Orthopedics

Research in the Orthopedics Market

Historically, the majority of KLAS reports have focused on the most mainstream ambulatory market segments. This year, however, I’m excited for the opportunity to publish two specialty reports: one on orthopedics and one on physical therapy rehabilitation. This will be the first time KLAS has done a report specifically on either of these market segments, and we’re anxious to see how the reports will impact the market.

As many are already aware, orthopedics deals mainly with the correction of disorders, injuries, and deformities related to the musculoskeletal system. Providers in this area work mostly on fingers, shoulders, elbows, and knees. This makes orthopedics one of the biggest and most widely utilized specialties. Many patients who must undergo surgeries under the orthopedic umbrella must then participate in therapy/rehab, making the two market segments closely connected. Publishing the orthopedics report on October 23rd and the therapy/rehab report in September should bring much-needed visibility to providers and vendors alike.

We hope and anticipate that these reports will answer a slew of questions. For instance, KLAS has been asking, “How strong is the integration between EMR and therapy systems today? What about imaging? How badly do providers need that integration?” We’ve heard vendors ask, “How exactly can we improve and progress in the orthopedic space?” And providers in the middle of consolidations and buying decisions are wondering, “Which vendors are stepping up to meet the needs of specialists?”

Review of the Ambulatory Specialty 2016 Report

Two years ago, KLAS worked overtime to publish the huge Ambulatory Specialty 2016 report, which used interviews with over 700 providers to cover 14 different specialties. This benchmark study included a section on orthopedics. It laid out the then-current state of the orthopedics market and set the stage for the learnings we’ll see in the Orthopedics 2018 report.

In 2016, the only validated specialty-specific vendor in the orthopedics space was SRSsoft. Their tool, built specifically for orthopedics, easily outscored the other two fully-rated vendors in the report. Customers expressed hopes that enterprise vendors athenahealth, Epic, and NextGen Healthcare would add to and improve their orthopedic functionality. Cerner and eClinicalWorks received some mild applause for their early efforts to do just that. Other vendors mentioned included Aprima, who seemed to at least provide decent orthopedics reporting, and Modernizing Medicine, who was planning to expand into orthopedics.

Orthochart

So how have these vendors been doing since 2016? Though the data analysis for our Orthopedics 2018 report is not yet complete, we’ve been able to catch at least a glimpse of the movement in this market.

Current Orthopedic Trends

We have already seen some evolution and refinement on the part of several vendors. First of all, Modernizing Medicine has indeed ventured deep enough into the orthopedics world to be fully rated in this year’s report. Interestingly enough, provider feedback on Modernizing Medicine’s tool includes a guess that the vendor adapted their dermatology product to orthopedics instead of creating an orthopedics tool from scratch. We’re anxious to see whether this will be a help or hindrance to this product’s adoption and effective use.

Orthopedics is still a huge play for SRSsoft, and early looks at the data show them scoring well. We expect to hear some good things about the vendor, but SRSsoft is far from the only gig in town. Cerner, for instance, is looking very good at this point. They’ve continued to devote resources to building out their orthopedics content, and that appears to be paying dividends.

Many providers are probably eager to hear about the current state of Epic’s tool; so is KLAS. What we know so far is that the Epic user interface has historically been fairly complex, so we are wondering how it will deliver on physician expectations for simple workflows. These providers tend to use resources like dictation or assistants in order to spend as little time in the EMR as possible. Overall, I’m certainly curious to see how the broad-market EMR vendors will stack up against the specialty vendors.

The Therapy/Rehab Market

Our first report on therapy/rehab, while a good companion to the Orthopedics 2018 report, will look quite different from its counterpart. For instance, no enterprise vendors will appear in this study, since the therapy market is still ruled largely by best-of-breeds vendors. KLAS is taking a first look at some vendors we’ve never rated before, and this category is currently a brand-new segment with viewable data on our website.

In the past, some therapy/rehab vendors have focused on either the ambulatory or inpatient side, with only a few vendors doing both. Today, most or all of the vendors are at least trying to cover both sides of the spectrum, though some have better traction than others. KLAS plans to share details on that traction in our report.

Specialty vendor Casamba, who also has offerings in Home Health, may have the largest overall market presence. However, because of their acquisition of BMS Practice Solutions, WebPT probably has more customers specifically in the therapy market. Their current online scores also show them to be the market leader in terms of customer experience and success. However, providers shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss other options; the tools from Raintree and Clinicient also look promising.

Another interesting trend in the orthopedic and therapy/rehab markets is the formation of partnerships between certain best-of-breed and broad-market vendors. For example, Modernizing Medicine and WebPT have formed a partnership, and other vendors seem to be following suit. In addition, some of the big EMR vendors are trying to adapt functionality in their EMRs to therapists. KLAS and I look forward to exploring this collaboration and how it will affect the market.

It’s Time

In taking our first deep look at the needs of providers in the orthopedics and therapy/rehab markets, KLAS hopes to highlight progress, point out gaps, and push both specialty and enterprise vendors to further specialize their tools. Specialists have been neglected for many years, and the time is right for making big progress. I know vendors are already hard at work, and I hope the upcoming orthopedics and therapy/rehab reports will give them specific insights on how to focus that work.

We hope our healthcare friends will get excited about these markets and reports. I know I’ll be excited to share what we learn from the reports after they’re published this fall. Until then, we’ll keep our eyes and ears wide open.