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Application Management & Help Desk Services 2021
COVID-19 Rapidly Accelerates the Need for End-User Services

author - Ryan Oliver
Ryan Oliver
author - Lois Krotz
Lois Krotz
author - Cathy McCabe
Cathy McCabe
May 25, 2021 | Read Time: 8  minutes

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the demand for IT managed services, especially patient-facing help desk services. In addition, demand for third-party application management services (AMS) has increased as provider organizations seek to free up internal staff to work on strategic initiatives. This report examines which firms execute well and drive outcomes in AMS and help desk engagements.


The firms in this report are divided into three categories based on the services they provide and which types of provider organizations they have validated experience with.

Types of AMS & Help Desk Partners

Firms Validated by KLAS

Expansive Firms

Validated for offering full AMS (mostly go-forward applications) and help desk services (for clinicians, patients, and general IT) and as having at least two interviewed clients over 1,000 beds. Most of these firms have a larger number of clients, and some also provide extensive IT outsourcing.

expansive firms

Broad Firms

Breadth of offering is similar to or the same as expansive firms. However, broad firms may support mostly legacy applications, have a limited number of clients, or have been mostly validated for a specific type of organization (e.g., ambulatory organizations).

broad firms

Niche Firms

Specialize in AMS or help desk services, such as ERP or patient portal. May also specialize in specific software vendor, such as Infor.

expansive firms

Note: Other firms KLAS is aware of that provide AMS or help desk services are not included in this research due to insufficient customer feedback.

Expansive Firms

Stellar Communication & Customer Service Lead to Strong Execution for Nordic Engagements

overall performance vs engagement executionNordic—who is known for their Epic expertise and has provided AMS for Epic clients for years—began offering help desk services to aid clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The rollout was fast and well received, and Nordic plans to continue the service beyond the pandemic. Help desk and AMS clients feel Nordic communicates with them and their users in ways that keep all stakeholders connected and enable quick resolutions and a smooth workflow. Nordic is also noted for sharing best practices and lessons learned, and clients frequently praise the flexibility of Nordic’s AMS model. Clients mention improved knowledge transfer when onboarding new staff as an area of opportunity for Nordic. Cumberland, a Tegria company, entered the market a few years ago and generally works with larger Epic customers. Clients describe the firm as a true partner that fits seamlessly in their organization. Clients appreciate that the staff is responsive, knowledgeable, and able to offer suggestions; they wish there were less turnover. HCTec also has strong Epic expertise. Clients highlight the firm’s transparency, which is manifest in proactive best practice sharing and weekly meetings to review performance numbers and opportunities for improvement. Like clients of many other firms in this segment, HCTec clients would like less staff turnover and better training to improve issue resolution.

NTT DATA Clients Struggle with Firm’s Internal Changes; Good Relationships & Support Boost Satisfaction with Cerner

overall performance score trend 2020 2021NTT DATA has parted ways with some of their smaller clients (mostly MEDITECH users) in order to focus on larger organizations (who mostly use Cerner and Epic). Some clients feel NTT DATA has not executed this and other recent shifts in strategy well, citing inconsistent staff quality and low executive involvement. Other clients say the firm has weak internal communication and takes too long to get things done. Though dissatisfied, many clients are willing to continue the relationship, noting that new account personnel have made considerable efforts to improve.

Conversely, satisfaction among Cerner clients has improved, due in part to better experiences with account executives and staff. In previous years, clients indicated issues with young, inexperienced staff. This has been a much less common complaint this year, although a few clients mention changes in account executives leading to slow responses. Of note, the handful of clients in this research sample that have received Cerner’s recently enhanced support dashboard are among their most satisfied.

Satisfaction with CareTech Solutions improved throughout 2019 and remained steady in 2020. Satisfied clients report improved call resolution and good relationships with account representatives. Satisfaction, however, is not consistent across clients. Less-satisfied clients note that while CareTech Solutions meets expectations, they don’t exceed them, citing inconsistent skill levels among consultants.


