GE Centricity Advance Ceasing Operations

Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk with the people from GE who briefed me that GE is in the process of shutting down their GE Centricity Advance product line. This was pretty big news to me since I remember just last year at HIMSS meeting with GE and hearing that for the small practice (I believe 1-10 docs) GE Centricity Advance was where they were putting all their effort. You could see the energy they had behind it. In fact, their iPad EHR app was built on top of the GE Centricity Advance solution (which is now being moved to their other EHR product lines).

You might remember that the GE Centricity Advance solution was actually created out of the purchase of MedPlexus in March 2010. At the time, MedPlexus had 100 employees out of California with the development team out of India. At the time of purchase it seemed GE’s acquisition would provide a SaaS based EHR option to the independent physician market. Plus, MedPlexus (which became GE Centricity Advance) also provided an integrated Practice Management System with the EHR.

The GE Centricity Advance website is already forwarding to the Centricity Practice Solution website and a letter was sent out to all Centricity Advance customers informing them that the product line was ceasing operation. I’ve asked for a copy of that letter and if I get it, I’ll add it to this post (or if you’re a customer that received it and doesn’t mind sharing we’d welcome it).

I was told that GE is offering Centricty Advance users a free transfer to their Centricity Practice Solution EHR software. From what they told me it seems this will include data migration, training on the new system and a license for Centricity Practice Solution. Of course, Centricity Advance was paid on a subscription model so they’ll have to continue paying the monthly fee. As with most data migrations, I don’t think we’ll know how good GE is at migrating the data from GE Centricity Advance to Centricity Practice Solution until they start to do them.

Since both Centricity Advance and Centricity Practice Solution have ONC-ATCB complete EHR certification, there shouldn’t be any problems for those that transfer to Centricity Practice Solution when it comes to EHR stimulus money. Those not wanting to move to the Centricity Practice Solution will have this as part of their decision on what to do once Centricity Advance is no longer supported. I expect there will be many in this situation since while Centricity Practice Solution is available through GE’s partners as a “SaaS” offering, I think many will want to find a true from the ground up web based SaaS EHR offering.

I asked how many providers would be effected by the end of the Centricity Advance product line, but it’s GE’s policy to not comment on those numbers.

Where does this leave GE Centricity EMR software?
GE Healthcare IT still does a couple billion dollars of business and still has three EMR software offerings:
*Centricity Practice Solution – The replacement for Centricity Advance and will be GE’s EMR offering for the 1-100 provider practices.
*Centricity EMR – Still ambulatory EMR, but for the 100+ provider practices.
*Centricity Enterprise – Acute care EMR

I’m sure that many will wonder how good the Centricity Practice Solution will do in the small practice arena. Will this basically mean that GE is no longer a player in the small 1-10 provider practices? It’s hard to say for sure, but I’ll be interested to see how the Centricity Practice Solution EHR does in this market. There must have been a reason they purchased what became Centricity Advance instead of going with Centricity Practice Solution in the first place.

On the other hand, I could see people making the argument that this is a sound strategy by GE since movements like accountable care organizations (ACO’s) and related initiatives are putting the small practice in jeopardy. We know that many hospital systems are purchasing up group practices as they prepare to become an ACO among other reasons. While we still have many small group practices, it’s worth considering how many of them will survive the changing landscape. If not many survive, then this strategy by GE could end well for them. Although, I personally believe that practice consolidation is cyclical and so I’m not ready to announce the death of small group practices yet.

Another trend that might make this a good decision on GE’s part is what I call the Smart EHR. Our current phase of EHR adoption is basically converting paper to electronic. Once doctors start requiring EHR software to do things far more advanced (see Artificial Intelligence and Genomics EHR), it will require a new kind of EHR. Maybe Centricity Advance wasn’t prepared to make this shift. We’ll see if GE’s other EHR software is ready for it.

