The Argument for Meditech

Guest Post: Jeremy Bikman is Chairman at KATALUS Advisors, a strategic consulting firm focused on the healthcare vertical. We help vendors grow, guide hospitals into the future, and advise private equity groups on their investments. Our clients are found in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Why Meditech Continues to Be a Force in HIT
Meaningful Use is a load of white noise, and it could be argued has become a load of something else.
While it is true that certain mandates associated with HITECH are meant to help hospitals achieve real and significant milestones, these mandates also tend to skew and confine the scope of conversation to within narrow clinical parameters. Press releases also reflect this, whether it be Epic’s latest win or the newest Siemens Soarian or McKesson Horizon site to turn on CPOE. What seems to get lost in the noise are the thousands of small and mid-size hospitals and the vendors which serve them. These hospitals provide care for a substantial percentage of the population. This post focuses on one such vendor, Meditech, and the reasons behind its strong position in the industry.

Meditech: By the Numbers
Number of Hospital Clients (U.S.): approximately 2,000
Market Share Position by Total HIS/Core Clinical Installs: 1st
HIS/Core Clinical Offerings: MAGIC, C/S, and 6.0 (with 6.0 as the new standard and go-forward platform)

Serving the Underserved
Small and community hospitals typically have had the fewest choices when selecting a HIS or core clinical vendor. This has always been a function of limited hospital budget, limited IT staff, and the limited number of vendors serving the community and critical access hospital space. Meditech radically changed the paradigm by successfully targeting cash-strapped hospitals and delivering a solution which was both capable and affordable. Specifically, Meditech was able to gain a huge client base by delivering the following:
1. An integrated, comprehensive HIT platform
2. Low upfront and maintenance costs; historically lower priced than any comparable competitor
3. Utilized a proven database technology
Until now, no other vendor has been able to match this value proposition for community hospitals, and without the recent influx of billions of dollars of government funding for HIT spending, it’s unlikely almost any other major vendor could match Meditech’s value proposition today.

What Detractors Say
The following are a series of arguments typically levied against Meditech. Also included are responses which illuminate alternative points of view to these arguments and provide balance to the overall discussion:
Argument: Meditech utilizes old technology.
Response: Meditech’s core technology is really no older than that of the hottest vendor on the market right now – Epic. In fact, they use much of the same technology, with both vendors utilizing a MUMPS database, which is proven as an extremely reliable, fast system.

Argument: Meditech doesn’t support its customers.
Response: No vendor is perfect in customer service and support, and all have room for improvement. That being said, most Meditech customers believe they receive support which meets their expectations. A much higher level of support would require Meditech to hire additional staff and raise its maintenance fees, which would directly hurt their smaller hospital clients.

Argument: Meditech is just about the money.
Response: Let’s set the record straight – every vendor is in business to make money and there is nothing wrong with it. Meditech was certainly late to the game with V6 but so have most of the other major EHR/HIS vendors in the releases of their go-forward “Meaningful Use” compliant solutions. Furthermore, extremely large portions of their customer base are very small hospitals with very small IT budgets that almost no other vendor could afford to support.

Argument: Ok, Meditech might work for smaller hospitals but definitely isn’t suited for larger, more sophisticated ones.
Response: Tell that to Centura Health in Colorado, CHRISTUS Health in San Antonio, Methodist Health System in Dallas, Hospital Sisters Health System in Springfield, IL, or St. Joseph’s Health System out of Orange County, CA. These major organizations are just an example out of a much larger pool of healthcare organizations that are having demonstrable success utilizing Meditech’s core clinical offerings.

Simply put, Meditech is not for everybody, and frankly neither is Cerner, Allscripts, Siemens, McKesson, or Epic. Organizations that go in with their eyes wide open, have committed IT staffs (lead by tough and independent minded executives) and involved physician and nurse leadership can have success with Meditech on par with competing clinical IT solutions.

In summary, Meditech remains a competitive and viable enterprise vendor for hospitals of all sizes. If there is one area where Meditech truly lags behind its competitors it is in the area of trumpeting their every success across the industry. Negative spin has filled this information void. It’s time for Meditech to come back to the HIMSS conference and start making noise on influential HIT websites and blogs to share their clients’ successes and promote its hard-won reputation for value to the industry.

Disclaimer: Meditech is not a client of KATALUS Advisors.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • While MT has been around a LONG time (hence old technology) and it is a rock stable platform, no HIS vendor should be arrogant enough to think that it has all areas adequately covered, especially clinicals. The Clinical aspects of MT are a nightmare for the user, especially in the ED and vendors like MT should be more accomodating to their clients to assist/allow interfacing of more usable applications. Having said that, it would put companies like Iatric that are thriving as a result of their unwillingness to integrate out of business.

  • I have no doubt that Meditech is an excellent system, but in the end should it matter? Does Yo Yo Ma play only one kind of chello, or can he make almost any chello sound wonderful? The issue to me is less about the application but rather around it’s openness, that is does Meditech play nice with departmental systems better designed and suited for highly specific departmental clinical needs.

    I can’t much afford to play favorites hence I’m equally effective in any system built upon standard SQL protocols. As an RN, I can assure you that the physiology of patients doesn’t change to meet the needs of the clinical system.

  • Thomas A. Coss,
    It’s a good question. Does any other of Meditech’s competitors play nice with other systems? Seems like it’s the major failure of most and maybe all HIS systems.

  • Jeremy makes great points and he and I are in agreement 99% of the time. I take a different view when it comes to MUMPS. Having worked at a vendor that used MUMPS as well I have heard people say for years how it is great because it is fast. My usual response is fast compared to what? In the 70’s it was fast yes but today? I usually ask people who are MUMPS fans, have you seen Relational databases are a requirement today. Besides I have seen programmers trying to debug mumps code integrated with this odd node data structure. It drives them mad! There are so many open source alternatives today. Yes it takes work but it is modern and can be updated with less effort. Which is easier? Finding a Mumps programmer or a Java programmer?

  • It surprises me that the HIT industry is willing to endure being forced to train up the young folk on MUMPS rather than force vendors like Meditech and Epic to upgrade to current technologies. (I saw a post from about 2005 on a discussion board in which the poster said that Epic had plans for a .NET upgrade, but that never happened, no?) If I were an HIT manager, I’d rather spend time training my entry-level staff, for whom MUMPS skills are an artifact of Epic/Meditech market dominance, to keep developing better skills in Java and other current tech.

  • Having worked in several hospitals and used several systems there is no comparison between Meditech and Epic. Everytime I use Meditech I feel like I am in the dark ages. It does not flow well (geez am I supposed to hit F12, esc, the right arrow key or enter to exit a particular area. One never knows, I just keep hitting buttons until something works). Epic was the easiest and most intuitive program.
    As far as cost saving, it’s like using a manual typewriter with Meditech vs. a real computer with Epic. Yeah the manual is cheap, durable and dependable but the more expensive computer is so much more versatile, easier to use and, in the long run, more cost efficient because nurses actually have time to perform patient care.

  • Cindy, you’re right. MEDITECH MAGIC plataform is from the Dark Ages hence pressing F12, ESC, F11 and so forth was normal back than and worked pretty well in the 80s. We’re using MEDITECH C/S 6.x at the Hospital where I work, and I can assure you that this platform is a solid product.

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