Innovation from ettain health & GuideIT Drives Strong Outcomes

overall performance vs drives tangible outcomesTraditionally a staffing firm, ettain health entered the partial IT outsourcing market via their 2019 acquisition of Leidos Health. Clients feel well served, highlighting the creative ideas and solutions the firm brings to the table, such as using GoToAssist to access users’ desktops. GuideIT, a Perot company, is validated for work with hospitals and large ambulatory organizations, supporting a variety of EMRs, including Epic and eClinicalWorks. GuideIT excels in AMS, where clients view the firm as a partner who listens to their needs and quickly addresses issues. Innovative ideas reported by clients include using a chat box on the web page, integrating clients’ ticketing systems with GuideIT’s ticketing system, and analyzing tickets for patterns and trends. A few help desk clients are not quite as satisfied—some report mismanaged tickets, high turnover, and inconsistent training. Pivot Point Consulting has begun offering managed services within the past two years, and they offer flexible contracts that allow clients to quickly ramp up services when needed. The limited number of interviewed clients say the firm has the expertise needed to develop a custom solution. Clients of CTG (also limited data) appreciate the firm’s strategic mind-set and quality resources.


niche firms

Talon Healthy IT Services Delivers Strategic Mind-Set & Solid Help Desk Execution

  • All interviewed clients of Talon Healthy IT Services—who focuses on Epic help desk services—report high satisfaction. Clients value the firm’s strategic strength and proactive recommendations. Daily reports on call activity showcase Talon’s transparency. Clients feel Talon executives listen to clients’ goals and then help them achieve them. One client noted that Talon is great at self-monitoring and self-improvement—if they don’t know an answer, they seek it out and add it to their knowledge base articles.
  • For ERP projects, ROI Healthcare Solutions is a strong partner with diverse resources. Clients say the firm is knowledgeable about a variety of applications and offers strategic suggestions.
  • Bluetree Network clients (limited data) feel the firm’s staff is embedded in their practice and is patient and polite in assisting customers. The firm is receptive to new ideas and looks for ways to be more efficient and reduce costs.
  • Nuance offers 24/7 help desk support in multiple languages. Some clients would like more granular reporting to better understand the patient experience.
  • Specializing in patient-facing help desk services, PDS is viewed as providing compassionate, on-brand help. During the COVID-19 pandemic, PDS struggled to staff up quickly, resulting in longer wait times. Clients mention that features such as automated call triaging might improve PDS’ service.


With Patient-Facing Solutions on the Rise, More Will Be Asked of Help Desk Providers

The need for patient-facing help desk services accelerated rapidly with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Research KLAS conducted in 2018 validated less than 15 contracts for such services. This year, that number has more than doubled as organizations have asked firms to help with an influx of patient requests for help with things like patient portal navigation, telehealth tech support, and even scheduling for telehealth calls and vaccines.

As more patients interact with the help desk, it is vital that the patient experience remains positive. Provider organizations are putting particular emphasis on how their patients are treated during help desk encounters and are looking for firms that can analyze call trends and provide insight into the patient or clinician experience.

quote icon[Our firm] executes extremely well. They can provide us with a level of service that we don’t have in our organization. The firm is extremely patient focused, and patients are a vulnerable population. [The firm] shows compassion. They provide us a service under our brand that is as good as what our internal teams provide.” —Director

quote icon“[Our firm’s] transparency makes them stand out. They are very open to sharing what they do well and where there are opportunities. They are open to feedback. . . . [The firm] is very interested in what we want our outcomes to be. They do not have a cookie-cutter approach. They are adaptable to the needs of their customers. We have great visibility into the work that [they are] doing.” —Manager

overview of firms offering ams and help desk

About This Report

Each year, KLAS interviews thousands of healthcare professionals about the IT products and services their organizations use. These interviews are conducted using a standard quantitative evaluation, and the scores and commentary collected are shared in reports like this one and online in real time so that other healthcare professionals can benefit from their peers’ experiences. The questions from the standard evaluation are organized into five customer experience pillars—loyalty, operations, relationship, services, and value.

customer experience pillars services

The data in this report was collected over the last 12 months; the number of unique responding organizations for each firm and evaluation type is given in the chart below.


What Does “Limited Data” Mean?

Some services are used in only a small number of facilities, some firms are resistant to providing client lists, and some respondents choose not to answer particular questions. Thus a firm’s sample size may vary from question to question and may not reach KLAS’ required threshold of 6 unique respondents. When a firm’s sample size for a particular question is less than 6, the score for that question is marked with an asterisk (*) or otherwise designated as “limited data.” If the sample size is less than 3, no score is shown. Note that when a firm has a low number of reporting sites, the possibility exists for KLAS scores to change significantly as new surveys are collected.

Overall scores are measured on a 100-point scale and represent the weighted average of several yes/no questions as well as other questions scored on a 9-point scale.

author - Madison Moniz
Madison Moniz
author - Natalie Jamison
Project Manager
Natalie Jamison
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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. © 2024 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.

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