Even though oncology is a tough technology market due to operational crossovers, complex protocols, and the difference in requirements between medical and radiation oncology, system replacements are rare and come primarily as a result of consolidated practices, according to a recent report from HIT consulting firm KLAS (Orem, Utah). The Oncology IT Balancing Act: Integration vs. Functionality found that switching to a new solution is difficult due to the investment expense, integration costs, and workflows that are built from the implementation up. Best-of-breed vendors claim the lion's share of this market with few providers planning to replace their current oncology system in the near future, despite low vendor performance scores.
Healthcare information technology (HIT) vendor energy seems primarily focused on the medical, rather than radiation, oncology market. Providers observe that some oncology vendors seem less interested in functionality than in integrating medical and radiation oncology or the enterprise clinical system. This focus may result from vendors stretching to achieve product certification for meaningful use in relation to the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
As meaningful use requirements and deadlines loom ever closer, providers need oncology solutions that will integrate better with the enterprise clinical environment as well as with other software and equipment used in the oncology environment. Healthcare providers from all oncology levels wonder when the next wave of advancement will hit the market and how to prepare for the appropriate action they should take when that wave comes.