How Are HIT Vendors Helping Providers Respond to the Pandemic?

July 24, 2020
A new report from KLAS examines how solution providers are assisting their customers through difficult times, and which technologies healthcare leaders are specifically turning to

The COVID-19 crisis has upended healthcare in many ways, and a new report from KLAS Research analyzes the different technologies organizations have relied on the most, how the pandemic has changed purchasing plans going forward, and the vendors that could come out of this the strongest.

This research from the Orem, Utah-based firm comes from two sources: 192 healthcare leaders who were surveyed in April and May regarding their future plans and the solutions they are turning to during COVID-19; and the nearly 1,300 healthcare professionals who completed KLAS’ standard vendor performance survey during April and May who were also asked to rate their vendor’s support through the crisis.

One core finding from the research, overwhelmingly and unsurprisingly, is that provider organizations have turned to virtual care/telehealth platforms in this crisis. But most notable is the very high number of vendors that organizations have adopted: the 174 respondents who report heavily utilizing this technology mentioned 43 different virtual care vendors.

Most organizations report frantic efforts to stand up this technology, with little time to consider a long-term strategy. Commonly selected solutions like (chosen by 19 respondents) and Zoom (18) were often chosen because they could be implemented quickly. Amwell and Epic were also platforms that were chosen 13 times each by respondents.

Beyond telehealth, dozens of respondents said they are relying on their acute care electronic medical record (EMR), artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics in response to the crisis. Several respondents also said infection control solutions and consulting services are also aiding them during this time.

Meanwhile, in April and May, KLAS began asking healthcare professionals in the firm’s standard performance interviews to also rate their vendor’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. They asked, “On a scale of 1 to 9, how well has your vendor supported you through the COVID-19 crisis?” The good news is that vendors have generally exceeded expectations in handling the crisis—of the 58 measured vendors, 79 percent are rated higher for their COVID-19 response than for overall customer satisfaction.

Unsurprisingly, vendors who had high overall satisfaction ratings before the pandemic tend to also be rated higher for their response to the crisis, the researchers noted.

Which solution providers have specifically performed well? Many of the vendors with the highest ratings for COVID-19 performance have a narrow set of solutions measured by KLAS (less than three in this research). The vendors in this group who demonstrated excellent performance (COVID-19 response scores of 8.5 or better) include Aquity Solutions, Dolbey, FairWarning, Lyniate, PCC, PELITAS, Phreesia, WELL Health, and Zipnosis.

Another set of vendors have a broader portfolio of solutions and perform very well across their portfolio, according to the research. These broad, high-performing vendors scoring at 7.5 are better include: 3M, BD, Cerner, Elsevier, Epic, Experian Health, GetWellNetwork, Health Catalyst, IBM Watson Health, InterSystems, MEDITECH, Nuance, Optum, Philips, and Sectra.

In terms of which vendors respondents said they most want to partner with going forward, the most mentioned vendor was Microsoft—healthcare organizations recognize the power of the Teams solution to enable remote work.

Healthcare providers report a nearly universal response from vendors to the COVID-19 crisis—even the lowest-rated vendors have sent out communications to customers about the crisis, hosted webinars, and worked to adjust functionality. However, the vendors that received the lowest scores from customers—often because they missed key opportunities to step up as a partner to their provider clients—include Agfa HealthCare, Allscripts, and eClinicalWorks.

Ultimately, 81 percent of interviewed provider organization leaders report significant budget cuts. However, of this group, 74 percent said they will invest in more technology moving forward. According to the researchers, “While the dust of COVID-19 has not yet settled, providers are confident that healthcare will not be the same and that technology will play a key role in that new world going forward. Healthcare organizations find themselves in a difficult position—dealing with strapped budgets, they also need to invest in technology to come through the crisis and not be left behind in the post-COVID world of healthcare delivery.”