Abstract

Recently, KLAS studied multichannel 1.5T magnetic resonance (MR) systems as part of a new research initiative in medical equipment. (Vendors and products included in the study are listed in Table 1.) KLAS found that MR vendors as a whole scored slightly higher than the medical equipment scoring average in the KLAS medical equipment database. KLAS also found that providers are rapidly expanding beyond traditional MR diagnostic areas, such as neurology, into advanced applications such as cardiac and whole-body imaging. Respondents to KLAS research indicate plans to use the magnet in as many different scan types as possible to maximize their patient mix and throughput.

As providers seek to leverage this modality, they look to their medical equipment vendors to improve the software functionality, image quality, patient comfort and ease of use. For now, though, what positive and negative results are providers experiencing? What are the quantifiable benefits they have found? What missing functionality, if any, are users reporting?

Positive and Negative Results

When providers commented on their MR systems, 66% of the comments were positive. However, when the comments were organized by vendor, the percentage of positive comments ranged widely - from 43% for one vendor to 81% for another.

The areas receiving the highest percentage of positive comments overall were return on investment/cost (89% positive) and relationship (83% positive). Conversely, of those who commented on sales and contracting issues, 100% reported negative experiences (see Figure 1 next page). It should be noted, however, that two vendors received no provider comments concerning sales or contracting issues, and overall comments on this area were few in number. However, it is notable that of those who commented, no respondents reported a positive experience.

Quantifiable Benefits

When providers were asked about quantifiable benefits, they indicated that image quality (52%) followed by productivity/throughput (41%) were the two most common quantifiable benefits that they have realized thus far (Figure 2).

Other benefits providers mentioned were functionality/technology (21%), system speed (21%) and patient comfort (18%). Unfortunately, 8% of respondents who commented on quantifiable benefits said they had received no benefits from their MR system.

Missing Functionality

When asked about missing functionality, 40% of healthcare providers indicated that no functionality was missing from their MR system. However, 33% of respondents reported dissatisfaction with their software or hardware (issues such as major hardware changes, outdated software and glitches), and 18% wished for better image quality.  

Patient comfort and usability/ease of use were mentioned as less than desirable by 11% of respondents (Figure 3). All systems were full-field closed MR systems.  

Summary

In summary, while the overall majority of providers expressed positive experiences with their vendor, when the comments are organized by vendor, the percentage of positive comments range widely - from 43% for one vendor to 81% for another. In addition, while many providers report benefits such as image quality and improved productivity/throughput, some also have expressed dissatisfaction with software or hardware functionality, among other issues.  

If one takes a buyer beware approach, it is highly possible to find a multichannel system that is right for a particular organization. Specifically, providers suggest that decision makers check system functionality, vendor service and workflow prior to making a selection.



About KLAS
KLAS , founded in 1996, is the only research and consulting firm specializing in monitoring and reporting the performance of healthcare's information technology ( HIT ) vendors and products. Our senior management staff and advisory board average 25 years of healthcare information technology experience.

How We Serve the Healthcare Industry: KLAS , in concert with thousands of healthcare executives, CIO s, directors, managers and clinicians, has created a dynamic database of information about the performance of HIT vendors. The KLAS database represents the opinions of healthcare executives, managers and clinicians from over 4,500 hospitals and 2,500 clinics on more than 500 different products. The information is continually refreshed with new performance evaluations and interviews daily. The KLAS database is dynamically and effectively used by:

  • Healthcare organizations, to align expectations with a vendor's actual performance, to assist in strategic planning and contract negotiations and to validate decision processes
  • Vendors, to monitor their performance in comparison with competitors
  • Consultants, for current performance information on a specific company or product
  • Healthcare investment firms, to evaluate publicly traded HIT company performance and trends or the competition for a new entrant.

About the Author

Jeremy Bikman is the vice-president of strategic research for KLAS, Orem, Utah.

Stacilee Whiting is the manager of corporate publishing for KLAS, Orem, Utah.