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Healthcare Operations Command Center Ecosystem 2021 Healthcare Operations Command Center Ecosystem 2021
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Healthcare Operations Command Center Ecosystem 2021
A First Look at the Spectrum of Technology

author - Niel Oscarson
Niel Oscarson
author - Emily Paxman
Emily Paxman
August 5, 2021 | Read Time: 11  minutes

Implementations of healthcare operations command centers have increased substantially in recent years. The value of a centralized approach to healthcare operations was emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic and the inefficiencies it brought to light. KLAS’ research shows commandcenters can drive significant outcomes, including improved efficiency, increased revenue, and enhanced patient safety and satisfaction (highlighted explicitly by providers during the pandemic).

This study (1) introduces the healthcare operations command center ecosystem—a framework for the many capabilities and services that can be deployed under the command center umbrella, including how vendors’ stated offerings match up to that framework and providers’ needs, and (2) shares critical insights and best practices from providers and vendors regarding what it takes to successfully implement and optimize a command center. For some areas detailed in this report, KLAS already measures vendor performance, and links to that content are provided where applicable. However, note that information about vendors in this report is based mainly on vendor-reported information. Future research will further validate capabilities and dive deeper into vendor performance.

road map for klas research on healthcare operations command centers

The Healthcare Operations Command Center Ecosystem

To help healthcare organizations quickly understand the breadth of vendors’ command center offerings, KLAS (with input from vendors and provider organizations) has developed an ecosystem meant to guide organizations to vendors who can accommodate their specific needs. The capabilities under this ecosystem are organized into eight main pillars, detailed below.

What is a command center?

For the purposes of this research, a command center is defined as a centralized healthcare operations control center in which real-time and predictive analytics are aggregated from various data sources and used as part of a coordinated approach to manage logistics, provide enterprise visibility, and improve coordination for multiple departments within a single hospital or for multiple facilities within a health system. A command center can involve multiple department representatives working in a single room, or it can be virtually centralized, with remote capabilities provided to decision-makers and frontline workers. As the market continues to mature, more command centers will likely incorporate a more comprehensive structure for the full health system that unifies visibility and access across the enterprise.

Healthcare Operations Command Center Ecosystem



Alarm management (middleware routing & escalation)

Nurse call

Mass notifications

First responders


Clinical communications

  • Secure communications
  • Clinical communication outside hospital
  • Physician-to-physician connect line
  • Call routing (rules engine)


Tracking & location technology

Patient flow

  • Bed capacity management
  • EVS dispatch
  • Transport dispatch
  • Transfer center

Transportation Services

  • Uber/Lyft
  • Ambulance dispatch
  • Flight dispatch


  • Asset tracking/biomedical engineering
  • Patient tracking
  • Staff tracking

Patient intake management

case care management icon

Case/care management

Discharge planning

Utilization management

telehealth icon


Remote patient monitoring


Remote central medical unit (CMU)

scheduling icon


Physician scheduling

Nurse/staff scheduling

  • Nurse/staff scheduling platform
  • Predictive analytics
  • Mobile scheduling
  • Nurse resource balancing

Surgical scheduling

asset inventory management icon

Asset inventory management

(excludes tracking)

Supply chain

Point-of-use inventory management

Medication management

Note: Capabilities that fall under a KLAS-measured market segment are linked to KLAS’ performance data on that segment as applicable.
† This capability will be covered by KLAS’ upcoming research on capacity optimization management software, which will be available on the KLAS website in late 2021.
‡ KLAS performance insights on tele-ICU can be found here (for non-EMR virtual care platforms) or here (for EMR-centric virtual care platforms).

