KLAS Investment Symposium

Healthcare Investments: Good Investing Leads to Good Care

In a first for KLAS, today we gathered leaders in the financial sector of healthcare for our inaugural Digital Health Investment Symposium. Adam Gale mentioned in opening our Investment Symposium that there was a time where KLAS very intentionally ‘stiff-armed’ investors. 20 years ago, our young company’s focus was to serve the provider and the provider alone. This decision was influenced heavily by our mission to “improve the world’s healthcare.”

As KLAS has grown we’ve realized that healthcare, and by extension our mission, involves many key groups beyond just providers. Initially, the expansion of KLAS' audience started with a greater insight into vendor companies. For the last seven years KLAS has spent considerable time and effort meeting with vendors nationwide, bringing the voice of their customers into the boardroom.

As we have gained a new information on how these HIT vendors operate, our perspective on investments has also changed.

We realized that HIT investing was more than just firms buying up companies, bleeding them for profit, and leaving them broken by the wayside. Many, if not most, of the innovative vendors in healthcare IT have become marketplace disruptors exactly because of investment firms willing to back their innovations.

If KLAS wants to drive our mission of improving the world’s healthcare forward then we need to expand our focus beyond the provider. Others, such as payers, vendors and investors, have a stake in improving healthcare too.

Hopefully when KLAS provides accurate and transparent insights for investors, those investors will buy in to the vendors that most benefit providers and, ultimately, healthcare as a whole. 

As Adam Gale said during today’s Investment Symposium, making decisions about IT is more than just a financial choice. Contracting with the wrong vendor, or even just a misalignment of vendor and provider goals, can lead to physicians and ultimately patients suffering across the continuum of care. Health IT decisions are important, and important decisions should be based on solid information.

Provider & Investor Responses


For the symposium, we polled both providers and investors with the question, “What are the most significant challenges you face in healthcare?” On their own, the responses are interesting. But it’s when we look at the responses side by side that we realize the importance of getting the right people in the same room at the right time.

In the resulting conversations, misunderstandings are clarified, expectations are established and progress occur.

As shown in the charts above, investors were largely focused on questions like, “How do we get physicians and especially patients engaged? Where do we go with consumerism in healthcare?”

Meanwhile, providers feel that there’s not much for consumerism to “consume” yet. This ​sentiment stems from the fact that providers haven’t yet been able to regularly or easily acquire, normalize, and integrate data into physician workflows. And while one vendor attendee said, “We can give you all the data you want,” the issue for many providers lies in the standardization and quality of the data they receive.

Additionally, as Marc Probst, CIO & SVP of Intermountain Healthcare pointed out, “If we’re going to ask the consumers to get involved, we need to use what the consumers have.” In a value-based world, consumers themselves become a channel through which data acquisition must occur in order to achieve true consumerism in healthcare. During the Symposium several mentioned bringing the “Amazon experience” to healthcare, and the question should be asked, "Isn’t the "Amazon experience" driven almost entirely by the input of their shoppers?"

Discussions ranged from consumerism to RCM, population health and emerging vendor companies. Thankfully, these discussions were dutifully captured, and the results will be published shortly as a white paper.

Ultimately, the Investment Symposium served as an opportunity for providers—both those in attendance and those who have given KLAS their insights over the years—to explain their needs to investors, who can better focus their attentions moving forward.