First-Hand KLAS Experience
By Jazzbo Depew
I work for a vendor. We crush everyone in our KLAS category, but we’re not happy with KLAS.
I firmly believe that they don’t cheat with their scores or comments. Some of their vendors might try really hard to get folks to fill out surveys, but KLAS tracks down every user they can and stops using them if they’ve milked that cow too much.
We are one of those "obscure" companies that gets the good scores. Why is ‘Spence Holmes’ surprised that agile, targeted companies will score better than the generic behemoths? Does it have to be a cheating conspiracy? Could it simply be that software written and supported for a specific speciality or service will make its users happier than those that aren’t?
If the survey for KLAS is biased, the implication must be that my company has somehow cheated. As the KLAS contact, I assure you that I haven’t. We’re too small and have too little money, believe me.
But I do think KLAS is biased in another way – the opposite of what Holmes implies.
We got a call out of the blue one day saying, "Hey, we’re from KLAS and we’re going to start finding your clients whether you like it or not. You can help by giving us your client list." We waited the three months they told us it would take to get listed. Nothing. So, we called. "Well," they said, "when we see scores that are so out-of-line with the norm, we need more data." Huh? Good or bad? They wouldn’t tell us.
So, we mentioned the survey to our clients. Eventually, after something like 12 months, we got listed. However, we had a BIG ASTERISK next to our name and were put among the other software vendors as "Component, Updated, or Replacement" software or something like that.
Why? Because our scores were so good and we are a small specialty company. It’s that simple. They don’t want us listed next to our much larger competitors. Our specialist prospects will be misled to think the "Best in KLAS" folks are better for them than we are. I’ve been fighting with them about this for three years. We even see some well known vendors claiming to have the highest scores in more of the ~30 categories than anyone else – which is patently false – but because they are one of the big fish, they don’t have to pay attention to us.
So, some KLAS stories:
When our scores first came out, I was reading the comments section. One of our clients said something about us that isn’t true, but made us look better than we are ("they won’t hire anyone who hasn’t worked for three years already," when, in fact, we hire college kids every chance we get). I called them up to fix it and once the person on the phone said, "Wait, you’re the vendor?" she all but hung up on me. "We don’t talk to the vendors, period." Given that I wasn’t complaining about the bad comments, I was impressed.
We know our clients really well. When it’s a bad one (we have so few), I know EXACTLY who it is. And I can tell you that the comments are VERY real and are the GOLDMINE for KLAS users. We read them religiously and use them to direct our efforts. I could write you another five pages (I’ll spare you) about my efforts to get KLAS to understand their real value. My impression was that they are a nice little company with a family atmosphere and not the greatest sense of business.
We’ve had a number of clients tell us, "Oh, KLAS called me!" whose names we never provided and who hadn’t contacted KLAS. KLAS reads through web sites, checks out newsletters, and asks customers about other customers.
KLAS specifically reported to us more than once that our "degrees of confidence" were about to slip because they had been getting data from our same customers for almost too long. If some new customers didn’t report, we’d lose a checkmark or two. Whether this is lip service or not, I’ll never know, but the information was delivered in a manner that I believed. We did what we always do: sent out a customer-wide e-mail saying, "Don’t forget to fill out your KLAS survey. P.S. Give us a good score or we cut off your support." [Kidding about that last part.]
KLAS made a BIG DEAL about needing a proper sample size. Ours represents a FAR greater section of our clients than from the big vendors. In fact, during the first discussion I had with them, it was clear that there was a BIG vendor bias, not the other way around. KLAS can’t have the little guys winning all the awards and driving the hospitals away from the GEs, etc. Plus, what kind of blackmail would I have to use to get KLAS to give us those scores? They hate me there – I call to complain all the time about our lack of recognition. They’d love nothing more than to have us be average.
There is probably a correlation between being publicly traded and scores. This is largely a service industry and being beholden to two masters (shareholders vs. customers) doesn’t work, as we know.
ED Software Seen First-Hand
[From Mr. HIStalk: I removed the vendor’s name from this writeup because I can’t verify the source or its accuracy, but it was claimed to be one of the biggest ones and it’s not Cerner, Epic, Eclipsys, or Siemens.]
During a busy couple of weeks taking parents and going myself to the local ER, I got very close to watching the ED system in action and had the opportunity to talk with my nursing and physician colleagues about what they thought of the [vendor] ED system.
The most common answer was that it was cumbersome and didn’t provide the level of documentation needed in the ED. All of the treatment rooms in the ED were equipped with wall mounted PCs, but in the four visits, no one even turned on the PCs in the treatment rooms.
What’s even more scary, when one of my parents was admitted and the information in the ED was supposedly sent to the inpatient system, the medication records were a mess. Doses were wrong, medications missing, assessments didn’t move to the inpatient system. The nurses were not happy since they are spending time on the floor updating the inpatient system with the correct information.
None of the nurses or physicians in the ED were involved in making the system selection. The nurses on the floor want to go back to manual charting.
This hospital invested heavily in COWs, but they are currently in storage. They are also cumbersome and not much help.
The PACS Designer’s Web Software Review – Adobe Acrobat.com
By The PACS Designer
Adobe has launched a new website called Acrobat.com to provide new collaborative features for Internet users. The features are:
(1) Adobe Buzzword® – online word processor
(2) Adobe® ConnectNow – web meeting platform
(3) Create PDF – convert up to five documents to PDFs for e-mailing
(4) Share – work online with others, sharing large files without e-mailing
(5) MyFiles – ability to store up to 5 gigabytes of files for sharing with others
You can use Acrobat.com to create and share documents, communicate in real time, and simplify working with others.
The First Real Web-Based Word Processor, Adobe Buzzword®, is a key feature of the new Acrobat.com website. Adobe has promised to keep adding new features into the future as users get more experience using their new site.
Create PDF is something new that Adobe has decided to give us in an online format. Since TPD has been posting about the new PDF/H for healthcare it would be good for HIStalkers to try to record their medical information securely in a PHR on their hard drive or USB drive and then using Acrobat.com Share to e-mail their PHR as a PDF/H. Adobe is permitting up to five different PDFs for free.
Adobe Acrobat.com is a nice addition to the Adobe portfolio of products and should attract new users with its free online word processor, Create PDF capability, and its sharing function.
TPD Usefulness Rating: 9.