KLAS report explores health IT buying decisions, customer satisfaction

When choosing a vendor, customers focus on integration, consolidation and functionality, according to a new study from KLAS that looks at how IT decision-makers choose their technologies in different market segments.

Satisfaction level of existing customers and retention rate (the percent of buyers planning to continue with a given vendor) were also included as reasons.

The Decision Insights 2018 report draws on the insights of buyers of EHRs, population health platforms, analytics tools, imaging systems and more to track the rationale for the initial acquisition and assess customer satisfaction afterward.

The report also looks at vendors from nearly two dozen different market segments. It's meant to track the perceptions and plans of potential customers, according to KLAS, and is based on feedback that's reported to the research group when providers have recently purchased or plan to purchase a given piece of software.

"Decision Insights help provider organizations understand which vendors have market energy and why other organizations are considering these vendors," said KLAS researchers.

Such "market energy" is based on the number of deals a particular vendor is being considered for, across all segments.

Together, companies with high market energy, high customer satisfaction and high retention rates earned what KLAS called "A-List" status. Across all market segments, these companies were Carestream, Epic, Health Catalyst, InterSystems, M*Modal, Sectra and Workday.

There, Epic is perhaps unsurprisingly in the lead (with 393 potential purchases), followed by Cerner (304), athenahealth (129), Meditech (125), Allscripts (72), GE Healthcare (61), eClinicalWorks (45), Merge/IBM (39), and Philips (33). More than two-dozen other companies were under consideration by 30 different buyers or fewer.

Interestingly, however, the report suggested that market energy and customer satisfaction were not always as closely aligned as one might assume.

"Consideration rate doesn't necessarily correlate with satisfaction score," according to KLAS. "When making software decisions, provider organizations are only slightly more likely to consider vendors with high satisfaction ratings over vendors with low satisfaction ratings. More often, how frequently a vendor is considered is tied to other factors, such as market share, regional market energy and referrals."

That said, "vendors with low satisfaction are frequently considered but are not regularly selected," researchers wrote. "When selecting from considered vendors, provider organizations are dramatically more likely to choose a vendor whose customers currently report high satisfaction. For every 1 point increase in satisfaction score, the likelihood that a vendor will be selected goes up 1.3 percentage points.”

"Healthcare has long been known as a highly connected industry in which a vendor’s reputation matters," they added. "If your vendor is not delivering well for you, they are very likely struggling to sell to new clients. Vendors who expend energy to gain consideration but fail to concentrate on overall customer satisfaction will not see a long-term ROI for their efforts."

The health IT market segments covered by the report are: 340B Management Systems; Acute Care EMR; Acute Care EMR (international customers); Ambulatory EMR; Cardiology; Emergency Department; Enterprise Resource Planning; Healthcare Business Intelligence & Analytics; Homecare; Laboratory; PACS; PAC (international customers); Patient Accounting & Patient Management; Population Health; Practice Management; Retail Pharmacy – Outpatient; Secure Communications; Small Practice Ambulatory EMR/PM (fewer than 10 physicians); Speech Recognition: Front-End EMR; Talent Management; Virtual Care Platforms; and VNA/Image Archive.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
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