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KLAS Report Weighs Clinical Decision Support Costs, Health IT Benefits

High costs and outdated interfaces among clinical decision support market share leaders led some customers to choose other health IT solutions.

Wolters Kluwer is a market share leader for clinical decision support (CDS) solutions, but a high price tag and outdated user interface is bringing some customers to explore other health IT options, according to a new KLAS report.

Healthcare organizations usually leverage multiple CDS systems for various use cases, but COVID-19 cost pressures and the desire to standardize care have led organizations to reevaluate their CDS strategy, the KLAS authors noted.

Wolters Kluwer

While market share leader Wolters Kluwer is well-loved by physicians, healthcare organizations noted that Wolters Kluwer is by far the most expensive CDS solution compared to other health IT vendors. Organizations reported leaving Wolters Kluwer due to a lack of affordability, and some prospective customers noted that they did not select Wolters Kluwer due to cost concerns.

Additionally, Wolters Kluwer customers called for a more up-to-date user interface and greater visibility into where the CDS content comes from and how reliable it is.   

Respondents said Wolters Kluwer typically offers help when issues arise, but a few customers said the vendor reaches out only when it is time to renew a contract.

The solution earned a score of 88.7 out of 100.

EBSCO Information Services

Many EBSCO Information Services customers applauded the database for its value, reporting as much depth and specificity in the database as competitors’ at a fraction of the cost. A recent update to the health IT has made the solution easier for customers to use. Content is delivered across different job roles uniformly, which helps to ensure proper care coordination.  

Many customers said that they would choose EBSCO’s software over other CDS tools if they had to consolidate their reference systems. Some organizations have switched from Wolters Kluwer to make EBSCO their enterprise solution, although a few have returned to Wolters Kluwer due to lack of EBSCO adoption.

Customers of EBSCO Information Services reported a personable, collaborative, reliable, and responsive support team experience. Respondents also noted EBSCO Information Services’ ability to smoothly implement updated content in their database as a plus.

KLAS gave EBSCO Information Services a 93.7 overall score out of 100.

IBM Watson Health

Most IBM Watson Health customers do not have issues with the product and view it as very capable. However, a few share that the support team is unresponsive and difficult to work with when there are issues. Some feel that the vendor’s large size siloes their support team and makes it difficult to find the appropriate people for customer service or tech support.

Pharmacists often find value in the IBM solution, as the database contains general and specific drug knowledge, such as content around off-label drug use.

However, some customers said they are hesitant to recommend the vendor because of support issues and slow delivery of new content.

IBM Watson Health earned an 86.2 out of 100 score overall.

DynaMed and Micromedex with Watson

A new collaboration between EBSCO Information Services and IBM Watson Health to create the DynaMed and Micromedex with Watson database has seen early success. The product is considered easy to use, and 100 percent of early customers would buy the product again because of its wide content and simplified search capability.

Customers reported confusion about which of the two owner vendors to contact for technical problems. However, most respondents said their problems eventually get resolved no matter which vendor they work with.

KLAS rated the solution an 89.9 out of 100, although the report authors noted that this score is based on limited data.


Customers of Elsevier noted the vendor’s vast database, which includes images and videos, as a major CDS benefit. However, respondents reported mixed feedback on the Elsevier search engine. For some, the engine’s limited search functionality hinders the solution’s point of care value.

Elsevier’s latest enhancement, which is not yet validated by KLAS, intends to address this issue. Another factor impacting the perception of value is the high cost of the health IT, the report found.

Some Elsevier customers also noted that system updates can happen at inconvenient times and called for the vendor to be more transparent when notifying customers about update schedules.

Elsevier customers report mixed reviews regarding working with the vendor. Some noted a lack of follow-through and mentioned the vendor is slow to resolve problems, while others said they have regular meetings with Elsevier and view them as very engaged.

KLAS reported that Elsevier scored an 86.6 out of 100 overall.

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