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Consulting for Cerner 2019 Consulting for Cerner 2019
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Consulting for Cerner 2019
Consultant Expertise Is the Measure of Success

author - Ryan Oliver
Ryan Oliver
author - Jennifer Hickenlooper
Jennifer Hickenlooper
author - Alex McIntosh
Alex McIntosh
September 26, 2019 | Read Time: 5  minutes

Organizations using Cerner’s EMR and revenue cycle software are increasingly looking for help from consulting firms to implement and optimize this software. These organizations almost universally consider Cerner’s in-house services, but those who engage Cerner for implementation or IT advisory services tend to be dissatisfied in much higher numbers than those who opt to use a third party. This report aims to help organizations find the best fit by diving into Cerner’s and other firms’ depth and breadth of experience, strategic expertise, and dedication to client success. 

PwC, Atos & emids Lead in Consistent Overall Satisfaction

More than half of interviewed clients using Cerner’s implementation and IT advisory services are dissatisfied. In contrast, third-party firms—who at times are called in to turn around a struggling Cerner implementation—tend to have more consistent delivery. Of the fully rated firms, PwC, Atos, and emids lead out in consistency, with no dissatisfied respondents. PwC stands out for strong strategic expertise, Atos for professional and hardworking consultants, and emids for their clinical knowledge. (For more details on third-party firms’ delivery in implementation or IT advisory services specifically, see page 4.)

overall satisfaction distribution

Market Overview: Validated Scope of Cerner Software Consulting

market overview

Cerner Falls Far behind Third Parties in Services for Cerner Software

overall score vs moneys worth

Majority of Interviewed Cerner Consulting Clients Dissatisfied

For most firms, nearly all clients rate their satisfaction in the 80s or higher. However, most responding Cerner consulting clients are below that threshold, and more than half are very dissatisfied. Of the small number who are satisfied or highly satisfied with their Cerner engagement, about half qualified their positive feedback by noting that their initial experience was poor and they had to appeal directly to Cerner executives and continue to push the firm to get sufficiently experienced consultants.

overall score distribution

Training, Methodology & Value Issues at the Root of Cerner Clients' Dissatisfaction

Many Cerner consulting clients KLAS spoke to referenced poorly trained, inexperienced consultants, many of whom are just out of college. In contrast, third-party firms tend to deliver stronger expertise; they often hire experienced former Cerner employees, and a number expressly do not hire recent college graduates.

percent of staff that is experienced

Another commonly reported issue is Cerner’s lack of a prescriptive implementation methodology; one client specifically asked Cerner to implement the platform the same way they had for their most successful customer but said Cerner was unable to do this. Multiple respondents report Cerner consultants work in silos and do not communicate well with each other, leading to system-build issues and integration gaps within the platform.

Two-thirds of interviewed organizations feel they did not receive the value they expected from Cerner (rating 7.0 or below for money’s worth). Many clients complain of high costs. Several report that Cerner tried to increase their bill after incorrectly estimating how many consultants would be needed. These organizations had to push back forcefully to get Cerner to stick to the agreed-upon charges.

cerner's new implementation methodology

clinical optimization (limited data) a bright spot for cerner consulting

Clinical Optimization (Limited Data) a Bright Spot for Cerner Consulting

When it comes to IT advisory services, Cerner seems to deliver good results in clinical optimization engagements—the four clients KLAS spoke to report that clinical optimization consultants are well trained and prepared to help optimize the EMR, and clients are satisfied with the results.

Satisfaction High among Most Clients of Third-Party Firms

clinical optimization (limited data) a bright spot for cerner consulting

Implementation Services

emids’ and S&P’s Expertise Leads to Smooth Cerner Implementations

Interviewed clients consider S&P Consultants to be the market expert on Cerner implementations; multiple respondents said they turned to S&P to rescue a struggling implementation. Consultants stand out for learning organizations’ unique needs, being willing to tell clients the hard truth, and keeping the project on track. emids receives praise for providing strong value; even those who feel the firm is expensive say the results they receive are worth the cost. This value comes from consultants’ strategic expertise and emids’ knowledgeable, well-trained, proactive staff.

Leidos, Medasource, and Atos—the only firms in this research with validated go-live support and leadership and staff augmentation engagements—also show strong, though less consistent, performance in implementation services. Leidos receives praise for their strong project managers, though a few clients see inconsistencies in the quality of other staff members. Medasource excels at quickly solving problems, including replacing resources who aren’t a good fit. Multiple respondents using Atos, a newer market entrant, say the firm goes above and beyond to meet their needs, finding the right resources and solving challenges quickly.

IT Advisory Services (Limited Data)

Softek Brings Visibility to Cerner Revenue Cycle; PwC and Impact Advisors Demonstrate Ownership of Project Success

it advisory services score and whether clients would buy again

For all firms, client feedback on IT advisory services for Cerner software is limited. All three interviewed clients of Softek, who specializes in Cerner optimization services, are highly satisfied with the firm’s delivery, praising their custom-built revenue cycle tool for creating reports that provide needed visibility and improvement insights. PwC and Impact Advisors, both validated primarily for planning and assessment work, also stand out for expertise. PwC is careful about bringing in knowledgeable, experienced resources, ensuring the right people are involved in a project. The firm also pushes back with Cerner as needed to advocate for clients’ needs and success. Impact Advisors, a seasoned firm in the broader IT advisory services market, earns clients’ trust by staying true to their word and going above and beyond to meet client needs. Respondents describe the firm as a partner

who makes sure to understand the organization in order to tailor their strategic advice to client needs. It should be noted that S&P Consultants and Cumberland fall to the bottom of the pack in overall client satisfaction; one reason for dissatisfaction is service delivery not meeting timeline expectations.

author - Amanda Wind Smith
Amanda Wind Smith
author - Natalie Jamison
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.