Health IT consultants in demand

By Bernie Monegain
07:06 AM

As healthcare organizations work to achieve meaningful use, demand for skilled consultants is high, but the jobs are more targeted and with smaller budgets than in the past, according to a new report from research firm KLAS.
The report, Shifting Demand for Consultants: Who's Hot, Who's Not, and Why, finds that nearly 70 percent of the 118 healthcare providers interviewed expect to hire a professional services firm to help with the demands of achieving meaningful use.

The study also notes that, in 2007, just five firms enjoyed significant provider mindshare, while today 13 do. Accenture, ACS, CTG, FCG (now CSC) and IBM now share mindshare with Vitalize, Dell Perot, maxIT and many others, as several key people left the top firms.
"The healthcare IT professional services landscape has changed dramatically in the last three years," said Mike Smith, general manager of financial and services research for KLAS and author of the new report. "Not only has the number of considered firms increased significantly, but the nature of services projects has changed as well. Since most large hospitals have already completed a major EMR implementation, more targeted engagements with smaller budgets – including advisory services and staff augmentation – are replacing the big budget, large-scale implementations."
The KLAS report details which consulting firms are being considered the most by providers who are looking to hire outside help. Topping that list is CSC, which has moved from near the bottom of provider mindshare in 2007 to the top in 2010, and is today considered in 17 percent of deals. Vitalize is second on the list, being considered in 12 percent of purchase decisions, followed by Dell Perot at 9 percent.

Other firms highlighted in the KLAS report include Accenture, ACS, Beacon Partners, Dearborn Advisors, Deloitte, IBM, maxIT Healthcare, and Navin, Haffty & Associates (NHA).
Another factor that is driving demand for experienced consultants is the migration of MEDITECH clients to the company's version 6.0 platform. As MEDITECH tries to move more than 1,500 U.S. hospitals to v.6 and advanced clinical features like computerized physician order entry (CPOE), firms like Beacon Partners, Dell Perot and especially NHA, are seeing much more demand for their services than three years ago, thanks to their experience with MEDITECH.

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