Healthcare CIOs See Superior Tech Support As A Must-Have

For many healthcare organizations, software vendor tech support is a necessary evil. Sure, some readers of this site may have a great working relationship with their vendors’ tech support department, too many others are usually on the verge of collapse.

This lack of support is freaking out front-line users. In fact, according to a newly-released survey conducted by Black Book Research, 84% of non-IT workers have had it with what they see as lousy technical service and basic software account support from their current EHR and HIT vendors.

I’m not surprised by this statistic. While the reasons may vary, from that I’ve seen, many of you feel that your software vendor isn’t great at customer service or isn’t completely honest about what’s going on with their products.

However, according to Black Book, this era of negative feelings may be coming to an end. The research organization recently surveyed 2,448 EHR and HIT clients to get their sense of how their vendor-customer relationship was working.

One of the top conclusions Black Book drew from the survey is that in the future, providing sophisticated customer services will be critical for HIT software vendors to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Eighty-eight percent of hospital respondents said that high-quality user support was a make or break feature in their software vendor relationships, while 66% said that EHR tech support specifically (both that provided by the software vendor and that offered by outsourced tech support partners) wasn’t doing much to support patient care improvement.

In addition, 90% of CIOs said that multi-level tech support from their key health IT vendors will be an important competitive factor over the coming five years, for services that range from help desk to complex engineering projects.

Also, 53% of health IT leaders said they would be up for paying more for a better tech support experience from these vendors if it led to higher clinician productivity or enhanced consumer experiences.

At present, few providers seem poised to make the kind of major new purchases that get vendors excited. In fact, 93% of senior IT respondents told Black Book that they don’t expect to replace their systems during the coming year.

On the other hand, the vast majority reported that their relationship with current vendors could be endangered. In fact, 90% said they wouldn’t buy any more products or services from their current vendors if their competitors offered a better experience for buying technologies.

Not only that, spelling bad news for lagging tech support offerings, 80% of health IT leaders reported that it is much easier to take their business elsewhere as compared with five years ago.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.