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Vital Signs Blog

Proper EHR installation key, KLAS report says

The key to effective health information technology in a small, office-based medical practice is to properly install the newly purchased electronic health-record system, according to a new report from KLAS Enterprises.

KLAS's review of 27 vendors' products found that unhappiness with an EHR vendor's installation effort leads to practices switching to another vendor. It also found that such flipping is on the rise.

Orem, Utah-based KLAS, a market research firm, found that “implementation success is a strong predictor of future customer satisfaction.” The report was based on interviews of leaders of practices of one to 10 physicians about ambulatory EHR performance. “Vendors that do a good job of ensuring that clients get up and running as quickly and thoroughly … will likely continue to have happy clients,” it said. “First impressions matter.”

“Overall replacement rates are up for vendors who have failed to live up to providers' rising delivery expectations,” the KLAS report said.

“Providers leaving their current EHR cited poor service and vendor relationships as the primary reasons for replacement.” Also cited by customers as reasons for bailing are poor usability and a sense they are being “nickle-and-dimed” by their vendor.

“We asked the question, is this EHR part of your long term plans, and when they said no, we dug deeper and found out why,” explained research director and report author Erik Bermudez. Between customer support issues and upgrades for Stage 2 and Stage 3 of meaningful use, “We're definitely going to start whittling down” the EHR market, he said.

From the provider perspective, KLAS advises providers to determine which vendors have the most positive implementation experiences and make that a high priority in choosing a vendor, second only to a technical evaluation of a vendor's system.

In addition to failing to meet normal customer satisfaction requirements, a significant number of vendors have not yet prepared their products for the higher testing and certification standards needed to make their health IT systems eligible for use in the federal EHR incentive payment program, a Modern Healthcare analysis of federal program data shows. The federal data points to a looming shakeup in the overcrowded EHR market, industry observers say.

Only four of the top 10-ranked vendors in the KLAS survey in terms of company performance, product satisfaction and value for the money have a product tested and certified to the new, 2014 Edition standards to enable their customers to meet Stage 2 meaningful-use criteria under the EHR incentive payment program created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn






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