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Based on the Meaningful Use data published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Sevices (CMS), it’s two smaller companies that lead the market for radiology EHRs: MedInformatix (14.9%), which received more than a third of its attestations from radiology, and Merge Healthcare (14.5%), which serves exclusively radiology and orthopedics. EpicCare is third with 10.2%, The next highest ranking company has less than a third as much business as either of these two, and the numbers only go down from there.
|Epic Systems Corporation||234||10.2%|
|Partners Healthcare System||140||6.1%|
|Advanced Data Systems Corporation||102||4.4%|
|DR Systems, Inc.||99||4.3%|
|Vitera Healthcare Solutions, LLC||68||3.0%|
|UT MD Anderson Cancer Center||56||2.4%|
|Center for Diagnostic Imaging||53||2.3%|
|Alere Wellogic LLC||48||2.1%|
It’s interesting to note that because of the unique nature of radiology as a specialty, many of the popular EHRs are those that focus on imaging. Some of them—like MagView, Center for Diagnostic Imaging, Alere, and DR Systems—work exclusively in the radiology field. Some target radiology and a few other areas--for example, MedInformatix has a strong showing in family medicine, cardiology and internal medicine; Merge Healthcare focuses on radiology and orthopedics; Advanced Data Systems hits internal medicine, cardiology and gastroenterology; and UT MD Anderson Center hits each of the oncology, radiology and pathology specialties you’d expect given their focus.
According to the data, 96.7% of EHR purchases are for complete EHRs. The remainder are for modular EHRs, those that contain some but not all elements of an EHR (e.g., medical imaging). Ninety-eight percent are being used in ambulatory practices.
Interestingly, the leading state for radiology EHRs is New Jersey--it has more than four times as many radiology EHRs than would be expected from its population.
Although we recognize that the CMS data used to furnish this report is not exactly the same as market share, we’ve been using it to compile these reports, since it gives us an advantage in tracking data for the top EHR products available.
Of the 229,132 entries in the original data, 2,865 were used to compile this report. The great majority of these (2,657) came under the Diagnostic Radiology specialty, with 152 from Interventional Radiology and 56 from Nuclear Medicine. Note that because of the way the data is reported to CMS, these 2,865 entries represent only 2,150 medical providers, some of whom are using multiple products. The culled down data is available here.
Radiology information systems (referred to as “RIS” by most users and vendors) have been around since the 1980s and have been tailored to meet the needs of both small and large organizations. The RIS market has become flooded with vendors since then, resulting in a fragmented market that most buyers find confusing to navigate. We’ve written this guide to give buyers a lay of the land to start their research and comparisons.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Radiology information systems help radiology centers manage clinical and administrative data and automate workflows. At the user level, a RIS helps collect patient demographics and contact information, schedule appointments, track images, manage inventory, and report on results. A RIS provides automation of repetitive tasks for administrative staff and increases efficiency for providers.
Most radiology information systems will offer an HL7 interface to enable integration with picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), electronic medical records systems (EMRs), or hospital information systems (HIS). More advanced systems will offer functionality for dictation support, result delivery via e-fax and email, mobile support, and customizable reporting.
Buyers of radiology software programs will have the choice of implementing a standalone RIS or an integrated RIS and PACS. Due to the complementary offerings of both, it is fairly common for RIS buyers to implement integrated RIS and PACS suites. The decision to implement a standalone RIS or a complete RIS/PACS is dependent on users’ unique needs and environments.
It is important that buyers assess what type of buyer they are before evaluating vendors. Just about all buyers can fall into one of the following three categories:
|This type of buyer...||Should evaluate these systems|
|Small radiology centers||RISynergy, Medics RIS/PACS, Sage Intergy|
|Enterprise radiology centers||GE, Medics RIS/PACS|
|Hospitals||GE, Siemens, Philips|
There are two important healthcare software trends that are important to understand when evaluating the RIS market:
When implementing a RIS, buyers should primarily expect to realize the following benefits:
As with all technology, there are potential risks to consider as well. The first issue on most RIS buyers’ minds is patient privacy, which most companies have addressed with fully HIPAA-compliant systems. The second concern we hear about most often is in regards to ease of use. While most ease of use issues can be addressed with training, buyers will want to perform a thorough evaluation of their selected RIS to make sure the workflow is logical and the layout is intuitive.
As medical practice software changes and new software solutions become readily available, vendors offering radiology-specific applications are becoming more advanced, and more compliant with Meaningful Use initiatives. Ninety percent of radiologists are eligible for Meaningful Use reimbursements if ten-percent of their services are provided outside of emergency or inpatient care. There are many radiology information systems vendors (RIS) that are offering state-of-the-art applications and compliance with changing government standards. EHR systems for radiology offer an abundance of industry-specific tools. The cost of RIS systems vary, ranging from open-source programmers that have created free radiology information systems, all the way to top-of-the-line, integrated suites. Meanwhile, there’s both cloud radiology vendors as well as on-premise options. Some of the trending vendors are:
That said, there are many solutions that can integrate with PACS, offer third party speech integration, and deployable HL7 interfaces. To help compare RIS systems, we offer a thorough database of both on-premise and cloud-based radiology reviews.