With no shortage of firms angling to help them get their IT projects off the ground, providers have their work cut out for them deciding who to choose. A new report from KLAS sorts out the specific strengths and weaknesses of some of the most prominent healthcare consultancies.
From business solutions to enterprise implementations, staffing to go-live, KLAS names the best (and some less best) companies to help hospitals and practices make the most of their technology investments.
When it comes to helping implement business solutions, Deloitte is tops, according to the report. For installs of non-clinical systems – analytics, enterprise resource planning tools, HR/payroll – Deloitte offers "experienced consultants who give tailored recommendations for large and complex" projects.
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That's not to discount PwC, whose "reliable methodology and effective resource delivery simplify the implementation process," according to the report, which also noted that Conduent customers appreciate its "flexible negotiations and proactive communication." But researchers also spoke to some Infor clients who said they found its consultants sometimes "have limited expertise, offer little guidance, and mismanage resources."
Enterprise IT implementations require great leadership, and KLAS points to a handful of different consultants whose assistance could make the difference between smooth-sailing success and expensive slip-ups. For this area, the report spoke highly of Impact Advisors (lauded for a holistic approach, with best practice suggestions tailored to providers’ specific needs) and Optimum Healthcare IT ("strategic expertise driven by engaged executives and effective training from knowledgeable consultants").
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Meanwhile, Deloitte and Accenture clients are able to tap those firms "vast number of resources" big IT implementations. KLAS also looked specifically at Epic ("drives customer satisfaction by establishing partner relationships and developing custom training plans") and Cerner clients, which it found are "least satisfied and say they receive little formal training and unqualified consultants."
As for staffing and support, a trio of firms get high marks from KLAS for "consistently exceeding expectations." It cites 314e, Galen Healthcare Solutions and Optimum for delivering high value and quality resources to customers. Various strengths include flexible negotiations (314e), a willingness to proactively offer more assistance than initially requested (Galen) and taking time to carefully evaluate the specifics of each provider's implementation steps early on (Optimum).
On the other hand, the report notes that Cerner and Sagacious are less consistent in this area. The former has improved its score over the past year, but some customers said they've had to replace consultants, leading to delays. Some Sagacious clients said they're concerned that the company is "more sales focused than customer-centric" since being acquired by Accenture in 2015.
To help prevent go-lives from going wrong, providers could turn to Optimum, the HCI Group and CSI Healthcare IT to help, especially for large-scale projects, said KLAS. Each offers "a vast number of resources" for big health systems, according to the report.
"While KLAS has validated only Epic go-live support for Optimum and CSI, HCI has been validated for Epic, Cerner, Allscripts, and McKesson. All three firms partner with clients and provide close contact with executives," researchers wrote.
Divurgent and Sagacious clients, meanwhile, saw lower client ratings. The former was generally well-received but some respondents noted "challenges with unfulfilled promises." The latter had some clients (again wary of the Accenture acquisition) concerned about consultant quality and the flexibility of contract negotiations.
Underscoring just how much variety there is in health technology project, and just how many outfits are there to offer help, KLAS notes that, while Optimum Healthcare IT leads its overall assessment, and while Leidos Health has the widest breadth of experience, plenty of other companies do well servicing specific areas and working with specific vendors.
"The HCI Group, Healthcare IT Leaders, Jacobus, and Nordic offer services in all implementation areas," according to the report. "Optimum, CSI, and Nordic have the most validations for Epic implementations. Cerner, Pursuit, and Leidos implement Cerner most. Santa Rosa, NHA, Leidos, and Jacobus have the most experience with MEDITECH."
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