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Telehealth Virtual Care Platforms 2018

Telehealth Virtual Care Platforms 2018
Which Telehealth Vendors Have The Scalability Customers Need?

Authored by: Bret Sharp and Colin Buckley December 6, 2018 | Read Time: 5  minutes

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Healthcare organizations report high satisfaction with their telehealth virtual care platforms (VCPs), so one might think it makes no difference what platform is used. In reality, there are significant differences in how broad the various platforms are and in the quality of the vendors’ service. Additionally, there is a trend of poor integration, and enterprise scalability is anything but certain for VCPs from either best-of-breed or EMR vendors. Hold on—this industry is about to get interesting!

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Who Does It All and Does It Well?

Most VCP vendors receive positive performance ratings, but the depth and breadth of their capabilities vary, and this can impact scalability for organizations looking to grow. A key factor of scalability is the ability to support multiple visit types. While multiple vendors offer support for all three visit types, no single vendor has a large proportion of customers using all three (only 12 respondents across all vendors said they were doing so). American Well and MDLIVE, two of the vendors used most frequently for multiple visit types, receive generally positive—but lower than average—performance scores. Vendors more specialized in specific visit types or component layers (e.g., Vidyo and Zipnosis) have high scores but narrower expectations from customers. No one vendor meets all needs equally well, but several are reaching for “all-purpose” status with internal development and/or recent acquisitions (American Well acquired Avizia; InTouch acquired TruClinic).

overall score vs average number of visit types
most common visit types
drives tangible outcomes vs moneys worth

Epic and InTouch Meeting Focused Expectations for Value and Impact

When it comes to getting their money’s worth and achieving desired outcomes, Epic and InTouch are rated highest among fully rated vendors, and swyMed and Vidyo perform well among their smaller groups of respondents. For each vendor, the current value proposition is somewhat narrow but well understood:


Epic’s use is limited to existing patients of Epic EMR customers; InTouch is used primarily for consults; swyMed is used by respondents primarily for mobile, first-responder needs; Vidyo delivers video-conferencing tools, which are typically combined with other VCP solutions. SnapMD is seen as a low-cost option, but some customers say the impact has been limited. Commentary from VSee customers suggests a similar experience.

Key Value Proposition

American Well

Quick ramp up for consumer on-demand presence. Avizia acquisition brings acute care–focused alternative for telespecialty.

Epic

Integration makes scheduled visits easy for Epic users.

InTouch Health

Reliable telespecialty visits, predominantly in acute care setting. TruClinic acquisition brings web-based solution for scheduled and on-demand visits.

MDLIVE

Consumer on-demand visits backed by physician network.

SnapMD

Lower-cost option for starting small with all visit types.

swyMed

Mobile connections for telespecialty consults on the go.

Vidyo

Robust video conferencing tools for use with other tools.

VSee

Economical, modular offering with a lower price tag.

Zipnosis

Automated patient intake with clinical decision support.


InTouch & swyMed Provide Optimal Service; American Well’s Growth Is Straining Support

Virtual care is new territory for many healthcare organizations, and their ability to achieve desired results depends on guidance from vendors. swyMed (among a smaller group of respondents) and InTouch receive the most praise for taking initiative in proactively guiding customers and also in quickly responding to support problems. While American Well arguably leads in platform scalability, some customers blame the vendor’s “exponential” growth for staffing shortages that have led to implementation holdups and backlogged service requests. Some SnapMD customers say hard-to-beat pricing comes with a support model that is spare in terms of providing tailored guidance.

proactive service vs quality of phone web support

Supplemental Services and Time-Saving Automation Are Rarely Mentioned 


Most vendors offer two additional options that can help accelerate customers’ expansion and growth: (1) supplemental services, including added-cost advisory and outsourced services, and (2) tools that automate patient-facing tasks that traditionally require additional staff. In both cases, few customers mentioned these options in top-of-mind conversations. Respondents who spoke of their vendor’s supplemental services most often referred to marketing support or strategic planning services from vendors American Well, MDLIVE, or Zipnosis. Those who referred to task automation report patient-self-service capabilities around check-in, scheduling, surveys, and/or patient flow from InTouch Health (TruClinic), Epic, MDLIVE, or Zipnosis. Epic customers benefit from the automation that results from their solution being part of an enterprise EMR suite. Automation during intake is part of Zipnosis’ key value proposition, and Zipnosis delivers clinical decision support benefits as well.

supplemental services and automations organizations use the most

Supplemental Physician Network Services

A different type of supplemental service is access to vendor-supplied physician networks. These help customers scale their VCP efforts by filling in gaps during off hours or within needed specialties. Interviewed organizations were not asked to rate physician networks, but use of these services has been validated primarily among customers of:

american well mdlive

EMR Integration Is a Looming Challenge 

In most cases, the addition of a VCP platform also means the introduction of a second EMR into the clinician workflow. Although integration between EMRs is generally understood to be important for care quality, patient safety, efficiency, and productivity, few interviewed VCP customers have full bidirectional transfer in place. Most say that they are too early in their virtual care programs to pursue integration or that it simply costs too much. Only American Well, Epic, and MDLIVE have more than half of interviewed customers currently on an integrated path. Epic has placed virtual care capabilities directly into their top-rated MyChart patient portal, which many patients already use. Epic integration means clinicians are able to stay within their existing workflow environment as well.

bidirectional emr integration

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

EMR customers of Allscripts, Cerner, and MEDITECH rarely talk or ask about VCP from their vendors. What are these vendors’ plans? What will American Well and Cerner’s partnership yield?

VCP vendors have an opportunity to build in more clinical decision support. What are vendors like Bright.md and CirrusMD doing? Will other VCP vendors follow?

Asynchronous communication is being talked about more and more. Will a desire for convenience increase adoption of options like secure messaging, chat, and file/image sharing?

As virtual care grows, centralized command centers can help organizations scale. Which VCP vendors are proving their command center capabilities?

KLAS will continue to investigate VCP vendors that had too few live platform customers to be included in this research (CareClix and SOC Telemed) or were unwilling to share customer sites (Teladoc).

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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.