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Secure Communication 2018 Secure Communication 2018
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Secure Communication 2018
Decision Insights Report

author - Paul Hess
Paul Hess
author - Paul Warburton
Paul Warburton
October 30, 2018 | Read Time: 6  minutes

Secure communication is a rapidly evolving market, with high variability in terms of both customer needs and vendor offerings. Whether replacing an existing solution or making a net-new purchase, acute care organizations are largely moving toward broad communication platforms† that streamline communication organization-wide. In contrast, ambulatory organizations are focused primarily on HIPAA-compliant messaging. This report—which combines performance feedback from current customers with purchasing insights from 100 acute care, ambulatory, and post– acute care organizations—examines which vendors are most often considered, what factors most influence their decisions, and how current customers rate vendor performance.

retention vs consideration

High Consideration, Retention, and Performance: TigerConnect, Voalte, Epic 

TigerConnect, Voalte, and Epic all have above average market consideration, excellent customer retention (90%+), and high customer satisfaction (top quartile of all software products KLAS rates). TigerConnect (formerly TigerText) has high name recognition thanks to their large customer base and longevity as a cross-industry secure messaging vendor. However, they have a lower win rate, in large part because their broader platform—geared toward acute care communication collaboration—is less mature. With a nationwide presence, Voalte has been strategic in evolving their solution into a broad platform that meets a majority of acute care organizations’ needs. Consideration of Epic is driven by the vendor’s extensive EMR market share, enterprise pricing, and reputation for quality. The product is still maturing, but many acute care organizations feel it is sufficient enough for secure messaging now and will improve over time. Lua also meets all three criteria but is used primarily for post–acute care. Known for cost-effective pricing, Lua has strategically built out secure messaging tailored to that market. Halo Communications (formerly Doc Halo) and Vocera also have high national mindshare and high satisfaction but fall just short of the 90% retention rate. Cerner meets the first two criteria but falls significantly short in functionality satisfaction.

Evolution from Secure Messaging to Communication Platforms

Healthcare’s initial interest in secure communication stemmed mainly from a desire to curb unsecured texting of PHI. Some vendors—such as Spok and Vocera—were able to launch their secure communication efforts among existing customer bases that already used their other telecommunication technology. Others—like Voalte and Mobile Heartbeat—grew from the ground up, focusing on smartphone use for nurses. Still others—like Halo Communications, PerfectServe, and TigerConnect—started with easy-to-use, easy-to-deploy secure messaging solutions for physicians and have continued to evolve the solutions for acute care organizations.

Today, many acute care organizations are expanding their visions to include interfaces and functionality that improve communication for multiple workflows, thereby improving patient care. Regardless of where they started, all vendors in the acute care space are attempting to meet customers’ needs with functionality in the critical areas of EMR interfacing, clinician scheduling, and middleware interfacing, as well as their less urgent needs for notification routing and corporate-owned shared devices. The two charts below show where each vendor’s typical customer sits on the spectrum from secure messaging to communication platform and what type of organizations consider each vendor most frequently.

secure communication spectrum

Disruption Possible from Smaller Vendors Telmediq and PatientSafe Solutions

vendor consideration by facility type

Interest in Telmediq (the 2018 Best in KLAS winner) and PatientSafe Solutions is growing among acute care organizations. Compared to other vendors, both are chosen by a higher percentage of organizations that consider them. Customers view the products as high quality and have high confidence the vendors can accommodate the acute care market’s desire for communication platforms. Telmediq customers highlight robust physician scheduling, and PatientSafe Solutions’ BPOC and nurse documentation background makes for functionality highly accommodating of nurse workflows. Whether these vendors will be able to scale with their growth is yet to be determined.

Functionality Is King in Purchasing Decisions and Post-Purchase Satisfaction

Broad Functionality Leads to High Acute Care Consideration of Voalte and Vocera

Product functionality and a pre-existing relationship (through either other technology or an existing secure communication contract) are the top reasons that organizations consider and choose specific vendors in their secure communication decisions. Integration—a key component sought by acute care organizations—is the next most common factor. Focused primarily on secure messaging, the large number of ambulatory organizations making decisions are influenced heavily by price and vendor reputation.

reasons for win

Voalte and Vocera are top-of-mind considerations because of their communication platform functionality. They each have many customers using their technology in conjunction with VoIP, alarm routing, nurse call solutions, mass notifications, and labs. (Note that Vocera data was collected solely for Collaboration Suite, one component of the larger Vocera platform.) While these vendors offer more nuanced secure communication functionality than enterprise EMR vendors can currently deliver, EMR integration is also a high consideration factor, leading many organizations to consider Cerner and Epic, though both vendors’ platforms have limitations today.

Spok and Imprivata Customers in Search of More Functionality

reasons for loss or replacement

Separate from the net-new decisions being made, some acute care organizations have begun to search for vendors that provide continued development toward a communication platform. Because development from Spok and Imprivata has lagged, customers are looking elsewhere for more robust platforms and better integration. Several organizations that considered TigerConnect ultimately chose other vendors with more mature integration, specifically EMR and physician scheduling integration.

Post-Purchase Reality: Functionality According to Current Customers

Organizations looking to implement a communication platform face an uphill battle since the broad functionality claimed by vendors may not be available out of the box. For the reasons already mentioned above, Telmediq and PatientSafe Solutions receive high functionality ratings from current customers. Though data is limited for Uniphy Health (a regional vendor), customers report high usability and consistent delivery of technology that facilitates the flow of information for clinicians. Cerner offers complex interfacing and workflows, but customers report that the technology is less mature than expected and has a high learning curve. An increasing number of PerfectServe customers are concerned about a lack of development; to accommodate nurse workflows, they want more interfacing with things like alarm management and nurse call solutions.

overall product quality vs delivery of new technology

TigerConnect’s and Halo Communications’ secure messaging functionality drives high satisfaction and very deep adoption with strong, easy-to-use solutions that physicians can adopt with little training. Halo Communications’ physician scheduling functionality is a strength for acute care users. Lua (used primarily by post–acute care organizations) stands out in this area with fast implementations and quickly-achieved high rates of adoption. Imprivata customers appreciate the vendor’s enterprise deployment and see high end-user adoption, but as mentioned, lack of development has them looking elsewhere.

Enterprise Contracting Driving Wins for Epic, PatientSafe Solutions, and Telmediq

Cost is the second-most-common reason organizations pass a vendor over, and vendors that offer enterprise pricing are the most likely to win new contracts. This is a significant factor in Epic’s wins since Secure Chat is included in EMR customers’ enterprise contracts and all users within an organization are able to use the tool. In comparison, Cerner CareAware Connect comes with an additional cost, though it is a broader, more functionality-rich platform. PatientSafe Solutions and Telmediq also offer enterprise contracting, which drives high value when combined with the quality of their functionality.

money s worth vs avoids nickel and diming

In secure messaging decisions, per-user, per-month costs are more common. Attractive pricing is a key reason post–acute care organizations choose Lua; in fact, it is why several smaller ambulatory organizations have recently chosen Lua over other vendors, including market share leaders TigerConnect and Halo Communications. Price is the leading reason that organizations choose other vendors over TigerConnect.

author - Elizabeth Pew
Elizabeth Pew
author - Jess Wallace-Simpson
Jess Wallace-Simpson
author - Robert Ellis
Project Manager
Robert Ellis
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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.