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Vendors Insights during COVID-19

About two months ago, KLAS published part 1 of the white paper Delivering Customer Success in a Time of Crisis, which focuses on vendor delivery from the customer perspective. Recently, KLAS published part 2 of this white paper, which focuses on learnings and insights from 102 HIT vendors and services firms.

The reality of implementing and delivering has changed over the last few months. Vendors are figuring out or will have to figure out how to make deliveries virtually. Training, workflow design, and go-live support for big implementations need to be done virtually. They may not need to be 100% virtual, and hybrid approaches can be taken, but our research clearly shows that vendors will need to adjust to a world in which virtual delivery is much more prevalent than it was in January 2020.

Valuable Communication

The white paper shows that communication plans need to be more robust. There needs to be a thought process around why communicating with hospital providers is necessary; the purpose of the communication needs to be clear.

Before COVID-19, vendors sometimes communicated just to check a box. Our research clearly shows that value is expected more than ever behind communication and that expectations have increased. Communication that leads to improvement in hospitals will continue to be valued, and generic, check-the-box communication will become less valued and may even become damaging.

Financial Transition

Most vendors have given away some type of software or service for free. But eventually, those vendors will need to transition from emergency mode to business mode, in which they will need to once again get paid for their offerings.

We have learned that hospitals’ tolerance for long-term negotiations is low, so vendors will have to think very carefully about how to make that transition. The vendors that are having the most success have salespeople who can clearly describe needs versus niceties. That allows those vendors to ensure that their providers get exactly what they need to be successful without adding on unnecessary pieces that slow down the contract process.

Most vendors are holding off on charging for about six months, after which time they plan to talk to their customers about pricing. The vendors that will make the best transition will be the ones who put a time frame on it. The vendors that struggle the most will be those that wait for the emergency to end.

Other Changes

Before COVID-19, providers certainly were interested in telehealth, and based on conversations we have had with providers, in terms of going forward, telehealth will continue to be a top priority. But the pandemic has affected other things, such as mobile workforces and even the way people use AI, analytics, and infection control.

We are learning from providers that over the next six months, if vendors can’t tie a sell to a pain point related to COVID-19, they will have a hard time selling it. Telehealth security and virtual care are some areas where money will be spent.

Guidance and Training

With training and implementations being virtual, it has never been a better time to get good at training. Thankfully, the in-person factor is more of a nicety than a necessity. The principles behind good training are customization and planning.

We at KLAS have been preaching for years that having technology may not mean anything to customer success and patient lives.

Relationships matter more than technology all the time. Providers don’t want to work with somebody they don’t have a trusting relationship with. They expect to be given guidance; otherwise, they don’t want to waste their time. So the vendors that provide guidance are the ones that increase scores.

Rather than just getting your pipeline ready, focus on serving the pipeline.


     Photo Credit: Adobe Stock, Andrey Popov