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Role of Provider/Vendor Partnership in EHR Success
Apr 2021

Role of Provider/Vendor Partnership in EHR Success

Authored by:  Jacob Jeppson, 04/02/2021 | Read Time: 4 minutes

KLAS’ Arch Collaborative research has found that success is possible with any EHR—the Collaborative includes organizations from a variety of EHR customer bases who feel their vendor has delivered a high-quality solution. This report shares what factors most affect end users’ EHR perceptions (these factors often require the organization and vendor to work in tandem) and how EHR stakeholders can better the EHR experience.

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What Drives Positive Perceptions of EHR Vendor Delivery?

Physician End Users’ EHR Perceptions Mostly Driven by EHR Functionality and Organization Delivery

For both inpatient and ambulatory physicians, the biggest drivers of whether they agree their EHR vendor has created a high-quality system are their perceptions of the EHR functionality, the EHR’s ability to enable quality care, and how well the organization has implemented, supported, and trained on the system. Arch Collaborative research as a whole has found three pillars of a successful EHR user: user mastery, a sense of shared ownership, and how well EHR functionality meets specialty-specific needs. The importance of this last pillar in particular is highlighted in this report as an important predictor of EHR satisfaction for both inpatient and ambulatory physicians. EHR functionality depends on both the vendor and the organization—has the vendor built needed tools, and do users know how to leverage them to support care?

top ten variables impacting satisfaction with ehr vendors delivery inpatient physicians
top ten variables impacting satisfaction with ehr vendors delivery ambulatory physicians

Note: The charts above rely on the Boruta algorithm to determine the impact of variables on perception of the EHR vendor and their delivery. This algorithm utilizes a random forest technique and many iterations of analysis to overcome some of the limitations of normal regression analysis.

Organization Delivery Even More Vital for Nurses’ EHR Perceptions 

top ten variables impacting satisfaction with ehr vendors delivery nursesFar and away, the variable with the most impact on nurse perceptions of their EHR vendor's delivery is how well their organization has implemented, supported, and trained users on the system. Part of the reason for this factor’s high impact is likely the role of nurse leadership—when these leaders effectively address frontline nurses’ EHR needs, perceptions of the EHR’s value are much higher. KLAS has found high variation in nurse EHR satisfaction (even among nurses using the same EHR), suggesting that with the right approach, it is possible for organizations to use their own resources to improve nurse EHR satisfaction without having to implement a whole new system.

How Can You Move the Needle on EHR Perception?

As shown by the high-impact factors above, improved EHR perception requires efforts from all stakeholders, often working together. This requires shared ownership, communication, and strategic partnership between provider organizations and their vendors. The following sections detail how to build strong partnerships for EHR success.

Case Study: OrthoVirginia Achieves 31-Point Increase in Satisfaction with EHR Vendor Delivery

percent that agree epic has created a high quality ehrOrthoVirginia is a common presenter at Arch Collaborative summits because they have continually improved the EHR experience for their orthopedic physicians—a group whose specialty has not historically felt the EHR meets their needs. Through internal efforts and direct partnership with Epic, OrthoVirginia saw a 31-point increase over three years in physician satisfaction with the EHR vendor’s delivery.

lightbulbTo learn more, watch OrthoVirginia's webinar on the Arch Collaborative Learning Center.

 orthovirginia ehr improvement efforts role of each stakeholder

Recommendations for Provider/Vendor Partnership

The following recommendations are based on insights from Arch Collaborative member organizations, including previously published Arch Collaborative Impact Reports, case studies, and webinars. Follow links in the text to learn more.

For organization leadership

  • Empower end users to own their EHR education and solve day-to-day issues
  • Develop your governance system to have the end goal of understanding clinicians’ EHR needs and nimbly making changes

For end users

  • Don’t discount the EHR itself—there may be a way it can resolve the issues you are experiencing
  • Seek out a peer in your specialty who has a high opinion of the EHR and can help you make the EHR work for your needs

For vendors

  • Listen to your customer organizations and their end users—this can help drive your direction and improve the vendor/customer relationship
  • Build the functionality your customers’ specialties need—this will dramatically effect end users’ experience
  • Ensure your customers’ end users receive effective, ongoing EHR education—users may feel the EHR has functionality gaps if they don’t know how to use the system well or how to best leverage new features

Vendor-Provided Recommendations

KLAS asked Cerner and Epic (the two EHR vendors most represented in Arch Collaborative data) to share what their customer organizations can do to partner with their vendor and drive an improved EHR experience. The content below was provided by Cerner and Epic, respectively, and has not been validated by KLAS.


  • Beta Validation Program: This program aims to ensure quality and timely validation of product innovation. Cerner identifies potential candidates for partnership, or clients can proactively contact Cerner to participate.
  • Online Ideas Space: In this dedicated space, built for open information exchange, clients can directly share ideas and help Cerner assess and communicate solution enhancement suggestions. This space also includes the ability to search, score, and comment on idea submissions.
  • Voice of the Consumer Feedback Program: Cerner gathers customer feedback insights through various research projects and client surveys. These insights are then shared across the Cerner organization to solidify action plans and to make process changes to address client pain points.


  • Host Immersion Trips: Every organization is encouraged to host our software developers on-site so that they can directly observe end-user workflows. Lessons learned in the field are then incorporated into future development to benefit all community members.
  • Specialty Steering Boards: Specialists across the world are elected by their peers to serve on these boards. The boards establish workflow standards, create content, and steer relevant development for their specialty in the Epic community.
  • Usability Testing: Remote or in person, these sessions give end users an opportunity to try out new features before they are released. Feedback from this testing helps Epic polish and refine projects prior to release. Some sessions are one-time only, while others are longitudinal.

For more from Cerner and Epic, see page 24 in the full report.

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This material is copyrighted. Any organization gaining unauthorized access to this report will be liable to compensate KLAS for the full retail price. Please see the KLAS DATA USE POLICY for information regarding use of this report. © 2019 KLAS Research, LLC. All Rights Reserved. NOTE: Performance scores may change significantly when including newly interviewed provider organizations, especially when added to a smaller sample size like in emerging markets with a small number of live clients. The findings presented are not meant to be conclusive data for an entire client base.