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Beyond the Report

September 1, 2008
by Mark Hagland
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KLAS's Mid-Term Report shows ambulatory EMR products are seen as highly satisfying; while pharmacy and ERP are still “challenging” in areas

As part of an exclusive partnership, HCI will be presenting more information on KLAS reports than anyone in the industry. The following story breaks down the KLAS Mid-Term Report, while early next year we'll break down the Year-End edition. But that's not all. HCI will now feature a regularly appearing section in each issue — KLAS Reports — highlighting specially selected interim reports that come out each month.

Executive Overview

When evaluating vendors and their KLAS scores, it is important to understand what the market is capable of delivering, as some market segments perform better than others. For the Mid-Term Performance Review, the highest-performing software market segments were Enterprise Scheduling and Ambulatory EMR (2-5 Physicians); the lowest was Pharmacy. For professional services, the highest-performing market segment was Revenue Cycle Transformation; the lowest was Financial Implementation.

In its mid-term performance survey, “Mid-Term Performance Review: Software & Professiona l Services,” executives at KLAS (Orem, Utah) recently found that a few areas of software products have achieved relatively high approval from healthcare users over time. Among these, outpatient EMR products seem to have done particularly well, says Adam Gale, KLAS's chief operating officer.

“There's a lot of debate I see about why the adoption rate is so low (for ambulatory EMR software products), and why physicians don't like the systems and are upset over them,” says Gale. “But while there certainly are challenges and dissatisfaction, that turns out to be one of the highest-scoring areas in our database. So we think that the ambulatory EMR systems area is really going to take off, because once physicians do use those systems and get used to them, they really do see benefits.”

But that's not the only area that's looking up. Speech recognition products, Gale says, are producing a great deal more satisfaction than previously. Vendors have launched back-end speech recognition tools, which have eliminated the need for transcriptionists (replacing them with editors at a lower cost).

What about product areas with significant customer dissatisfaction? A few areas continue to struggle, Gale says. Two in particular with “significant challenges,” he says, are pharmacy systems and enterprise resource p lanning (ERP) solutions. Those are areas in which customers are still not getting what they're looking for from vendors. “In the ERP space, you have a lot of big vendors who don't provide much personal service, and with expensive solutions that haven't done a great job of making sure clients are successful. It's not a product issue; it's a service and support issue. As for pharmacy, it is a difficult area to automate because of patient safety, and, until recently, an area where the vendors haven't expended enough effort and understood the importance of integration.”

But what about individual vendors? Have any had dramatic changes in their standing?

One vendor that hasn't scored as well with customers recently, Gale says carefully, “is GE in the core clinical space, where healthcare providers are looking to see if their vision comes together. GE has a good vision of where they want to take their clinical products based on their development with Intermountain Healthcare, and that needs to play out long-term. Short-term, there's some client frustration” (see chart). On the other hand, says Gale, “We're amazed that Epic has continued to perform at such a high level, even though they continue to grow and their scores are slightly down. But across the board, they continue to strongly satisfy their customers” (see chart).

Meanwhile, Gale says, “If you look at a vendor like a Meditech or a Siemens, they have some up or down.” But, he adds, “I would say the vendor that's made the biggest turnaround in the past five years is McKes-son — they were really struggling about five years ago, and they've made major efforts to improve” (see chart).

Glenn Galloway

Glenn Galloway

Glenn Galloway, CEO of the Minneapolis-based Healthia Consulting, says he's not surprised by some of the trending with regard to individual Glenn Galloway vendors. In the Twin Cities, most of the client organizations he works with are Epic shops, and they have generally been highly satisfied. Though he doesn't often work with organizations that use GE (see chart) or the Kansas City, Mo.-based Cerner Corporation, he has heard of some issues with both of those vendors in terms of service over the long term, he says.


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