Integration is Key as Healthcare Providers Consider Replacing Legacy Systems

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New reports from KLAS highlight adoption trends among next-generation revenue management and laboratory solutions

Laboratory and patient accounting systems have been at the heart of hospital automation for more than 30 years. Today many chief executives and financial officers face difficult decisions around whether to replace these legacy systems with integrated and/or more advanced, feature-rich alternatives. Two new reports from market research firm KLAS provide a guide for helping healthcare executives evaluate those difficult choices.

Despite a challenging economy, the Laboratory Information Systems - Performance/Perception report from KLAS found that 17 percent of hospitals with 200 beds and up plan to replace their lab systems within the next two years. For most, the decision of which lab vendor to pursue is split between two camps: Deploy a feature-rich laboratory information system (LIS) to drive greater efficiency in the lab or go with an enterprise-wide solution that supports faster, easier integration with other clinical systems. In other words, is there an LIS that is so advanced that there is an obvious return on investment that supersedes the benefit from the integrated alternative?

The decision is similar when considering next-generation revenue management systems to replace aging patient accounting software. In the recently published report The New HIS Revenue Management - Is the Next Generation Patient Accounting Ready?, which evaluates many of the latest revenue management deployments and their associated return on investment, KLAS again found that advanced features versus enterprise integration was a primary decision driver.

"When evaluating revenue management solutions, healthcare providers are very interested in benefiting from advantages like integration and concurrent coding - advantages that are realized when the clinicals and financials are from the same vendor," said KLAS Chairman Kent Gale. "That's one reason why the early leaders in revenue management solutions are vendors that offer core clinical systems as well. There is also a huge bonus when the vendor solution covers both inpatient and ambulatory segments.

"The market for the latest lab products is very similar," he added. "In the KLAS LIS report, healthcare providers indicated that when choosing a solution, integration with a clinical information system or being tightly coupled by a sole source vendor is a decision driver 74 percent of the time. Further, nearly 70 percent of the 266 providers interviewed for the report felt that there is no best LIS, and that an LIS that is integrated or part of an enterprise solution is preferred."

Also supporting the integration-first mentality is the fact that cutting-edge LIS features seem to currently have little impact on adoption trends. For instance, today the majority of providers are not making use of advanced genetic- or molecular-testing capabilities, and most feel vendors have work to do to make those features more viable. Similarly, next-generation revenue management deployments have displaced some existing third-party bolt-on applications but still have room to improve in areas such as eligibility, medical necessity or credit history checking. To date, revenue management implementations have replaced existing bolt-on applications in only a small percent of deployments.

Among the vendors rated in each report, Epic Resolute Hospital Billing, an integrated solution, was the top-ranked revenue management product with a performance score of 86.8 out of 100, followed closely by QuadraMed Affinity Financials, a best-of-breed solution (86.0), and Meditech C/S Integrated Patient Accounting (75.5). For large hospitals with greater than 200 beds, Siemens Novius Lab was the top-rated laboratory information system (83.2), with Sunquest Lab placing a very close second (82.6) and McKesson Horizon Lab placing third (80.8). Among community hospitals, Orchard Harvest LIS took the top spot (91.5), followed by Antek LabDAQ (86.3) and Sunquest Lab (82.4).

To learn more about the latest revenue management and LIS solutions, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of participating vendors, two new reports, The New HIS Revenue Management - Is the Next Generation Patient Accounting Ready? and Laboratory Information Systems - Performance/Perception, are available to healthcare providers online for a significant discount off the standard retail price. To purchase the full reports, healthcare providers and vendors can visit http://www.KLASresearch.com.

About KLAS
KLAS is a research firm specializing in monitoring and reporting the performance of healthcare vendors. KLAS' mission is to improve delivery, by independently measuring vendor performance for the benefit of our healthcare provider partners, consultants, investors, and vendors. Working together with executives from over 4500 hospitals and over 2500 clinics, KLAS delivers timely reports, trends, and statistics, which provide a solid overview of vendor performance in the industry. KLAS measures performance of software, professional services, and medical equipment vendors. For more information, go to http://www.KLASresearch.com, email marketing @ KLASresearch.com, or call 1-800-920-4109 to speak with a KLAS representative.

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Shawn Dickerson
KLAS
801-734-6504
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