Chris O’Neal is Managing Partner at KATALUS Advisors. KATALUS Advisors is a strategic consulting firm focused on the healthcare vertical. We serve healthcare technology vendors, hospitals, and private equity groups in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Our services span growth strategies in new and existing markets, M&A due diligence, market analysis, and advisory services. www.KATALUSadvisors.com
A recent comment on a blog post suggested that Epic is following a similar trajectory which Meditech pioneered, basically positing that Meditech was the Epic of 15 years ago. This has obviously generated some controversy as knowledgeable folks have taken up both sides of this argument. In reality, there is no clean “yes” or “no” answer. There are key similarities, as well as stark differences in these two vendors.
In terms of similarities, Epic and Meditech both adhere to a common product delivery philosophy in that they build products rooted in a single-database platform. Both companies believe that integration is key to the success of HIT and have continued to develop their products around that philosophy. Both products even share the use of MUMPS as their backend architecture.
Yet, Meditech did something no other vendor was able to do for the longest time: They delivered an integrated enterprise solution at prices which community hospitals could afford. While Meditech racked up win after win in the community hospital space, Epic approached the market from the opposite end of the spectrum by selling their inpatient solutions to the largest hospitals and IDNs. And the price tag reflected the scale of those contracts. Another difference which has been shared by some is the view that Epic is much more controlling in their processes and approach to working with hospitals. Meditech does not have the same “my way or no way” reputation. Additionally, Epic has consistently improved the usability and functionality of their products, while Meditech has released new versions and enhancements at a slower pace.
In the final analysis, it is probably logical to say Epic and Meditech are more dissimilar than they are similar, when both companies are viewed holistically. This is especially true if we consider that Epic is winning the lion’s share of hospital contracts that it goes after, while Meditech, which still maintains the largest hospital customer base in the industry, is working hard to deliver new software to the hospitals it has already won.