Healthcare organizations turning to wide range of vendors in pandemic
A new KLAS report found that organizations have turned to a wide range of vendors – most frequently those providing telehealth technology – to help provide care amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Most notable is the very high number of vendors that organizations have adopted: the 174 respondents who report heavily utilizing [virtual care] technology mentioned 43 different virtual care vendors," read the report issued this week.
KLAS surveyed nearly 200 healthcare leaders in April and May about tools they're relying on during the coronavirus crisis. For the report, it also relied on responses from 1,281 healthcare professionals to a vendor-performance survey over the same time period.
As the healthcare world scrambled to react to the new reality of the pandemic, many organizations leaned on telehealth platforms they could spin up quickly.
And despite looming funding shortfalls, said the report, systems still recognized the importance of putting money into digital infrastructure.
"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," said report authors.
WHY IT MATTERS
When it comes to virtual care technology, healthcare organizations most frequently mentioned Doxy.me and Zoom – in part, the report noted, because they could be implemented with very short turnaround times.
Other frequently mentioned vendors included AmWell, Epic and Cisco.
"Telehealth is going to be very impactful," said one provider in the KLAS survey. "The response that we have gotten from the community about having a resource that allows patients to still be in touch with providers has been really good so far."
Providers also noted their reliance on artificial intelligence and analytics tools.
"Again, the field of vendors that organizations have leaned on is wide and shallow," said the report. Tableau was the most frequently mentioned vendor in that category, with Cerner, Epic, Microsoft and Qlik not far behind.
As far as vendor satisfaction goes, the high-performing vendors with broad solution sets included 3M, BD, Cerner, Elsevier, Epic, Experian Health, GetWellNetwork, Health Catalyst, IBM Watson Health, InterSystems, MEDITECH, Nuance, Optum, Philips and Sectra.
The KLAS report also pointed out that most vendors received higher ratings for COVID-19 satisfaction than they had in the past, with several – such as CareCloud, Cerner, IBM Watson Health, Philips, RxStrategies and WellSky – receiving "significantly higher" ratings.
"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," said the report.
Allscripts, Agfa Healthcare and eClinicalWorks all received low ratings for their COVID-19 responses.
"One thing these lower-rated vendors have in common is that they missed key opportunities to step up as a partner to their provider customers," the report explained.
THE LARGER TREND
In response to the pandemic, several vendors moved quickly to either integrate existing telehealth platforms into their electronic health record systems or create their own.
In May, for example, Epic launched its new telehealth service with Twilio, a San Francisco-based communications technology company.
"Epic built and scaled its telehealth video client at unprecedented speed to meet provider and patient demand as healthcare systems not only struggled to curb the spread of the virus but continued to deliver necessary care through the COVID-19 pandemic," said Susan Collins, global head of healthcare services at Twilio.
A month later, Athenahealth launched its own EHR-embedded telehealth tool, saying it hoped to streamline provider experience.
ON THE RECORD
"There is no doubt that COVID-19 has transformed the list of vendors provider organizations want to partner with in the future. When healthcare leaders were asked what technologies they will invest in more after this crisis, virtual care/telehealth was at the top of their list," read the report.
Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.