support 24/7. Its customer support team is available to guide at all times, with the staff purported to be ‘very helpful’.
Epic, for its part, provides excellent technical support. But Cerner scores the competitive edge here since the service provider works with the user/subscriber as a partner.
So…Cerner EHR vs Epic EHR: The More Suitable, Overall, Choice for a Healthcare Setting?
This consideration entirely depends on your budget and practice size. If you are financially restricted and on the lookout for an EHR to service smaller hospitals or private practices, you should go for Cerner. But for larger hospitals and affluent subscribers, Epic, with its larger suite of features, may be more suitable.
Shifting the vantage, if you are looking for greater interoperability and more integrations, better population health management functionality and access to support services 24/7, then Cerner is the better option.
Epic is the right choice if a pleasing UI is one of your major concerns – align with seamless daily tasks automation
Starting at $25/year (subscription)
- Solid appointment management, billing, patient tracking, claims management, and compliance tracking features EHR
4.2 out of 5 (aggregate score)
$1200 – $500,000
- Powerful API, billing/invoicing, electronic payments offer, and CNA tracking EMR
4 out of 5 (aggregate score)
side-by-side overview of all the service features you can expect with a Epic OR Cerner subscription, enter the fields below!
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