KLAS: Quality of Health IT Implementation Key for Clinician Satisfaction

Healthcare organizations must focus on improving health IT implementation through effective end-user training to support clinician satisfaction.

The quality of a health IT implementation may be more important for clinician satisfaction than the technology selected, according to a KLAS white paper based on data gathered from 2018 to 2022.

The report primarily focuses on solutions that require large-scale implementations, such as acute care EHRs, ERP solutions, patient accounting systems, and PACS solutions.

In 2022, 81 percent of Best in KLAS winners were also the highest rated in their market segment for quality of implementation. In market segments that require enterprise-scale deployments, that number was 100 percent.

Additionally, interviewed customers were unlikely to report high satisfaction without an implementation rating of at least 7 out of 9. On the other hand, 85 percent of customers satisfied with the results report a good implementation.

About half of the interviewed individuals reported that their implementation needed improvement. Boosting the customer experience is difficult after a poor initial implementation—among organizations with poor implementation and low satisfaction, 76 percent continue to struggle years post-implementation.

The authors noted that health IT vendors and healthcare organizations have a role in driving effective implementations.

Vendors are particularly responsible for setting proper expectations around the time and resources needed for robust implementation, including resources dedicated to governance, change management, training, testing, project management, and communication.

Additionally, vendor sales teams should accurately promote product functionality and ensure customers understand what they will get from their solution. KLAS data shows that 85 percent of clients experience a good implementation when the vendor establishes proper expectations up front by promoting the product accurately.

Healthcare organizations should promote a safe environment to raise issues without concern for political ramifications, a common barrier to catching and resolving problems early.

KLAS recommended the following best practices to help ensure successful health IT implementation.

  • Implementation planning begins in the sales process: Set realistic timelines and clear expectations. Vendors need to be honest about what the healthcare organization will need to do to support the implementation. All stakeholders should consider the data conversion and number of integrations necessary.  
  • Consider risk-based contracting: Budget issues are usually a result of delayed projects and the additional time and resources needed to move forward. Consider risk-based contracts and assume unexpected delays, the report authors suggested.
  • Over-invest in the right resources: Properly vet external resources and ensure they have experience with the product, if possible. Backfill roles to allow internal resources to dedicate time and attention to the implementation for better post-go-live support.
  • Utilize governance structures: Clearly define governance ownership from the beginning with clear roles and duties.
  • Don’t skimp on change management: Health IT vendors and consultants should have the right expertise to make strong recommendations for change management, and organizational executives should own the execution.
  • Create a communication plan: All stakeholders should understand who is doing what and why.
  • Ensure stakeholders are aligned: Make sure the healthcare organization, software vendor, and (if applicable) services firm work closely together. Every leader needs to be at the table and completely understand the project status. Leaders should ask questions and demand transparency.
  • Invest in Training: Training is closely related to end-user satisfaction and adoption. Various types of training can be effective as long as trainers know the workflows of those they are training. Define who is responsible for developing and delivering training content early on. The report noted that efforts to provide quality training upfront will likely yield better user satisfaction and efficiency.

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