Command centers encompass numerous software systems and vendors. This overview is focused specifically on vendors that implement command centers and vendors that offer capacity optimization management software. The following chart is based on vendor-reported information and shows what capabilities each vendor offers and what other systems they can integrate with. Also included are the related services each vendor offers to tackle the complexity of implementing a command center. The Executive Insights section of the report focuses on vendors that implement command centers or provide full capacity optimization management software. It provides details on four areas generating high interest from command center customers—data & analytics, communication, tracking & location technology, and telehealth.

healthcare operations command center overview

data and analytics iconDATA & ANALYTICS

Care Logistics, Central Logic & GE Healthcare Report Broad Data & Analytics Capabilities

Data and analytics are a core technology for command centers and the pillar most commonly implemented by interviewed organizations. Though less often implemented, AI and predictive analytics are part of many organizations’ future plans. In this area, Care Logistics, Central Logic, and GE Healthcare stand out for reported capabilities. Care Logistics, who leverages patient flow and transfer center software to build out command centers, reports the ability to provide all capabilities under the data and analytics pillar. Central Logic, leveraging transfer center software for command centers, also reports offering all data and analytics capabilities. GE Healthcare, leveraging capacity operations management software, reports offering most capabilities; the only exception, data visualization, is on their road map. TeleTracking, another major market player, declined to participate in this research; past KLAS research and publicly available information show they offer three of the five capabilities under data and analytics (analytics/decision support, AI/machine learning, and real-time data visibility).

Hospital IQ, LeanTaaS, Qventus & TAGNOS Focused on Capacity Optimization Management

Rather than help operationalize a command center, some vendors provide a more targeted offering: capacity optimization management software that helps meet data and analytics needs. Hospital IQ, LeanTaaS, Qventus, and TAGNOS each say they offer all data and analytics capabilities. Hospital IQ has built their software on AI capabilities, with a focus on improving patient access, care delivery, and staff productivity. LeanTaaS also has built their software with AI and focuses on optimizing the use of limited resources (e.g., infusion chairs, operating rooms). Qventus, who declined to report capabilities for this study (the data shown is based on publicly available information and past KLAS research), uses machine learning and optimization algorithms to help hospitals reduce costs. TAGNOS is a small software company focused on OR and ED workflows.

Cerner & Epic Leverage EMRs, Report Broad Offerings

Enterprise EMR vendors Cerner and Epic, who have fewer live command center customers than most other vendors that build out command centers, leverage their own core EMRs to pull, aggregate, and visualize data. Epic’s offering is mainly based in their Grand Central solution (patient flow). Cerner reports customers use Cerner’s patient flow, tracking, scheduling, and other technology solutions. Both vendors report offering broad command center capabilities. For the technologies not offered, Cerner and Epic each partner with other vendors.

data and analytics capabilities

tracking and location technology iconTRACKING & LOCATION TECHNOLOGY

Across Varied Tracking & Location Capabilities, Care Logistics, Cerner, Epic & TeleTracking Report Broadest Offerings

Tracking and location technologies are often used to ensure patients are in the right place at the right time and are able to be transported to the right location the first time. To cover tracking and location capabilities, vendors may partner with third parties (e.g., RTLS vendors, Uber/Lyft). Care Logistics, Cerner, Epic, and TeleTracking (the latter based on publicly available information and past KLAS research) report a broad number of tracking and location capabilities offered natively or through a third party.


communication iconCOMMUNICATION

For Communication, Most Organizations Turn to Secure Communications Vendors

The broad set of communication capabilities are often not available natively from the vendors in this report (most commonly nurse call, alarm management, and call routing). Communications-specific vendors, not measured in this report, are more commonly used. The capabilities most often provided by measured vendors are secure communication and clinical communication outside the hospital. Philips, a less traditional vendor, reports all communication capabilities are on their development road map. They recently released Radiology Operations Command Center, and they plan to roll out Patient Flow Capacity Suite later in 2021.

communication capabilities

telehealth iconTELEHEALTH

For Telehealth—Area of High Interest—Only Cerner, Epic & Philips Report Providing Capabilities for Command Centers

Though less often deployed, telehealth functionality is on many organizations’ radars and road maps. 20% of respondents (mainly advanced command center users) plan to implement telehealth functionality for their command center in the future. Interest has increased out of the need to utilize beds and staff more efficiently. COVID-19 and regulation changes have allowed organizations to use telehealth appointments and virtual beds in creative and broader ways. Only Cerner, Epic, and Philips report the ability to provide telehealth capabilities for command centers through their own technology (rather than through partnerships or integration with outside solutions).

prioritization of command center pillars by healthcare organizations


Why Implement a Command Center?

