Soarian: Does Siemens Finally Have an Epic-Killer?

If you search health IT sites looking for gossip and kvetching, you’d get the impression that Siemens’ Soarian EMR is buggy, hard to use and a general pain in the tuchus.  But some of that gossip goes back a few years, and from what I can see, it’s died down a lot. These days, things may be different indeed.

I remember Soarian in the early days when it was first showing off for the HIMSS crowd.  Man, they had a gorgeous booth, all light and silvered glass anchored by an enormous, translucent television screen (yes, you heard that right.) It wasn’t just slick — it looked like a Porsche dealership. When I stopped by, I felt like I should have been in evening wear.

Still, despite the big, big, massive bucks behind Soarian (Siemens AG has a market cap of about $93 billion), to date our friend Epic has won the day often than not. I’ve reluctantly been assuming that Epic would remain on top for some time to come.

But today, I stumbled across a piece of HIStalk chatter from this summer which made me think different.

While most IT posters have taken a gotta-deal-with-it approach to Epic’s antiquated MUMPS core, one took a contrarian view that got me thinking:

“Without a J2EE or .NET underpinning, at some point [Epic] will simply be too difficult to maintain and enhance?)… guessing the logical conclusion is that ultimately Soarian will gain a lead – a sustainable lead – over Epic.”

What gives the comment some kick is that Soarian is creeping up in customer satisfaction. In late 2010, for example, KLAS reported that the Siemens had seen a “pointed increase” in adoption and a nine-point growth in customer satisfaction scores.

Not only that, within a few weeks of the HIStalk posting, Soarian racked up a few more deals which must have brought in several million bucks. Sure, that might be chicken feed to a giant like Siemens, but my feeling is that the product is gaining momentum, and that’s no joke.

Could it be that like it or not, Soarian is the Next Big Thing?  Moreover, and maybe I’m stretching here, could it be the system that steals pride of place from our Epic Systems?

Yeah, yeah, we all know the story of how little old Netflix out-maneuvered WalMart and Blockbuster to carve out an astonishing chunk of the home entertainment market for itself. But let’s face it, that’s a big story because it so seldom happens. Brute force investment usually trumps spunk.

When it comes right down to it, I’m shifting my “gonna win the big hospital business” vote to Soarian. For today. Until something else happens. Oh, OK, I don’t know more than any of you…but the whole Soarian trend’s a bit of something, isn’t it?

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.


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