Updates in the Small Practice Ambulatory Market 2022 - Cover

Updates in the Small Practice Ambulatory Market 2022

Small practices make up a significant portion of outpatient care in the US. The small practice space is also pretty dynamic; the Best in KLAS winners change every year. For these reasons, it is important to KLAS that we update this report every few years to see what is changing and to be able to pinpoint the vendors who are really taking care of small practices.

The recent Small Practice Ambulatory Report 2022 is the most updated overview of the small practice market. The insights should help readers assess their options by giving a good look at the overall vendor experience with a number of the biggest EMR providers out there and it shows what providers can expect from each of them.

Unique Expectations and Challenges

Small practices face some unique challenges. They are very sensitive to ups and downs in the market and are impacted more acutely by issues that larger practices could shrug off. For example, if a vendor increases pricing by 4%, it doesn’t impact the large practice nearly as much as it's going to impact a small family clinic with three doctors.

Another challenge is if a vendor makes their solution too complicated, it becomes much more of an issue for small practices than it is for larger practices. On top of that, if the system has bugs, small practices often feel the problems more acutely.

On the vendor side, the budget constraints of small practices also present several unique challenges for vendors trying to help this level of customer. Small practices just don’t have the funds of their larger counterparts to invest in success. So, vendors frequently must figure out how to help their customers get the training and resources they need to be successful.

Vendors Offering Value

Despite these challenges, there are some vendors rising to the occasion. It is a pleasant surprise to see the value scores trending positively for some of the bigger vendors. Sometimes we’ll see data that calls these bigger vendors out for being expensive, but seeing these scores tells us that these vendors are putting in the effort to make their solutions both attainable and useful for their customers at smaller practices.

chart showing the value scores of small practice vendors

The Importance of Training

Whatever vendor your small practice currently has, there is one section of the report that is particularly important for all readers. This is the area of the report addressing training, and especially the effects of initial training versus not doing the training. KLAS frequently hears about small practices that decline the offered training because they understandably don't want to pay for it. It has been seen as something that was nice to have, but not necessary.

But the data is overwhelming that you can't ignore the training if you want to be successful in using your solution long-term. Arch Collaborative data from hundreds of organizations shows that training is worth the cost and time. Make room for it in the budget and make sure your staff does it. Please check the report out for more details on training.

Potential Consolidation on the Horizon

The looming recession makes it likely that we’ll see some consolidation of small practices into larger practices. We’ve heard comments from some smaller providers that they don’t know what they’re going to do to survive. The data that we're seeing is that the net effect is headed down for the small independent space.

This isn’t what we are hoping to see; frankly we are hoping for an expansion of the small independent space. But, on another note, don’t underestimate the resilience of the small independent provider either. We’ve seen data from other sources that says there are still small practices popping up everywhere. We're also hearing about doctors who are tired of working in the inpatient space who may move to the smaller practice side.

In reality, though these are only our best guesses of what the future holds for small practices. We look forward to next year’s report to see what really changes.

In the meantime, we recommend reading the report to see what is happening now to stay informed on the small practice market.

Photo credit: Pixel-Shot, Adobe Stock