Clinical EHR Users Validate Advanced Tech Support Improves Patient Care, Black Book Survey

4,446 nursing and physicians responding corroborate the quality of patient care improved with advanced clinical tech support services.

​​According to Black Book™  user results, health information system vendors not offering clinically-based EHR tech support either internally or through a competent outsourced technical support firm, experience far less opportunities to positively affect patient care by the use of technologies.  85% of clinicians responding assert their delivery of patient care services are continually impeded by subpar user tech support.

1,103 of the 4,446 respondents reported having worked in different facilities with different EHR systems to adequately compare healthcare delivery outcomes. 77% of nurses and 89% of physicians report their hospital loyalty was gained through excellent EHR end user experience by means of advanced  tech support.

Yet, 155 of the 180 chief financial officers and financial executives participating in the survey see their growing list of organizational challenges and limited resources too encumbered in 2018 to expend capital on additional EHR support despite the rising expectations of clinicians for help.

“Healthcare IT initiatives of any size or scope require strong user tech support,” said Doug Brown, Managing Partner of Black Book. “Clearly providers must leverage their IT investment to achieve intensifying clinical goals while gaining a competitive advantage to keep patients and physicians loyally coming back to your organization.”

70 of the 82 hospital chief medical offices surveyed asserted multi-level tech support from their health records vendor ranging from help desk through engineering interventions will be a leading competitive inpatient EHR differentiator in 2018. 49 of 82 CMOs were routinely discontented with the range of technical support extended to their nursing and physician employees.

Additionally, 80% of 1319 IT management and CIO respondents reported a steep increase in clinical grievances post EHR implementation for technical support across all levels and user categories especially physicians.

“Healthcare IT vendors may be raking in billions of dollars in profits from their offerings, but they are not inspiring much long term loyalty to hospitals from their clinical employees and physicians if they fail to provide adequate technical support for their products,” said Brown.

Of the 90 percent of hospitals that view high quality user support as a make or break feature in a vendor relationship, 53% say their tech support (both EHR firm provided and from HER tech support outsourcing partners) are currently falling short in their responsibilities to ultimately allow patient care improvements through well trained delivery personnel.

72% of hospital tech managers prefer that their EHR deliver direct, comprehensive tech support, not push the responsibility to third parties or on the hospital system itself as the only options. 82% of those clients employing third party outsourcing tech support are significantly dissatisfied with the level of response and the quality of their services in the twelve months following go-live.  “Clients could potentially be leveraging one vendor for their help desk services and another for their upgrade services and so on which can lead to an overall disparate support strategy,” said Brown.

Vendors that offer a one stop support shop for their health system EHR clients are achieving the highest satisfaction levels among clinicians, exceeding 93% approval ratings.

95% of respondents strongly prefer North American based first and second level incident resolution and technical support provider by experts knowledgeable in healthcare applications and industry best practices, whether EHR-centric or outsourced third parties.

77% of end users report their outsourced tech support experiences are not tailored to their organization lacking specific operating procedures and scripts, therefore minimizing employee and physician satisfaction.  “Customized levels of support to match the client’s organizational needs align clinical collaboration and innovation in ways that clients expect and appear to result in better and faster issue resolutions,” noted Brown.

The increasing complexity of healthcare technology has made it even harder for an in-house help desk team, especially in small and medium sized communities to have sufficient expertise to meet all of an organizations’ tech support needs.

88% of clinical leaders responding to the polls want to stay ahead of the health technology learning curve with a richer suite of tech support services for nursing personnel in particular.

“The path to increase nursing staff satisfaction with comprehensive application support is at the bedside to actually improve patient care,” said Brown.

Partial outsourcing of technology support continues increase with 20% of hospital respondents aiming to outsource at least half of their tech support needs. By year end 2017, 66% of hospitals over 100 beds expect to double their tech support outsourcing spend to meet the demands of clinical users with population health, EHR, interoperability and quality initiatives.

Overseas offshored tech support centers still scored the worst among healthcare providers on EHR, HIE, analytics and other applications. 96% of physician practices and 94% of hospitals overwhelmingly prefer US-based, American-English speaking representatives, basically unchanged from when first measured in 2012.

100% of both surveyed groups confirmed that negative offshore experiences from outsourced tech support firms (either partnered with or provided by their HIS vendor) have tarnished the users’ overall perception of the vendor’s brand and product lines. Poor English skills and a lack of understanding in America’s healthcare delivery systems both receive over 95% dissatisfaction ratings.

“Enterprise tech support is a highly complex and niche area in healthcare, where specialists can make a big difference in client loyalty by catering from Level 1 to Level 4 product support to ensure all the provider’s business goals are aligned with technology readiness,” said Brown.

Cerner was determined to be the only EHR/HIT offering comprehensive, full, four level technical support with established clients among the survey participants in Q2-Q3 2017.

“EHR and HIS vendors cannot afford bad customer experiences, and with new revenue responsibilities, tech support organizations can’t miss a beat to best serve established clients,” said Brown. “Unfortunately, many vendors leave tech support duties and quality to the users and third party outsourcers, yet it’s turned out to be one of 2018’s most critical components of client loyalty to their EHR/HIS.”

Vendors scoring highest among the four levels of technical support are Cerner, Allscripts, MEDITECH and McKesson. The majority (83%) of tech support for Epic clients were attributed to third party outsourcers and independent tech support firms working in Epic Systems client facilities.

Among third party healthcare IT tech support outsources and managed services support firms, Stoltenberg Consulting ranked a top the Black Book rankings. Merge (an IBM company), Hayes Management, CGS, Atos (formerly Anthelio), MD Tech Pro, CTG, Vocera, iMedia Technology, NTT DATA, Dynamic Edge, Zendesk, Happy Fox, TeamSupport, Hewlett Packard Enterprises, iSupport Help Desk Services,  Highpoint Solutions, Nuvodia, Apex Solutions, Galen Healthcare, and Blue Star also received qualifying client ballots.                        

About Black Book

 Black Book™, its founders, management and staff do not own or hold any financial interest in any of the vendors covered and encompassed in the surveys it conducts. Black Book reports the results of the collected satisfaction and client experience rankings in publication and to media prior to vendor notification of rating results and does not solicit vendor participation fees, review fees, inclusion or briefing charges, and/or vendor collaboration as Black Book polls vendors’ clients.

Black Book’s mission is to improve healthcare delivery by expanding the stakeholder's voice from the front line employee, IT and financial managers, clinical and nursing staff  through the C-Suite and Board, as well as healthcare consumers.

Since 2000, Black Book™ has polled the vendor satisfaction across over thirty industries in the software and services sectors around the globe. In 2009, Black Book began polling the client experience of over 590,000 current healthcare software and managed services users. Black Book expanded its survey prowess and reputation of independent, unbiased crowdsourced surveying to IT and health records professionals, physician practice administrators, nurses, financial leaders, executives and hospital information technology managers. Over 4,400 users participated in the 2017 polls of IT tech support client experience in a sweeping five month set of studies.

For methodology, auditing, resources, comprehensive research and ranking data see:

Source: Black Book Research