The Future of Healthcare Tech Support, Black Book Research Releases 2020 Outlook

“Healthcare software support is on the cusp of change, and as healthcare technologies evolve and improve, they are reshaping the very nature of what client services and tech support are,” said Doug Brown, president of Black Book Research. According to the recent State of Healthcare Tech Support annual user survey results, providers and payers are experiencing the early stages of a bigger transformation of how software vendors are advancing the role of tech support.

As provider software support continues to change and evolve, it also continues to be as elusive as ever. Eighty-four percent of non-IT workers are fed up with poor technical service and basic software account support from current EHR and HIT vendors. 

Black Book Research surveyed 2,448 EHR and HIT clients between March and November 2019.

“In this client-centric economy, differentiating your HIT products just don’t cut it anymore,” said Brown. “Adding real value through proven, forward-thinking customer service will guarantee vendor success as opposed to selling flashy bells and whistles to hide past issues.”

Ninety percent of CIOs respondents asserted multi-level tech support from their main health information technology vendors, ranging from help desk through complex engineering interventions, will be a leading competitive differentiator through the coming five years.

Although 93 percent of senior IT respondents state they aren’t seeking a system replacement in the coming year, 90 percent will not buy more from their vendors if they have competitors that offer a better experience from approaching technology acquisitions. 

Ninety-five percent of provider IT leaders revealed they will only buy from vendors they trust based on past service performance, including quality tech support, as they vet add-on purchases in 2020-2021.

Of the 88 percent of hospital respondents that view high-quality user support as a make or break feature in a vendor relationship, 66 percent say their tech support (both EHR firm provided and from EHR tech support outsourcing partners) are currently falling short in their responsibilities to ultimately allow patient care improvements through well-trained delivery personnel.

Despite the complications and cost of replacing EHRs and major IT systems in healthcare organizations, 80 percent of IT leaders believe it is easier than ever to take their business elsewhere as compared to five years ago.

Fifty-three percent of respondents state they would be willing to pay more for a greater technology support experience from their vendors if it leads to better clinician productivity via healthcare delivery and enhances healthcare consumer experiences, ultimately leading to an improved bottom line.

The most innovative healthcare software vendors are rethinking technical support including a client support strategy that includes a range of support concepts and features, according to Black Book’s analysis.

"IT support is becoming much more customer-facing but also much more robotic," said Brown. "The power of automation and the rise of the patient experience are disrupting a long idling tech support sector as the most competitive vendors restate relevance in the client services space."

Leading technical support services are acting as solutions centers for each client’s unique needs through a full customer-focused approach which lead to tangible benefits to the EHR and HIT suppliers by:

1.)    Increasing Client Retention. Fast, reliable technical support directly increases client satisfaction and ongoing loyalty. Ninety-seven percent of respondents confirmed that the effectiveness and efficiency of a vendor's current technical support on owned products will positively or negatively influence their decision-making on additional purchases from that vendor.

2.)    Increasing Profits. Better managed workloads, the competence of engineers and minimizing downtime all improve vendor reputation and interest of clients to buy more from the vendor in direct relation to the level of technical support, according to 82 percent of survey respondents.

“EHR companies who invest most in their technical support engineers via formal support training and technical education understand these are parts of their overall client service strategy”, said Brown. “This ensures they are ahead of the curve and can provide client partners a more effective service no matter the technology issues.”

Ninety-two percent of respondents agree that well-rounded technical support teams are also forward-looking and invest in current technology to offer solutions that gap between present and future to ensure support remains consistent.

Eighty-two percent 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 option. Eighty-one percent 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 12 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.

"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," said Brown.

EHR Tech Support Client Satisfaction Vendor 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.

Cerner rated top EHR vendor across all four levels of comprehensive hospital technology support services for the fourth consecutive year. 

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

Source: Black Book Research