- Health technology giants Epic Systems and Cerner Corporation haven’t been able to displace any of the niche vendors in the interactive patient systems (IPS) technology sector, according to a recent KLAS report obtained via email.
IPS are a growing segment of health IT. IPS are essentially TV screens deployed primarily in hospitals, but can also appear in other in-patient settings.
These screens display general information for patient education, facility information, and other interactive prompts meant to better engage patients in their care. These tools can also be deployed at the patient bedside to entertain patients.
In the report, “Interactive Patient Systems 2017: Turning Interactivity into Outcomes,” KLAS found that although hospital leaders were primarily satisfied with their Epic Systems IPS, the vendor could not displace more niche IPS providers from their top spots.
“In other market segments, providers have historically fled best-of-breed vendors for hospital solutions that fully integrate with their core EMR,” the survey administrators said. “So far, IPS seems to be the exception as Cerner and Epic EMR customers have declined to leave their best-of-breed IPS solution in favor of the IPS solution from their EMR vendor.”
The limited number of Epic IPS users rate the system high on satisfaction and outcomes, essentially on par with the top-ranked TVR Communications. However, 40 percent of hospitals deploying Epic Systems for their EHR and patient portal needs have no plans to integrate the Epic IPS into their suites.
Cerner fared somewhat worse than Epic did on overall user satisfaction. As the only vendor to score lower than 80 points (out of 100), Cerner has some of the lowest scores for tangible outcomes and overall satisfaction.
Sixty-two percent of Cerner suite users have no plans of switching to the Cerner IPS. However, KLAS made no suggestion either way about low satisfaction scores influencing this finding. Instead, the survey showed that lacking system maturity is keeping Cerner from full market growth.
“Cerner EMR customers say integration gives CareAware MyStation some cost advantages, but nearly two-thirds say the product’s maturity and functionality do not yet justify migrating,” KLAS researchers wrote.
More targeted or niche IPS vendors are leaving users happier, the report showed. TVR Communications is one of the top-rated IPS providers, alongside GetWellNetwork, SONIFI Health, TeleHealth Services, and Allen Technologies.
In the case of GetWellNetwork and SONIFI Health, some users reported slight disappointment, likely caused by the many promised functions within the systems that can potentially fall short of expectations.
Hospital leaders noted some usability issues with TeleHealth Services and Allen Technologies, KLAS pointed out.
On the whole, respondents said all IPS technologies need better EHR integration, ease of use, and functionality. These limited advanced capabilities will hinder IPS tools from further integrating into the healthcare and patient engagement technology market.
As IPS tools continue their drive in the healthcare technology market, they may prove themselves the new frontier of patient engagement. These tools have the potential to drive interpersonal relationships in the digital health age, said Sophia Wang, MD, Dan Blazer, MD, PhD, and Helen Hoenig, MD, MPH.
“Electronic technology has the potential to increase opportunities for communication and education, with technology ranging from simple home messaging devices that query patients periodically… to sensor-based systems to sophisticated interactive systems,” the authors said in a Physician Medicine and Rehabilitation op-ed.
“Interactive patient educational systems are another example, having been shown to improve outcomes for diverse medical populations, and they seem promising for use in rehabilitation, given the central role of patient education in many rehabilitation interventions,” Wang, Blazer, and Hoenig explained.
As health technology continues to assert its dominance in the healthcare industry, it will be important for hospitals and other providers to identify strategies to allow personalization to flourish. IPS tools may be part of the solution in the digital age should they integrate the usability fixes end-users have pointed out.