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Limited EHR integration impacts use of clinical communication tools

Interviewed customers of clinical communication vendors PerfectServe, TigerConnect, and Baxter reported the highest levels of EHR integration in a new KLAS report.

Adopters of interoperability solutions for clinical communications report various levels of EHR integration, even among the most deeply engaged clients, according to a KLAS report.

Most respondents indicated at least one key interoperability challenge with their communications tools that especially affects their use cases and outcomes.

Some deep adopters across almost all vendors report that connectivity progress has outpaced their ability to use the information impactfully. These organizations said that massive change management is required to train end-users and broadly deploy integrated communication tools.

Additionally, the report found that alarm management is an especially big barrier for organizations that are interfacing with patient monitoring and other nurse-based workflow solutions.

However, a few deep adopters are pushing forward and achieving broad enterprise connectivity. These clients frequently mentioned the value of a strong vendor partnership.

Deep adopters often see immediate outcomes upon implementation due to the improved responsiveness of providers.

However, the report indicated that to continue driving more significant outcomes, organizations must keep building integrations and expand access to a broader range of team members.  

While many customers reported making fewer connections than they had initially hoped, they plan to continue to expand interoperability to pursue their outcomes goals.

TigerConnect customers value ease of adoption

Many provider organizations are prioritizing improved emergency response time and improved response time to patient needs. While vendors are driving these outcomes across the board, TigerConnect showed the most consistency in helping clients achieve desired outcomes.

Clients said their key outcome is efficient communication with the broader care team for providers. They also mentioned easy implementation for both patient and physician communications.

Customers also highlighted Baxter, PerfectServe (their native solution and Telmediq), and Vocera for their ability to integrate with third-party solutions for improved communication efficiencies. However, many customers reported wanting to integrate more alerts, and many said they want guidance around appropriately overseeing alert volume.

Interviewed symplr clients mentioned alert fatigue and also reported less confidence in the tool's ability to enhance efficient communication. They cited two factors: insufficient EHR connections and not rolling out the tool broadly enough to track patients effectively.

PerfectServe Telmediq supports third-party connectivity

PerfectServe Telmediq customers noted being able to make more third-party API connections due to the vendor's ability to develop meaningful connections without high costs.

Other vendors have seen increased adoption of connections through proprietary tools, such as Baxter's and Vocera's middleware offerings and PerfectServe's Lightning Bolt Scheduling offering.

Symplr and TigerConnect respondents said their vendor's pricing model has historically been a barrier to increased connections. Symplr includes an integrated scheduling tool, but several deep adopters have yet to leverage or optimize their use of the solution.

symplr, PerfectServe Telmediq & Vocera often not embedded in EHR

Clinicians want messages from clinical communications tools to be integrated with the EHR to streamline workflows. PerfectServe, TigerConnect, and Baxter respondents most consistently reported the use of communication tools within the EHR.

Interviewed symplr customers said the vendor has improved their alerts/alarms but could improve EHR integration capabilities. Vocera and PerfectServe Telmediq respondents reported integrated workflows, but some were not aware of the capability.

In addition to EHR integration, respondents also prioritize messages getting to the right clinician. Scheduling is critical to streamlining that process. Interviewed PerfectServe deep adopters often use Lightning Bolt, the vendor's Dynamic Intelligent Routing technology, or an interfaced third-party scheduling tool to connect with the correct care team member.

Baxter respondents reported that the vendor gets messages to the right users through end-user training investments and utilizing nurses for quick corrections.

No vendor consistently connects across all use cases

Many interviewed deep adopters purchased their tools for a specific communication workflow rather than as a comprehensive communication platform. Therefore, few respondents have broadly connected their vendor's solutions to maximize use cases.

However, companies have varying strengths that support more optimized connections. For instance, PerfectServe and TigerConnect offer proprietary scheduling platforms. As a result, many of their responding customers reported fewer barriers to integration.

Baxter and Vocera have proprietary middleware solutions, so nurse workflow technology is often a key component of customer contracts. Respondents also reported that Vocera's badges are a cost-efficient way to connect with dietary teams.

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