Health IT vendors Athenahealth, Companion Technologies, Epic Systems, McKesson, the SSI Group and Unibased Systems Architecture all made gains in the 2005 Best in KLAS annual review of more than 500 IT products in 40 performance areas.
The Orem, Utah-based KLAS Enterprises coordinates the annual judging by executives and clinicians at more than 4,500 healthcare facilities, and vendors who score high in the evaluations are proud to tout their grades in this industry "report card."
"The KLAS Report is an important measure of what our customers think of our products, our services and our commitment to their success," said Pamela Pure, president of Atlanta-based McKesson Provider Technologies, whose pharmacy products scored some of the biggest gains in quality scores. Also, McKesson's Horizon medical imaging solution replaced an Orchard Software product as the leader in the Community Hospital Clinical and Ancillary category.
Pure said that McKesson had 20 products finishing in the top three positions of different categories, and said that her company's focus is on successful implementations rather than sales volume. So, in this respect, high KLAS scores are used as a quality indicator measuring the success of that approach.
"I don't think KLAS looks at penetration or volume of sales," Pure said. "I think KLAS is very much focused on the success of the implementation."
Tom Skelton, chief executive officer of Raleigh, N.C.-based Misys Healthcare Systems agreed with Pure's assessment of the awards' impact.
"KLAS reveals the opinions of our clients -- that's the validation that's most important to us and what makes these awards meaningful," Skelton said in a news release touting his company's finish at the top of the Radiology and Laboratory categories.
Madison, Wis.-based Epic continued in its position as a perennial leader in the KLAS Report, finishing on top in three categories, including the Acute Care CDR, Orders and Charting category where its EpicCare Inpatient solution unseated the 2004 leader, the Eclipsys Sunrise Clinical Manager.
Epic, however, was replaced by Chesterton, Mo.-based Unibased Systems Architecture in the overall vendor rankings. Unibased's products also led the field in two categories: enterprise scheduling and surgery management.
Watertown, Mass.-based Athenahealth led in three categories, including the Ambulatory Billing & Scheduling (1 to 5 physicians) category where it moved up from the third spot to replace the Greenway PrimeSuite Practice solution in the top position.
Mobile, Ala.-based SSI and Columbia, S.C.-based Companion Technologies did not win any category awards, but were recognized for having products that showed the highest improvement since the 2005 midyear report scores, with SSI's ClickON showing the biggest gain at 14%.
Several companies scoring well in the Best in KLAS report are based in southern states, but Pure downplayed any significance to this, and said that McKesson also has operations in Vancouver, Chicago, and Boulder, Colo."I don't think geography has a big impact on the health IT business," she said.
Pure also said she would not comment on a Unibased Systems Architecture news release stating the KLAS Report indicated that Unibased was "outperforming mega-firms such as Epic, Cerner, McKesson, GE and others," except to say that customer service and technical support are key to success in health IT regardless of company size.
Without mentioning names, however, Pure did say that there was a definite trend showing dropping KLAS scores among large companies that are generally viewed by the public as IT leaders.
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