The Buzz Around HCIT Topics - Cover

The Buzz Around HCIT Topics

Alongside collecting our day-to-day research, KLAS has an ongoing project in which we ask decision-makers at hospitals and clinics about the areas they are investing in and the vendors and technologies that catch their eye as innovative or disruptive. That research project was the genesis for the Emerging HCIT Companies 2020: Top-of-Mind Healthcare Technologies report, and the data in this report is more varied than in previous HCIT Companies reports. Specifically, it highlights many companies that are more disruptive than emerging. 

Many of the vendors mentioned in the report are creating solutions to transform healthcare into a more patient-centric experience. Products that meet patients’ needs in terms of contact preferences, personal interests, available appointment times, clinical results sharing, telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, and many other scenarios are exploding on the market. Consumerism has been a topic in healthcare for years, and it is now being manifest more strongly in KLAS’ reports on emerging vendors and technologies. 

Big Names

Amazon was mentioned a lot by providers looking at potentially disruptive companies in healthcare. Providers are very interested in what they are doing, particularly around Amazon's cloud infrastructure. We are also hearing about interesting partnerships that Amazon has announced with established healthcare vendors. People also want to know what other big names like Google and Microsoft are going to do in healthcare; these companies have the resources to be very disruptive, but past forays into this space have provided disappointing results.

Another frequently mentioned company, Livongo, has been a publicly traded company since the summer of 2019. Livongo’s leadership includes long-time healthcare executives Zane Burke (former president of Cerner) and Glen Tullman (former CEO of Allscripts) among others. These healthcare heavyweights make the company potentially interesting, and many providers are watching to see what they will be able to accomplish in this new venture.

Big Topics

The hot market segments in the report are based on feedback we received directly from providers, and the data on the most-searched emerging vendors and market segments is taken from searches on KLAS’ website. Those searches combined with the most mentioned segments in our primary research serve as a good barometer for what providers are thinking about. Here are a few examples:

Robotics process automation (RPA): RPA is not new. It has been around for a long time but is relatively new to healthcare. There is a lot of energy around RPA, and KLAS will be publishing a group of spotlight reports highlighting the vendors that are working in this market segment in healthcare.

Telehealth: Telehealth clearly matters; it was the second most-mentioned market segment, and the most-searched emerging vendor that KLAS does not currently measure was Azalea Health, an EMR and telehealth vendor. Patients say that they want telehealth, and telehealth functionality is an obvious choice in rural markets. To date, vendors, providers, and patients are still trying to find the deep adoption of these technologies that has been anticipated for a while. 

AI and machine learning: There is a ton of buzz about AI, but actual use cases that are driving outcomes are still scattered in AI and machine learning. There are some promising vendors with tangible early results. KLAS will be working on a series of spotlight reports in this area to supplement our recently published Healthcare AI 2019: Actualizing the Potential of Artificial Intelligence report.

Social determinants of health (SDOH): SDOH are interesting because they connect the nonclinical factors of whole person care, such as food insecurity, homelessness, or lack of transportation, to the clinical encounter. Someone can receive the greatest treatment in an ED, but if he or she lives on the street or never picks up his or her medication, that treatment loses much of its efficacy. There is a lot of interest in taking care of the whole person, and KLAS will be publishing a series of spotlight reports on SDOH in the next six months. 

Patient access: This topic comes up a couple of times in the report and is driven by a number of factors. Millennials accessing healthcare are less likely than baby boomers to show up at the office and simply take whichever doctor is available. Younger patients are searching for the kind of doctors that they want. How patients find providers is shifting. I met someone at one of our patient engagement summits who was interested in running and wanted to find a provider who was also a runner and could therefore understand health from a runner’s perspective.

Those connections are coming through technology solutions. Patients want to go beyond just getting healthcare. They want more personal engagements, but they want to find them through a web or mobile interface.

Reporting on the Buzz

Regarding this report, KLAS is not making a judgment about the innovativeness or overall quality of the vendors mentioned. The feedback didn’t necessarily come from customers of the vendors. This report is really a perception of what is on the minds of the decision-makers—the buzz. But we are looking forward to studying more. 

     Photo credit: Adobe Stock, maxsim