Interviewed organizations that have implemented a command center report many positive benefits, both prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Command centers help streamline coordination between facilities, ensure staffing is assigned correctly (especially vital during demand spikes and staff shortages), give visibility into what is happening with patient populations, and provide critical community outreach tools for testing and education. In KLAS’ first command center report (2018), 78% of interviewed organizations reported positive financial outcomes.

impact of command center on covid 19 response

quotation mark“I don’t know how we would have survived the COVID-19 crisis without a command center. We had serious capacity issues before. We are able to manage multiple hospitals as one hospital, and we transferred many COVID-19 patients around our system to where we had capacity. We had an outbreak on one of our campuses, and we transferred patients from that campus into beds in another location where we had capacity. Those patients would have been sleeping in hallways in the ED, or who knows what would have happened. We were able to really move things around.” —VP of patient flow

Faced with Growth and Change Management Challenges, Command Centers May Benefit from Supportive Services

When asked what their biggest barriers are to fully optimizing a command center, provider organizations most often cite change management.

quotation mark“Change management has been the hardest thing. Before we had the command center, our organization was really siloed. It felt like we were running several hospitals within one building. The command center has brought a lot of different resources and people together and forced them to work together. That approach is very different culturally from what we had before. Even now, getting everyone on board or trying to change anything is very difficult.” —Assistant administrator of command center

Many organizations mention the difficulty of getting all staff members on board with new processes and culture changes. Some say ensuring buy-in and providing education can help. Services from vendors could play a critical role in helping organizations overcome these challenges. The majority of vendors in this study report they can provide a full suite of services to help organizations implement and optimize their command centers. Firms that specialize in change management may also be needed in the future.

Other common barriers include poor integration and the need for analytics that provide actionable insights.

barriers to fully optimizing command center

quotation mark“The biggest barrier is getting better, more actionable data. We need to consider the evolution of our health system as we are planning to expand our transfer center and command center across the health system. There aren’t really barriers to that, but it takes time to go through the governance and culture work.” —Manager of access & flow

Best Practices Recommended by Vendors

For Organizations Implementing a Command Center

  • Centralize the command center: Some vendors recommend a physical location, while others are expanding the idea to a virtually centralized location
  • Begin with change management in mind, and set up structures to support a comprehensive, long-term change management approach (e.g., steering committee, governance, training)
  • Prioritize the ability to get real-time, actionable data and visualizations
  • Determine expected outcomes before building your command center, and then measure related metrics from the start
  • Start smaller and expand over time: Use the iterative process to get insights on what works best for your organization

For Organizations Optimizing an Existing Command Center

  • Focus on user adoption
  • Especially if you start in a smaller area, like patient flow and beds, still plan up front for the broader picture and continued growth of the command center
  • Set up a governance body to manage changes and growth (steering committee)
  • Continue assessing your command center efforts and ensuring they fit with the organization’s overall internal strategy as the command center grows and changes

About This Report

This report is designed to give provider organizations a clear picture of the capabilities vendors offer across the healthcare operations command center ecosystem. It also aims to share best practices and advice from the front lines for provider organizations hoping to implement a command center or optimize their current command center.

The data in this report comes from four sources: (1) insights from provider organizations who currently have a command center about the capabilities they use, the barriers they face, and the impact of having a command center during the pandemic; (2) self-reported information from participating vendors about the capabilities, integration, and services they offer and their customer base (sizes and types of organizations); (3) publicly available information and past KLAS research on non-participating vendors about capabilities, integration, and services; and (4) insights from vendors about what their offering is, what differentiates them in the market, how they view the patient journey in the command center ecosystem, how customers measure success, and what best practices they recommend to provider organizations.

author - Amanda Wind Smith
Amanda Wind Smith
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.