KLAS weighs different strengths of EHR optimization services

Electronic health records are now nearly ubiquitous – and dissatisfaction with their UX and usability is arguably almost as widespread.

But an array of consultants and other firms and clinical optimization services offer health systems assistance with customization and training, to boost the performance of their EHRs. In its most recent report, KLAS assesses the field.

In exploring the various strengths of the firms – Atos; Chartis Group; Impact Advisors; Navin, Haffty & Associates; and Nordic – KLAS looked at how they help with three specific areas:

  • Workflow refinement, which it defines as help with redesigning clinical processes to boost efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Application enhancement: adjusting interfaces and controls on the screen to supposed better workflows
  • Clinician training, to help EHR end-users to get the most out of their daily experience with the technology as they deliver care.

“Provider organizations often turn to clinical optimization firms when they lack sufficient resources or expertise internally to meet their goals in the desired time frame,” KLAS explained – often when new systems are rolled out, upgraded or standardized on a single platform. “Many organizations use different firms for different levers.”

Done right, these clinical improvement initiatives can have big ROI, as researchers point out, using data from the KLAS Arch Collaborative that finds health systems boosting user satisfaction with initiatives such hiring more informatics staff, overhauling their training programs, upgrading their EHR and investing in “superusers” to help their clinical colleagues.

When it comes to workflow refinement, KLAS calls it the “foundation of clinical optimization,” and said Chartis Group, Impact Advisors and Nordic lead the pack – while Atos and NHA are primarily tapped to help, respectively, with clinician training and application enhancement.

Respondents to KLAS’ poll had good things to say about all firms, but researchers said Chartis Group was rated highest. “Clients say the firm’s seasoned staff and Epic expertise were key to success, and they also express appreciation for consultants’ strategic help, which took the form of candid advice, best practices, and creative problem-solving.”

With regard to application enhancement, KLAS noted that NHA is the only firm in report whose interviewed clients – often small hospitals seeking help with ancillary tech deployments – used it primarily for that purpose. Nordic clients also rely on its expertise for app enhancement.

“Compared to other firms, Impact Advisors received the most praise around engagement execution, often for bringing to bear proven methodologies that delivered fast results,” said KLAS researchers, noting that the technical demands of application enhancement “structure and discipline for successful execution.”

And as for clinician training, assessment is hard because its very nature “yields the least quantifiable outcomes,” researchers said.

That said, “by a solid margin, Atos had the highest percentage of interviewed clients use them for clinician training,” according to the report. The firm, formerly known as The Breakaway Group, offers “clinical optimization services focused primarily on clinician training, including curriculum development and delivery (via several modalities).”

KLAS noted that respondents “especially praise the effectiveness of Atos’ simulation software, which mimics the client’s EMR environment for educational purposes. The long-term usefulness of Atos’ tools contributes to their leading money’s worth rating.”

Researchers also note that, according to Arch Collaborative data, “clinicians who report having good training are much more likely to be satisfied” with their overall EHR experience.

Access the full report here.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: [email protected]

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