KLAS: Providers mostly satisfied with their patient intake IT vendors – with one exception

Patient-intake-management tools have evolved to meet health systems' needs, pivoting in response to COVID-19.
By Kat Jercich
12:45 PM
A keyboard in the foreground with a stethoscope and person's hands in the background

[Note: This story has been updated to include comments from CareCloud representatives.]

Patient-intake-management solutions are even more critical amid the COVID-19 crisis to help keep patients and clinicians safe.

A new KLAS report released this week found that, overall, most provider organizations have been satisfied with their patient-intake-management vendors of choice – with one glaring exception.  

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"Feedback from the limited sample of CareCloud customers indicates their already low satisfaction has declined even further in the past two years," wrote report authors.

WHY IT MATTERS

Patient-intakemanagement tools have evolved to meet organizations' needs, including by pivoting in response to COVID-19.   

Phreesia, for example, has inserted screening forms into pre-check-in forms. Respondents to the KLAS report also note the vendor's ability to allow patients to complete questionnaires via their mobile device.  

In general, Phreesia customers report the broadest and deepest functionality adoption, with more than three-quarters of clients using the demographics; eSignatures; preregistration; eCashiering; eligibility and benefits; reporting and analytics; and payments functionalities.

"Phreesia respondents say the vendor has continued to innovate and deliver new technology that is relevant and useful to their practices while also working to improve customer relationships," wrote the report authors.

Users of the Epic tool (used only by Epic electronic health record customers) and Epion Health (used by athenahealth EHR clients) also have positive feedback with regard to support during the pandemic.  

Epion Health customers also touted the strong integration with the athenahealth platform and praised the tool for helping them eliminate paper and increase efficiency.  

Epic users say they've received regular product updates with new COVID-related functionality, and Epion Health has increased communication to "quickly implement COVID-related enhancements."

"Notably, customers of all three vendors highlighted above say they have not been charged extra for new COVID-related functionality," wrote the report authors. With regard to CareCloud, the report said that its patient-intake-management tool "consistently and significantly underperforms."

Although feedback comes from a limited sample, the report authors said that it is "highly consistent," with more than three-quarters of the comments about CareCloud and its tool being negative.  

"Organizations are also frustrated that instead of helping them through the COVID-19 crisis, CareCloud tried to upsell them on additional functionalities, such as telehealth, that ultimately didn’t meet their needs," wrote KLAS researchers.

After publication, CareCloud representatives noted that the company's patient experience platform, Breeze, and telehealth solution, Live, are separate products, and that telehealth is not a feature of the patient experience / intake management platform.

"We have since introduced a number of COVID-19 related enhancements, none of which we charged additional fees for. These include: patient mass messaging; COVID-19-related online intake and screening questions; fully contact-less patient intake for practices as they reopened their offices; and comprehensive training and support to fully utilize these tools within the practice," said CareCloud representatives.

"We took a proactive and holistic approach to support clients as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded," they continued.

THE LARGER TREND  

Health systems have tapped Phreesia in response to the pandemic in order to aid in patient preregistration and in streamlining processes.  

At Health First Community Health Services’ Health First Medical Group in Florida, the team turned to the vendor to minimize the time spent waiting for an appointment.  

“Phreesia proposed to alleviate all of the registration bottlenecks and pain points by fully integrating with our athenahealth electronic health record and digitizing the patient administrative and clinical intake forms, including collecting copays and balances due, and setting up payment plans – all before the patient even set foot in the clinic,” said Frank Letherby, CEO of Health First Community Health Services, to Healthcare IT News Features Editor Bill Siwicki.  

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services also tapped Phreesia last year to learn more about patients' social determinants of health.

ON THE RECORD  

"Patient intake is a critical part of any ambulatory practice. In the era of COVID-19, technology solutions in this area have become more important than ever to help maintain social distancing protocols, screen patients for self-reported COVID-19 risk factors and symptoms, reduce patient/staff contact, and give patients a safe, convenient experience," wrote researchers in the KLAS report.

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: kjercich@himss.org
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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