My apologies to readers who lamented my last blog entry that failed to knock a vendor product. This one will tick them off even more: two bits of good news on two vendor revenue cycle products, both overturning my long-held skepticism:

Soarian Financials – along with most industry pundits, I mocked the slow delivery of Siemens’ Soarian, my best quip being calling it “Soarian.ppt.” Announced in the late ’90s just before SMS’s acquisition as “TNT,” Soarian had the usual slow delivery blues, with releases taking longer and longer, to deliver less and less promised functionality. As most know, by now Soarian’s clinical apps have been completed, and they compete very well with other high-end vendors like GE, Epic, and Eclipsys, whoops, sorry, I mean Allscripts.   What surprised me recently was working with a hospital that was considering Soarian financials, which are primarily Revenue Cycle apps: Access, Billing, & AR. For ERP suite (AP, GL, Materials, etc.), Siemens, like most vendors, punts to specialty firms like Lawson these days.

At first, I figured this would be a short gig, and all I had to do was coach them into following our usual vetting process of telephone reference calls and site visits, which pop the euphoric bubble of most new products. To my great surprise, they had already made a few phone calls to several user sites, and had even made three site visits, all positive. Now site visits can be scammed by sales “chaperones” from the vendor sitting in the room, intimidating the client from any negatives and placing “spin” on any criticisms later. Amazingly, Siemens reps had left my client alone in the room with their counterparts to hear all the dirt, of which there was surprisingly little!

So, I’m eating a little crow by saying, in the Revenue Cycle arena as well, Soarian is no longer “.ppt” but ready for prime time! My only caveat: as with any revenue cycle product, check out your state thoroughly: EDI to intermediaries is not the standard that HIPAA was supposed to have created, but still a bit of a hodgepodge across the country. You never want to be the first in your state to teach a vendor just how weird your Medicare intermediary is …

Cerner ProFit – again as with most industry pundits, I have been skeptical of Cerner’s “ProFit” Revenue Cycle offering, since its early clients were as unhappy with it as they were ecstatic about Millennium clinicals. Announced like Soarian around 2000, ProFit was delivered in fits and starts, with a release here, a release there, and seemingly more implementation debacles than success stories.

We have a large client looking at Cerner recently, and in response to our RFI, Cerner made claims that sound like ProFit my be over its teething problems: 

* 63 total facilities with ProFit installed

* 15 more sold in 2010

* 40 in the queue for 2011

As with Soarian financials, we’ll be calling the specific sites they gave us over the next few months to ensure end users are as optimistic as the marketing reps are, and if they make our finalist cut, make un-chaperoned site visits, preferably in our state. So maybe ProFit’s ready for prime time? I must confess, I’m rooting for Cerner as Judy needs some more competition in the high-end market. Epic’s cult-like dominance of large AMCs and IDNs is not good for competition, and if ProFit can compete with Resolute, which is probably the weakest link in EpicCare, it would be a healthier market for all concerned.

 

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