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Medical Oncology 2019

Medical Oncology 2019
Customer Pain Points and Critical Success Areas

Authored by: Monique Rasband and Lauren Barton March 19, 2019 | Read Time: 4  minutes

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The bulk of cancer care in the US is delivered by community cancer centers. They come in all sizes, and many have large-organization and academic affiliations, so their IT needs are getting more complex. These organizations need IT systems that can help them overcome oncology-specific challenges related to workflows, benchmarking, clinical trials, and data integration with other core EMRs. This report—focused specifically on medical oncology—examines how committed vendors are to making their customers successful and looks at customers’ functionality successes and pain points in the critical areas mentioned above.

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interviewed organizations by facility size

Flatiron Continues Improvement in Commitment to Customers, Drives Strong Satisfaction 

vendor investment in customers medical oncology successFlatiron Health shows genuine investment in customer success by learning organizations’ unique needs and executing on development plans. This partnership is vital for community cancer centers, who are often short on resources. As a result of Flatiron’s high commitment to customer success, overall satisfaction has continued to improve. Confidence in Epic’s dedication to medical oncology is also growing; for several years, Epic has been slowly improving Beacon. Integration with the rest of Epic’s platform is beneficial, and customers feel Epic listens to them and is working to improve their oncology expertise. There are still functionality gaps, and progress has been slower than desired; multiple respondents feel oncology is not a primary focus for Epic. Optimism about Elekta is waning; the vendor is Best in KLAS for the combined radiation and medical oncology category, but they have significant room to improve in medical oncology, especially when it comes to communication with customers.


Cerner, Epic, McKesson Specialty Health Lag Behind in Delivering Workflow That Meets Community Needs

quality of treatment workflowsAll vendors have room to improve workflows; customers want to see better ease of use and more customization. Cerner customers are divided; some feel workflows have been improving, while others say the system doesn’t scale well, is difficult to navigate, and hurts efficiency. Epic customers report the system is not ready out of the box and requires customization that takes time for Epic to deliver. Respondents who are satisfied with the workflow have put in their own efforts. Those who are dissatisfied say the system slows them down. McKesson Specialty Health customers appreciate that the system is oncology specific and doesn’t feel like an adapted acute care EMR. However, most feel the technology is old and requires a lot of clicks. Flatiron Health, Elekta, and Varian receive the highest workflow ratings; Flatiron customers are the most likely to report an intuitive workflow.


benchmarking and clinical trials tools reported use and performance

Epic Customers Report Highest Use, Lowest Performance of Benchmarking Tools

Many organizations are not using or aware of benchmarking functionality from their oncology vendor. Epic’s benchmarking tools have the highest reported adoption but don’t meet most customers’ needs—pulling data is difficult, reporting is complicated, and functionality requires expertise beyond that of an average user. Newer customers are optimistic but report few results. All see vast potential in the large amount of accessible Epic data. McKesson Specialty Health and Varian perform best—but are not outstanding. McKesson Specialty Health’s benchmarking meets customers’ needs, and the reporting and analytics, though not robust, have improved. Varian customers can do customized analysis to generate desired reports and are optimistic Varian will continue to improve.

Elekta & Varian See High Use of Clinical Trials Functionality

Elekta and Varian, who both offer radiation oncology solutions, lead in reported use of clinical trials tools. Satisfaction with these tools is similar across vendors, though each has specific strengths and weaknesses. Most Elekta customers report benefits (e.g., patient alerts) and say the analytics are improving. Varian’s functionality is not highly intuitive or robust, and most who use the reporting and analytics use manual workarounds to get desired data. Cerner has the lowest reported use; those who do use PowerTrials (the add-on required for clinical trials) are satisfied with the basic functionality but have challenges with advanced features; many build customized tools to fill gaps. Epic’s tools require a heavy lift (e.g., a clinical expert at go-live and increased staff to manage protocols).


Cerner and Epic Struggle to Connect with Other EMR Vendors 

Customers of non-enterprise vendors report a larger variety of EMR connections than customers of enterprise vendors. Medical oncology tools from Cerner and Epic are an add-on to these vendors’ acute care EMRs, and the integrated connections are often described as seamless. Cerner connections to other vendors are rare, tend to be less mature, and require manual workarounds. No Epic oncology customers report connections to other vendors. Flatiron Health has the largest variety of reported EMR connections, leading to more opportunities for exchange partnerships. Customers describe interfaces, not integration, but are generally satisfied with the connections and with the data they exchange, which is mainly lab and billing data.


emr connections
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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. © 2021 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.