Many have argued that EHR consolidation is inevitable. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that part of that EHR consolidation is happening within the same EHR company. I’m sure there are more on the way as we see which EHR companies survive the meaningful use winter and come out on the other side and which EHR companies close up shop.

Update: I asked GE for some more clarification on when GE Centricity Advance would be sunset and which data they’ll be migrating as part of the data migration process. Here are their answers:
Sunset Period: We have announced that we will cease operations of Centricity Advance on June 30, 2012. The data will be available in read-only mode until December 31, 2012.

Data Migration: We are working with our partners and customers to figure out the best way to migrate data. We have told customers that we will migrate the following data:
a. Patient Demographics, Patient Insurance data, Fee Schedules, Appointments
b. Patient Summary
c. Patient chart
We will migrate all clinical data. We are working with our partners to determine which financial information should be automatically migrated.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, 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, EXPO.health, 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.

18 Comments

  • The industry will loose an amazing product. I have been using/supporting this product for the last 3+ years and totally loved it. I was notified couple of days ago about the shutdown and I am still in the shock.

    At my level, I can only think about those developers and support engineers I know there who might still not be able to digest the fact. I can only wish them good luck. Will miss working with them.

  • I’m sure that many will wonder how good the Centricity Practice Solution will do in the small practice arena.
    I love this statement.

    As one who has supported a single doc practice on CPS for many years…in fact sat in on the sales presentations, I’ll tell you this much: a great deal of hardware simplification must occur for CPS to be a real player for a smaller practice.

    We have 5 (yes FIVE) servers to run this – I had to show up at one meeting with a baseball bat to prevent the need for more servers.

    GE isn’t entirely to blame for this – each add on (which are all 3rd party) generally requires a stand alone server to run that ONE add-on…this is the case even with two add-ons from the same vendor!!!??!

    If this was known going in, Centricity would never have been selected.

  • To expand on Michael’s comment, as GE seems to be losing footing in the ambulatory EHR space, one wonder’s if they would be a good candidate for another big player (Epic, NextGen, Allscripts) to buy their footprint from them. Maybe it was the fallback plan all along to roll-up small practices to use CPS following the MedPlexus acquisition if the introduction of Advance failed to take hold.

  • Poorna,
    I’m sure it’s a sad thing for you. I hope you’ll let us know what you decide to do going forward and can share your experience for others to learn. If we can help in any way, let us know.

    John Brewer,
    5 servers? Not a problem for 100 provider practices, but imagine that for a solo doc.

    Justin,
    I can’t imagine them selling their footprint in that space. I imagine they’ll continue using CPS for that space. It’s just interesting that GE is moving away from SaaS where pretty much every other EHR vendor is moving to SaaS. Although, working with the larger practices seems to fit GE’s profile better than the small ones.

  • We have been using CPS for our EHR since May 07. I love it! We have 9 providers with two locations of care and are getting ready to expand. I find the longer I use the product, to more I find it can do. I am in 2006 and can hardly wait to upgrade to 10.0. We reconcille the medication logs, which helps when the patients show up in our Emergency Dept or get admitted to a SNF. Retrieval of records is a snap, as we have learned to tag line and use appropriate document types. Can you tell, I am a big fan…. In my job role I do management and direct patient care, so I see the benefits from both angles.
    Tracy Aspel

  • Tracy,
    Thanks for stopping by and sharing. We want to get every perspective possible in on the discussion.

    Why haven’t you upgraded from 2006 to 10.0 until now? That seems like a long time between EMR upgrades.

