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Healthcare Providers Seek Help With 'Meaningful Use'

A majority of healthcare providers expect to hire a professional services firm to support achieving "Meaningful Use" and to help dive physician adoption of core clinical systems.

Nearly 70 percent of healthcare providers expect to hire a professional services firm to help with the demands of achieving Meaningful Use, according to a new report from Orem, Utah-based KLAS entitled, "Shifting Demand for Consultants: Who's Hot, Who's Not, and Why."

While 70 percent was the average among all types of organizations, integrated delivery networks (IDNs) stood out in their need for help, with 90 percent saying they are looking to work with outside consultants.

The report also found that providers are no longer looking for massive teams to descend upon their organizations for large implementation projects, as many have already worked through that challenge.

"What we're finding is most hospitals over 200 beds have either implemented, or are implementing, an acute care EMR system - the question is what stage of adoption they are in," says report author and KLAS General Manager of Financial and Services Research Mike Smith. "Certainly, back two or three years ago, there were a lot of net new EMR implementations which required some heavy lifting, where providers asked consultants to play a leadership role. What we're seeing now is a little bit of a shift because there are not as many of these net new implementations."

Smith says that now providers are selectively bringing in only the people they need to get the job at hand done. "Sometimes they are only bringing in one or two very smart people who are playing a supportive role. In addition to that, we're still seeing there are a lot of questions around Meaningful Use."

He says one of the core areas providers are looking for assistance is in driving physician adoption of core clinical systems. "That work seems to be in high demand, and a lot of providers are looking to get third parties to come in and help," Smith adds.

In what may be good news for those shoppers, there are more choices than ever before. In 2007, KLAS reports, just five firms enjoyed significant provider mindshare, while today 13 do. Accenture, ACS, CTG, FCG (now CSC) and IBM now share the stage with Vitalize, Dell Perot, maxIT and many others, as intellectual capital has been spread out as key people have left the top firms, the organization states.

The KLAS report details which consulting firms are being considered the most by providers who are looking to hire outside help. Topping that list is CSC, which has moved from near the bottom of provider mindshare in 2007 to the top in 2010, and is today considered in 17 percent of deals. Vitalize is second on the list, being considered in 12 percent of purchase decisions, followed by Dell Perot at 9 percent. Other firms highlighted in the KLAS report include Accenture, ACS, Beacon Partners, Dearborn Advisors, Deloitte, IBM, maxIT Healthcare, and Navin, Haffty & Associates (NHA).

Another factor that is driving demand for experienced consultants is the migration of Meditech clients to the company's version 6.0 platform, states KLAS. As Meditech tries to move more than 1,500 U.S. hospitals to v.6 and advanced clinical features like CPOE, firms like Beacon Partners, Dell Perot and especially NHA, are seeing much more demand for their services than three years ago, thanks to their experience with Meditech, the report finds.

Anthony Guerra is the founder and editor of, a site dedicated to serving the strategic information needs of healthcare CIOs. He can be reached at

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