Buying decisions

Decision Insights 2019: National Trends

​More providers and vendors are using Decision Insights data and making it part of their regular conversations. Decision Insights data is gaining traction, and KLAS is maturing in our understanding of it as we describe its uses in our engagements with providers and vendors. We are excited ​for our Decision Insights 2019: National Trends report as we open up the data to more market segments and greater uses.

Hot Segments

Providers are asking about what’s next and what they can do to make a difference. Those concerns seem to be centered around imaging strategies, population health management, and what to do with data.

Secure communications is also becoming a critical space; some of the report’s highlighted vendors are also involved in patient privacy monitoring. This may be because patient privacy is rising in people’s minds. In the medical field, there are tons of data and opportunities to misuse that data.

How do we ensure that patients’ privacy is protected? I am excited to see the solutions vendors provide in this up-and-coming area of research.

It is really hard to point to a measurable ROI with an EHR. Providers believe better information can save lives, but saved lives can be difficult to attribute directly to the EHR. The cost of onboarding doctors is high, but keeping doctors is still a soft ROI based on the EHR a facility is using. EHRs certainly get rid of paper, but it is still hard for a CIO to demonstrate a tangible ROI from reduced paper and repeatable charting.

However, with ERP, there is a direct ROI. Providers can look at decreased overhead costs, or they can look at the supply chain and see that they are overpaying on specific consumable items. CIOs love when they can show their boards how they saved a specific amount of money. I think ERP will continue to be a hot topic because of that measurable and tangible ROI that comes from a quality ERP implementation.

Takeaways for Vendors

Our DI data shows that good marketing and shiny new things can get vendors on the list for consideration, but customer experience—particularly for existing customers—still matters the most for getting selected.

Some vendors concentrate too much on new features and functionality and end up losing more customers than they gain. Vendors should keep current customers happy because, after all, those customers talk to their friends, and the HIT world is increasingly connected.

Another insight that may surprise people is that when vendors’ tools get replaced, the issue isn’t usually the pricing. Allow me to use an analogy to show why.

When I bought my first car, I had $2,800, so I bought the best thing I could find for my money. It was an old 1978 Ford Mustang—the ugliest model in the history of Ford—and the color was horrible. But I was just happy to have some wheels.

Two years later, I wanted a different car because different things mattered to me. I wanted a bigger, four-door car so I could take more friends with me. I wanted power windows, especially because the passenger-side window crank had broken on my Mustang. And the Mustang didn’t have air conditioning; I wanted my friends to be comfortable.

Some providers may be on their second “car” or even on their third or fourth. These organizations now have a better idea of what they want, and that isn’t necessarily the least expensive tool. One thing they do want is simplicity. CIOs have a hard job, and they want to simplify and have fewer solutions to manage. As stated in Occam’s Razor, “the simplest solution is almost always the best.”

I love The Cheesecake Factory, but there are too many choices on the menu. I never know what to get. On the other hand, choosing something at In-N-Out Burger is easy; they’ve just got burgers, fries, and shakes. CIOs often want to consolidate products and reduce the number of vendors with which they work on a regular basis—they want deeper relationships with fewer vendors.

Years ago, best-of-breed strategies were common and often desired. But today, almost half of the decision criteria we measure from customers include a desire to consolidate to fewer vendors or improve the interface between solutions. Simplicity is also part of the reason the cloud is becoming so popular; it takes away responsibility for hardware, upgrades, patches and version control.

Providers are willing to give up some control and pay a little extra to gain simplicity. Price will always matter, but it just isn’t a primary factor for most organizations replacing solutions.

Consideration Versus Retention

Vendors need to be seen as innovators that push the market. There is a lot of innovation in population health management, secure communications, and imaging. Innovation matters, and the top vendors demonstrate that.

Some vendors are highly retained but not considered; that is because innovation is difficult. It takes money—money that could be going to existing customers. Many companies, especially those with a proven customer base, have to make a deliberate effort to do new and different things and take risks. The good news is that if vendors can articulate a clear vision of where they are going, customers will get on board, even if the products aren’t on the cutting edge.

Other vendors are highly considered but not retained. Some technologies have strong reputations and tons of promise. We want the futuristic technology to be real, but when the rubber hits the road, some promised solutions just don’t deliver results. Buzzword technologies like AI and machine learning have a ton of promise but often lack tangible use cases today, and some vendors are all vision and with limited execution.

The Bottom Line

In summary, price is not a number one concern for most providers replacing products, and innovation is key to getting wins. HIT customers are over the hype of buying their first set of wheels in many market segments. It was fun while it lasted, but now they are looking for greater use and functionality, and they are looking for vendors who will do more than just deliver the basics.

Which vendors are delivering the most and getting the most looks? Read more details in the full report.

 

Photo Cred: Shutterstock, ESB Professional