The Digital Front Door Solutions Vendor Guide: A Webinar Recap - Cover

The Digital Front Door Solutions Vendor Guide: A Webinar Recap

In August, KLAS and The Health Management Academy (THMA) published a joint report on the digital front door to share findings with the industry on the vendors working in this arena. To give readers a window into the insights and background of this report, KLAS held a webinar with Spencer Snyder, a KLAS insights director; Adam Cherrington, our VP of digital health; and Karl Whitemarsh, Director from THMA. 

The following recap breaks down some of the highlights of the webinar and what you can expect to see in the report.

Defining the Digital Front Door

If you are involved in healthcare IT on any level, you are likely very aware that “digital front door” has increasingly become a buzzword in the industry. Adam Cherrington shared that KLAS has been hearing this term for some time and seeing definitions that were all over the place. Now, with the findings of the report, we can share some clarity and structure around the phrase. 

Overall, Adam shared that digital front door technology came about because of the need to address consumerism and patients’ needs in healthcare. However, sometimes the patient is getting left behind by the functionality that exists to better serve the provider. As a consequence, one key takeaway in the report is for health organizations to make sure to include patients in their strategies.

The below chart from KLAS shows the various ways that providers are defining the digital front door. Spencer also points out that the digital front door really spans the continuum of care, from preacquisition to post-care.

how do providers define digital front door

The Outcomes Achieved with Digital Front Door

The webinar highlights the outcomes achieved through the use of the digital front door, with many of those still being provider-centric. However, a significant 20% of respondents also note an increase in patient satisfaction, which is a huge goal for many of the organizations.

Spencer highlighted that most organizations we spoke to for this data told KLAS that they were still emerging in the maturity of these technologies. This means there is still plenty of room to grow. 

A takeaway that stood out for Karl was that for organizations in close partnership with their vendors, there is a lot of opportunity to bring more rigor to the outcomes they track and expect and to bring balance between provider-centric and patient-centric outcomes.

The Logistics

The presenters then gave their thoughts on what it took to create the report. The Health Management Academy's Strategy Catalyst team began by gathering data through a double-blind quantitative survey of leading health executives from around 30 health systems. The survey focused on the status and maturity of 14 specific capabilities at various organizations. 

Across the 14 capabilities, over 100 different vendors were identified, indicating the energy and focus in this area. These were capabilities such as chatbots, self-scheduling, and digital waiting rooms.  (View the full report or watch the webinar to view the full list.) This study helped KLAS to know what vendors to focus on as we created the report.

KLAS’ depth of provider feedback then came into play for the vendors that we already have fully rated. At KLAS, we conduct over 26,000 provider interviews annually, with 90% of these being one-on-one, in-depth interviews. That allows us to validate the work vendors are doing where the data is available. 

Digging Deeper into the Report

Briefly, Spencer shared some relevant research KLAS did in partnership with the Center for Connected Medicine. They gathered feedback from over 60 health systems' leaders, and that feedback highlighted the top concerns for the upcoming year. Access to care is a major focus; the challenge lies in how healthcare providers can ensure their patients receive timely and efficient care. Spencer noted that the digital front door is at the heart of changing the way we interact with healthcare providers. 

From there, the webinar highlighted some of the findings in the Digital Front Door Solutions 2023 report. As stated earlier, respondents mentioned over 100 vendors, but of those, 21 vendors were mentioned at least twice, and 8 vendors were mentioned 3 or more times. The webinar used the below chart to visualize the information by showing front-of-mind vendors, the capabilities that providers are mentioning, and what category of digital front door they fall under.

vendors mentioned for 2+ digital front door capabilities

The research highlighted KLAS’ emerging solutions reports, called Spotlight reports, that focus on one vendor that is newer to the market. Adam pointed out that we do this research because providers are requesting more information on certain emerging solutions.

The webinar also specifically highlighted ways that Salesforce, Phreesia, and Epic as vendors are leading the way in this charge. However, Adam pointed out the findings from KLAS’ own partnered research with Phreesia that looks into the patient’s point of view. From that data, there is still a significant gap between what patients want and what is currently being offered, particularly in the area of appointment scheduling. The ability for patients to schedule appointments online is a crucial aspect of the digital front door, and it's an area where many providers are investing heavily. Phreesia, a vendor rated by KLAS, was highlighted for its performance in this area. 

Another key aspect of the digital front door is post-care digital engagement, which includes capabilities like patient portals. In this area, the webinar discusses the performance of Epic’s solution MyChart, a product that is fully rated by KLAS.

A New Era in Patient Engagement 

There is much, much more that could be said about the insights shared during this webinar. The bottom line is that the digital front door is a concept that's here to stay. It's an essential part of the strategy for healthcare providers, and it's an area where many are investing heavily. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, providers will need to focus on key issues and develop thoughtful plans to make the most of the opportunities presented by the digital front door.

For more insights, we recommend watching the webinar on KLAS’ YouTube channel or reading the Digital Front Door Solutions 2023 report.

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