Quality EHR technical support/experience is the key to continued EHR loyalty, utilization, and overall customer satisfaction, according to recent Black Book survey of nearly 2,200 health It users. Conducted in Q4 2015, Black Book surveyed hospital and network physician based EHR software users, employing eighteen key performance indicators specific to comprehensive technical support experiences in Q4 2015. Managed tech support vendors evaluated included EHR and HIS vendors, EHR partnered consultants and IT firms, and independent outsourcing firms to determine variances in overall user satisfaction and the effects on long term vendor loyalty. Cerner was named the only EHR/HIT offering comprehensive, full, four level technical support with established clients
The survey reveals EHR firms not offering internally, or through a competent partnering IT support firm, an impressing customer technical support experiences stand to lose potential new customers, as well established clients. 82% of hospitals surveyed now insist comprehensive outsourced tech support from their EHR vendor will be a leading competitive differentiator in 2016, and a third of those are not presently pleased.
The usage of outsourced tech support centers is expanding quickly in the healthcare provider sector. 16% of hospital respondents outsource at least half of their tech support needs currently. By year end 2016, 35% of hospitals over 100 beds expect to increase their tech support outsourcing spend by 100%. Additionally, expertise and quality of tech support services offered are weighing heavily on users’ overall loyalty. 61% of hospital users prefer that their EHR provide direct, comprehensive tech support. 79% of those employing third party outsourcing tech support are significantly dissatisfied with their outsourcer’s level of response and the quality of their services.
Overseas offshored tech support centers scored the worst among healthcare providers on EHR, HIE, analytics and other applications. 97% of physicians practices and 93% of hospitals overwhelmingly prefer US-based, American-English speaking representatives. 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.
Black Book identified seven major trends in EHR technical support:
1. Cloud Applications
With the increasing amount of providers selecting cloud-based EHRs, a key issue will be how EHR vendors provide a differentiated support service experience that allows users to click from within the application to get immediate help.
2. Tech Support Communications via Video Chat
Hospitals are complex healthcare delivery organizations with multiple applications and skill levels operating the different segments of operations. Physician practice are demanding more live video support immediately, as well. Video chats boost client service by speeding processing like claims management and patient financial services, providing important value-adds to users.
3. Growth of high-accountability support model
Most EHR and HIS tech support centers, both provided directly by vendors and by outsourcers, organize around traditional escalation support models, which includes issue passing between tiers and areas of expertise. But in 2016 and beyond, more tech centers will have to employ a high-accountability or ownership model for more efficient resource utilization. The majority of EHRs are not set up for this passing the parts or the whole process to partner and third party tech support firms. With a high-accountability model, individual support personnel take ownership of the customer experience directly.
4. Social media is an important channel of tech support communication.
Patients and staff, alike, are increasingly venting complaints on their poor tech support experiences on social media. 69% of EHR/HIT users do not believe their vendors or tech support outsourcers monitor these channels frequently or effectively enough to respond to issues and deflect them.
5. Predictive Analytics need Support
Making sense of healthcare Big Data is persisting and related technical support needs are on the table waiting to be addressed by EHRs.
6. Support Service Transparency grows
An increasing number of EHR and HIS vendors are giving customers controlled access to support-related tools and information. Mobility will lead the way, giving health IT users more seamless and transparent interactions, which will ultimately give them instant access to data on their relations with EHR, HIE and, Population Health application vendors.
7. Shift in Channels of Tech Support Communication
2016 is seeing huge leaps in self-help, mobile and web along with a continued focus on voice for difficult provider application issues, especially engineering and analytics support. Vendors scoring highest among the four levels of technical support are Cerner, Allscripts, MEDITECH and McKesson.