  • I can certainly relate to the hardships everyone has experienced! We were on Centricity PMS only for several years and have just recently made the leap to 10.0. I represent a 3-provider group practice and one solo practictioner. I debated between on-site servers and hosting and selected to go with a hosted enviroment for our CPS 10.0 in order to reduce some of the cash requirement to begin. We selected Alliance Healthcare to provide both the software and the hosting. So far, I’m happy with both decisions. By hosting the product, you can reduce some of the up-front costs and also receive the support many small practices need in updating and maintaing the database. This gave us the benefit of running full-blown CPS at a price we could afford.
    The product itself has been been a fairly easy implementation. As you would expect, EHR start-up has been a challenge, but CPS 10.0 is fairly intuitive and has some great features that make record-keeping and documentation easier than we thought! I agree with Tracy – I’m a fan!

  • Alex,
    Thanks for the extra info. I’m interested to learn more about your experience with the hosted version of CPS. Do they just give you Citrix access?

    From the above comments it seems that CPS reminds me a bit about what I heard people say about NextGen. Basically, that it could do just about anything, but took some configuration and know how to get it to the point where it was working the way you wanted it to work. Is that a fair assessment? That’s what I took from the comments that it got better over time.

  • John,
    We went live on CPS 9.5 in September and have just upgraded to 10.0 this month. So, we’re new to this. I selected the hosted option for a few reasons: 1) the cost of implementation with the hardware requirements for in-house servers, 2) my inexperience with the IT requirements for running it.
    I’m not sure if this wil answer your questions on accessing the hosted servers, but I will try.
    We run a small network on-site (about 20 computers total) and use a Sonic Wall. Alliance, our VAR, hosts our Centricity servers. I don’t fully understand the configuration, but I believe our Sonic Wall was configured to directly access the servers through VPN. The end-users simply click an icon on the desktop and we’re in. Scanning is done via FTP. We do use a few third-party entities, such as billing and some software services, they too simply access via VPN. We have been fortunate not to have any major connectivity issues and it runs fairly smooth.
    I would agree with the statement that it gets better over time, but I think that’s a fair assessment of any EHR. I have found it to be fairly intuitive to the end-user. My staff is largely computer-challenged, with little to no experience in basic computer use, including some of my providers. I have been surprised with the ease most of them are learning CPS. As for me, the more I learn about the system, the more excited I am to begin implementing new features.
    In my opinion, hosting was the best option, especially in a new implementation. I have great support from Alliance in training and maintaining the databases. It’s great to have the extra resources available.

  • I have used Medplexus/CA since 10/08 and they made changes in the order system system this past July that made it harder to use and took longer to chart. I beleve that because of this along with ICD 10 updates further MU requirements and developement of a internet option for CPS made CA dispensabled.

  • […] The best evaluation I saw of the Allscripts situation is that it is very likely that Allscripts and Glen Tullman will use this stock drop to start making even more drastic moves. For example, we all know that they don’t need that many EHR software and so none of us should be surprised if they choose to sunset 1 or more of their EHR software. Yes, that’s right. Your EHR software isn’t safe even if you buy it from a large EHR vendor like Allscripts (see also when GE ceased operations of Centricity Advance). […]

  • John-

    What do you think is going to happen to the 1-20 provider space for ambulatory EHR? Do you believe that this is going to be an under-served demographic? Are the bigger players getting out of that space?

  • Hi Mike,
    It’s an interesting question. I’ve heard a lot of people say that it’s an underserved group now. I don’t follow that line of thought. I think there are plenty of EHR vendors trying to serve that space. They just don’t make the big splash that the HUGE million and billion dollar EHR sales make.

  • ACTUALLY WE ARE CONCERN FOR THE LASTTHRE YEARS …WE ARE UNABLE TO GET OUR COPY OF ALL THE BILLING THAT WE DID IN 2010.. WE REALLY NEEDED FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH OF NY STATE ,ALL THE TIME WE TRY TO CONTACT THEM NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING OR THEY WANT MONEY A LOT OF MONEY TO SEE IF THEY CAN RESOLVE THE PROBLEM UNKNOW WHAT TO DO.PLEASE IF SOMEBODY KNOWS SEND ME THE INFRMATION THRU THE E MAIL POSTED THANKS IN ADVANCE

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