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Patient Engagement 2019

Patient Engagement 2019
Current and Future Trends in Vendor Selection

Authored by: Adam Cherrington and Colin Buckley February 19, 2019 | Read Time: 4  minutes

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Providers’ demand for effective patient engagement (PE) solutions continues to grow, as does the number of HIT vendors claiming to meet those needs. But which vendors are meeting needs today, and which are likely to play meaningful roles tomorrow? KLAS asked providers to name HIT vendors they are currently using or considering for future use: 74 organizations mentioned 109 unique vendor names. In an effort to make sense of all the options, this report is the first to apply a patient engagement–specific framework developed through the collaboration of leading provider and vendor executives at the KLAS Keystone Summit in October 2018.

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In a Wide but Shallow Field, Only CipherHealth, GetWellNetwork, and Press Ganey Stand Out

Study participants mentioned over 100 non-EMR vendors as playing a PE role, but only 29 are being used or considered by three or more organizations. In this fluid market, no single vendor is positioned as an all-purpose go-to source. CipherHealth and GetWellNetwork garner extra attention for their expanding product suites, which satisfy organizations wanting multifunction platforms and fewer vendors. Press Ganey is currently the most used vendor due to their longtime role in HCAHPS survey fulfillment but is not often seen as forward-looking.

While some respondents described a pending transformation toward consumer-oriented strategies, Apple is the only consumer-oriented company seen as having a patient-care impact today, through iOS Health Records and through iPhone and Apple Watch development kits that enable health tracking and coaching.

using vs considering standalone vendors with 3 plus mentions

In the Patient Portal Paradigm, athenahealth, Cerner, and Epic Lead; Epic Plays Deepest PE Role

Providers have long preferred clinical solutions from their primary EMR vendors. This is no less true with patient engagement, though EMR vendors are not always seen as groundbreaking innovators. Their patient portals are near omnipresent, but usability and functionality vary widely. Epic is the most deeply used EMR vendor for PE (92% of customers said Epic plays a significant, if not major, role). athenahealth customers cite high usability and usefulness for patients. Cerner was mentioned by customers 75% of the time, though some were unsure of value gained. Allscripts’ acquired patient portal is EMR agnostic and thus works with Allscripts’ several EMRs as well as competing EMRs. Allscripts recently acquired HealthGrid, whose outreach solution has been popular and effective. Allscripts customers represent three of the five organizations considering HealthGrid.

emr vendor roles depth of patient engagement

The Patient Engagement Framework

To help ensure engagement is truly patient-centric, the framework begins with seven general principles to guide provider and vendor strategies. Next, HIT capabilities are organized into three pillars representing key patient needs.

the patient engagement framework

While Keeping an Eye on Patient Experience, Providers Turn Attention to Patient Care

hit investments today and in the futureProviders’ historical focus on patient experience is not going away, though attention is shifting beyond retrospective surveys (e.g., HCAHPS) to real-time feedback via rounding tools and other on-site survey tools—often from emerging vendors. Considerations for future investments suggest strategies are maturing as providers increasingly seek HIT solutions that help patients along their care journeys. These often include (1) self-scheduling tools that allow patients to arrange their own care, (2) care coordination tools that remind patients to schedule preventive care and keep appointments, and (3) solutions that conveniently deliver targeted educational content at times such as before surgery, during inpatient stays, and after discharge.


where do standalone vendors play

Portal-Based Gaps and Innovation Drive Homegrown Development

If “homegrown” were a vendor, it would be the most considered. In some cases, in-house development fills gaps where EMR vendor patient portals would typically be used. For example, Allscripts and Cerner customers are more likely to create their own patient self-scheduling tools, if not whole custom portals. In other cases, providers develop advanced capabilities to augment what their EMR vendor delivers, as is most often the case with Epic users who customize patient education and build tools to collaborate with and collect health data from patients.

homegrown solutions

Vendors Called to Make Software More Usable; Services Firms Called to Assist Provider Culture Change

what needs to happen to make patient engagement a more meaningful strategy for improving healthcareDuring interviews, providers said vendors have more work to do in terms of making technology easier to use, more effective, and more innovative, but providers also admitted that they will be directly responsible for the lion’s share of progress. The most significant efforts to be made involve cultural change around how patients are treated; healthcare organizations should treat patients like valued consumers in control of their health-and-wellness destiny. To help, some organizations have turned to services firms, such as Studer Group and Vocera for advisory services, Envera Health and RelateCare for call center services, and others for staff training.


Ear to the Ground: Going forward, what is KLAS listening for in provider interviews?

Many vendors are offering patient engagement platform solutions. How often are providers utilizing or even asking for these solutions?

Many fragmented offerings permeate the market today. Will patient engagement vendors follow population health down the path of vendor consolidation?

Will patient portals begin to evolve faster in more meaningful ways?

Allscripts’ acquisition of HealthGrid: What will Allscripts customers using FollowMyHealth achieve using the proven HealthGrid offerings? Will HealthGrid clients not using FollowMyHealth see the same historic results or get lost in the shuffle of a larger vendor relationship?

The market is calling for more patient-centric solutions. Who will step forward and lead this effort by more fully involving the patient’s perspective?

There is a need for deeper synergy between payers and providers. Several patient engagement vendors have clients in both industries. Which solutions are showing success in encouraging stronger communication, faster data integration, and more holistic guidance for members and patients?

Will technology firms outside of healthcare (Amazon, Apple, Google, etc.) put pressure on existing vendors to evolve faster and be more consumer-centric?

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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.