Part two of a two-part series (Access part one):
The massive, 500-page report, Maximizing Your Consulting Investment: A Report on Healthcare IT Consulting Services, was released by KLAS Enterprises, an Orem, Utah-based market research firm, and includes the results of hundreds of interviews with provider executives.
The report covers 38 health information technology consulting firms, and KLAS divided the consulting services market into seven segments: implementation of clinical systems as a primary consultant; implementation of clinical systems in a supportive role; implementation of enterprise resource planning financial systems; IT planning and assessment; IT staff augmentation; technical services; and vendor selection.
In addition to the seven service categories, KLAS divided the consulting firm landscape into three groups by the breadth of services they offer, groupings that also tend to reflect the size of the firms. Full-service firms are one category, and, not surprisingly, its members include the largest consulting firmsAccenture; Affiliated Computer Services; Computer Sciences Corp.; CTG Healthcare Solutions, part of Computer Task Group; Deloitte Consulting; IBM Corp.; and Perot Systems Corp.which all have broader capabilities and more depth than smaller, niche-specific firms. Some of those large firms are more bureaucratic in nature, not as competitive in cost and not necessarily the best in one area, according to the report.
The second group of consulting firms, according to KLAS, is the specialists. They tout expertise in either a service segmentfor example, some firms that do best on clinical implementation assignments, but not on financial systemsor by vendor, such as those that specialize in EHR systems from one or more vendors. These smaller firms tend to cost less than the majors, although that is not always true, according to KLAS report. Smaller firms may have problems with a lack of visibility, and their size may raise questions about their viability, but because of their narrow focus, they do one thing and do it well, according to the report.
Finally, KLAS finds there is a third group of hybrid consulting firms that dont have the breadth of the full-service firms, but have enough bodies and expertise to provide services across several market segments and can therefore provide reasonable continuity of service across consulting areas. They can be lower-priced than the full-service firms but, again, this is not always the case, KLAS said.
The report states that it is intended solely as a catalyst for a more meaningful and effective investigation on your organizations part and is not intended, nor should it be used, to replace your organizations due diligence.
Since a consultants reputation is its most valuable intangible asset, the report carries with it lawyerly language under the heading of reader responsibility, noting that the data gathered from various sources for the report include strong opinions (which should not be interpreted as actual facts), reflecting the emotion of exceptional success and, at times, failure.