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KLAS: Providers’ Needs for Advanced Pop Health Solutions Ramp Up

October 13, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Provider organizations’ needs in managing population health are as varied as the capabilities of the IT solutions designed to assist them, according to KLAS researchers following a new report.

To create a standard for the core competencies required in a population health management (PHM) solution, KLAS held a summit in 2016 attended by executives from provider organizations, health IT vendors, services firms, and payer organizations. Six verticals of IT functionality required for PHM were identified as well as basic and advanced functionalities for each vertical. This latest report validates which basic functionalities vendors’ most advanced PHM customers currently use, with a second report on performance coming later this year.

The six verticals of IT functionality required for PHM that were identified by KLAS were: data aggregation; data analysis; care management; admin/financial reporting; patient engagement and clinician engagement.

Researchers from the Orem, Utah-based KLAS stated that as provider organizations enter into more risk-based agreements, what they need and expect from PHM solutions evolves. But, more than just getting the right data and being able to identify care gaps, organizations also need to be able to answer questions about financial outcomes and what metrics to track. In response to these needs, new vendors have emerged and longstanding vendors are evolving, resulting in a diverse array of technologies that may address one or all of the different PHM verticals.

The report unsurprisingly found that while many vendors are used across multiple PHM verticals, no one tool is yet used for all basic functionalities within each vertical. However since many organizations are trying to get as close as they can to a one-stop shop, EHR (electronic health record) vendors—specifically athenahealth, Cerner, and Epic—see strong cross-vertical deployment more often than most third-party vendors. And outside of the EHR vendors, several third-party solutions also see broad cross-vertical deployment, including large national players IBM Watson Health and Philips Wellcentive, according to the report. The report also noted that regional vendor HealthEC sees the most comprehensive deployment across the six verticals due to nimble development and a highly flexible tool.

Another finding was that customers’ expectations for their tools and the way vendors sell, implement, and customize systems impact which functionality customers choose to deploy as they have different PHM needs. Best-of-breed vendors may be deployed deeply in a couple of the above-mentioned verticals, customers don’t view the solutions as broader PHM tools and opt not to deploy them in other verticals. As such, vendors viewed as having broader platforms and strategies are more likely to be adopted broadly as their tools develop, as is the case with Epic.

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