The vendor-research company KLAS is perhaps best known for its market reports, which compare the performance of multiple vendors in a single product category. Recently, however, the company has introduced a new approach to its reports that is reflective of the growing need to evaluate emerging technologies prior to widespread adoption and competition. Ben Brown, imaging and medical-equipment researcher at KLAS, says, “There has to be enough adoption across multiple similar products for us to talk to enough people to compare them, so we started to look at how we could have an impact on the earlier end of the bell curve (and help providers sooner) by getting insights that are still relevant and unbiased.”
The KLAS provider advisory board approved the idea of evaluating individual products, as long as the company’s researchers could ensure the same unbiased and transparent reporting. “They said they would love to get their hands on information about tools that would help them increase quality, improve patient care, and cut costs,” Brown says. “We think these reports may help as much as 60% to 70% of the market because they will allow people to hear from early adopters.”
Conducting the Report
The first such report to be issued by KLAS looks at early adopters’ experiences with the InteleOne® platform from Intelerad Medical Systems. InteleOne is a distributed-radiology solution that streamlines workflows from multiple systems under a common worklist and viewer. Brown and his team targeted users who could provide valuable feedback because their implementations were sufficiently mature. “We talked to users at sites that were more than three months old and out of the honeymoon phase,” he says. In the end, the KLAS team conducted 22 interviews with users at 13 sites.
“We talked with at least one person at each site, and in most cases, two,” Brown says. “We did a significant number of interviews to get feedback from multiple perspectives—those of executives, end-user radiologists, IT staff, and superusers. We identified a broad continuum of people to interview.”
Those interviewed were asked about an array of topics, including interoperability, the benefits and challenges of the solution, return on investment (ROI), and more. “We asked about the impact it had on radiology groups’ ability to garner new business, and we also asked questions about the impact it had on their relationships with their customers, the hospitals or clinics they contract with,” Brown says. “A lot of these radiologists read off 10 different PACS, so we asked what their favorite system to read from was. We also asked about future plans for leveraging the platform.”
Certain topics, such as interoperability, were rated on a nine-point scale, while more open-ended feedback was quantified into percentages, where possible—for instance, Brown says, when asked about ROI, 70% of those interviewed responded that they had had either good or excellent ROI for the InteleOne system. “From a quantitative standpoint, the scores were high,” he notes.
Brown says that the results of the report were extremely positive. When asked to enumerate the benefits that they had seen as a result of using the InteleOne system, customers overwhelmingly noted that the product had improved their groups’ efficiency: “You take multiple systems and bundle them into a single enterprise worklist, and not only does that add to efficiency, but it also gives the radiologists a single platform to learn and use,” Brown says. “If physicians have a tool that is easy to use and that increases their productivity, that improves their efficiency.”
To illustrate the point, Brown offers an example of an InteleOne customer’s statement obtained by KLAS. The provider says that the practice’s radiologists rotate work locations, but with InteleOne they only have to use one viewer and one tool set. Report-turnaround times have decreased, according to the provider’s facilities, many of which are small and are unable to afford a full-time radiologist. For this reason, the provider adds, it is a big advantage to have subspecialty interpretations included in the workflow.
Interoperability was another key benefit cited by the customers interviewed, and the report validates more than a dozen different vendors in the RIS, PACS, electronic medical record, and hospital information system categories with which, in customers’ experiences, the InteleOne system has interfaced seamlessly. “When