PatientEngagementHIT

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Few Leaders Emerge in Broad Patient Engagement Technology Market

A new KLAS report revealed few definitive leaders in the patient engagement technology market, but rather numerous vendors that show promise.

patient engagement technology

Source: Thinkstock

By Sara Heath

- As the search for effective patient engagement technologies continues, providers are looking for a broad set of solutions, according to the 2019 Patient Engagement report from KLAS Research.

Although the report noted that organizations are looking into a plethora of patient engagement solutions – 74 different organizations named 109 different health IT vendors that are under consideration for use – only a few emerge as industry leaders.

Press Ganey, CipherHealth, and GetWellNetwork each stood out as key patient engagement technology vendors amidst a wide field of different solutions. Each of these tools also received nods in the 2019 Best in KLAS rankings released in January, 2019.

CipherHealth and GetWellNetwork specifically stand out because of their growing suite of different patient engagement tools.

In contrast, Press Ganey has distinguished itself in the niche patient satisfaction market. Numerous organizations use Press Ganey surveys to understand care quality and the patient experience. Additionally, the vendor has long been a CAHPS survey vendor.

Outside of these three technology companies, market leadership remained more ambiguous, the KLAS report found. For example, although respondents predicted a trend toward consumer-facing engagement tools, Apple’s health suite was the only technology to emerge as an industry leader.

As far as patient portals go, the traditional market giants led the way again. Epic Systems, athenaHealth, and Cerner Corporation each received top marks for patient portal technology, likely because these tools come as a part of most organization’s enterprise health IT suites.

“Providers have long preferred clinical solutions from their primary EMR vendors,” the KLAS researchers wrote. “This is no less true with patient engagement, though EMR vendors are not always seen as groundbreaking innovators. Their patient portals are near omnipresent, but usability and functionality vary widely.”

Epic stood out as the leading engagement tool, scoring a 92 out of 100 for its overall patient portal score. athenaHealth received an 84.8 and Cerner a 77.2.

These technologies likewise received top marks in the 2019 Best in KLAS report.

Although the KLAS report outlined industry leaders in the patient portal space, it also acknowledged some portal deficiencies and the “homegrown” tools that are supplementing it.

“If ‘homegrown’ were a vendor, it would be the most considered,” the report noted.

Healthcare organizations are finding that their patient portals and engagement suites are not necessarily up to par or meeting all of their patient engagement needs. For example, although most portals include a patient self-scheduling tool, many organizations are adopting their own appointment scheduling tools.

Open responses about homegrown tools outline a plethora of provider priorities. For example, some organizations are developing technologies to support needs unique to the organization’s population or to address the social determinants of health.

Other organizations are simply building tools to fill areas where they believe the portal is insufficient. For organizations deploying homegrown appointment scheduling software, many are trying to dodge the often cumbersome patient portal login requirements that many providers say deter patients from the technology.

These types of tools are key for enhancing the patient experience of care, the KLAS report added. Although organizations are still focused on CAHPS scores, they are also concerned with the patient experience in real-time. There are numerous emerging vendors in this space.

To enhance real-time patient experience, organizations are turning to self-scheduling technology, care coordination tools that streamline follow-up appointments, and technologies driving patient education for before, during, and after care encounters.

The patient engagement technology decision process has been shaped by a multitiered view of the patient experience. Specifically, patient engagement must be patient-centric, personalized, connected, simple, timely, continuous, and measured.

To do this, organizations are focusing on tools that aid patient care access, patient-provider partnerships, and patient navigation and self-management.

As organizations move toward these goals, an overall industry shift toward patient-centricity will be necessary, the KLAS report noted. This will push vendors to make more effective patient-centered tools and drive more meaningful patient adoption.

“During interviews, providers said vendors have more work to do in terms of making technology easier to use, more effective, and more innovative, but providers also admitted that they will be directly responsible for the lion’s share of progress,” the report concluded. “The most significant efforts to be made involve cultural change around how patients are treated; healthcare organizations should treat patients like valued consumers in control of their health-and-wellness destiny.”

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