Beyond KLAS rankings: Building client relationships at IBM Watson Health

Trusted partnerships – built with consistency, meaningful interactions and a shared vision – helped us earn 2021 KLAS recognition across our imaging portfolio.

By and Antonia Wells | 3 minute read | February 11, 2021

Two medical professionals look at a monitor with diagnostic images of a patient

More than ever, healthcare providers are in the thick of trying to solve today’s problems and prepare for tomorrow. Small practices and large systems alike are struggling with a constant increase in the volume and type of data that they must ingest, curate, analyze, govern, share and archive – all while trying to modernize their technology infrastructures, deal with cost containment challenges, mitigate potential data security and privacy issues, on top of ensuring patients receive high-quality patient care.

We recently earned KLAS recognition for several of our enterprise imaging solutions. The award, which recognizes efforts to help healthcare professionals deliver better patient care, validates that our clients recognize the value our solutions and expertise brings to them. KLAS rankings are just some of the many data points that help us understand how well we’re doing. When combined with other mechanisms for feedback, this information drives us not just to constantly improve our solutions, but just as importantly, to never take our business relationships for granted.

As a partner to these organizations, IBM Watson Health must continually evaluate – What will bring the most benefit to our clients? What can we do to help make them successful?

4 key learnings about developing trusted collaborations

Drawing from our own experiences working with and for healthcare providers, we know that a vibrant, collaborative relationship is the foundation for long-term success. Building strong relationships requires engaging fully with client teams to understand that they want more than just great technology, they’re aiming to transform radiology across the enterprise.

There are many factors that contribute to healthy relationships between healthcare providers and their technology partners, but four key learnings include:

  1. Consistency Before, during and after the sale, healthcare providers depend upon reliable partners that can bring value in an ever-changing environment. Consistency from inquiry to sale, through support and service, is incredibly important. For this reason, we are especially proud that Merge Hemo has been the KLAS Category Leader for cardiology hemodynamics for ten consecutive years, and several other solutions (Merge Cardio, iConnect Enterprise Archive, iConnect Access and Merge PACS) earned spots in the top three of their respective KLAS categories. These recognitions provide external validation that our solutions are consistently strong, timely and relevant in the rapidly evolving world of healthcare.
  2. Thinking holistically. TriHealth is one of the top integrated health systems near Cincinnati, OH. The organizations elected our solutions to modernize and centralize image storage, as well as to seamlessly integrate this information with its EHR, to provide a comprehensive patient view from any location. Partnering with TriHealth required us to think holistically – not just about a single product – but about how the integrated solution contributes to a value-based outcome. At the same time, TriHealth began to see Watson Health as more than a “rip and replace” vendor, and instead as an innovation partner that is equally committed to the goals of the organization.
  3. Meaningful interactions. As in life, relationships matter. We must interact with client teams that do the work, early and often. Interacting means active participation, conversation and feedback among stakeholders in each group – beyond just exchanging emails, the focus is on long-term relationships. Because long-term success is bigger than any single release or any single product- it’s a shared vision- to work together to identify the best solution for today and roadmap for tomorrow.
  4. Shared vision for the future. A key to understanding the client is listening to their goals and offering a vision that helps them get there. David Huelsman, MD, the chair of radiology at TriHealth, said it best:

“The AI piece is what cinched the deal for us — the way IBM and Watson Health Imaging saw the future of radiology meshed with our vision. In my practice, a long-term vision is really important to understanding … where we’re going to be in 10 years. And having partners who share that long roadmap is really important to me as a practicing radiologist.”

Together, actions by each one of us at IBM contribute to the client’s experience and value of our partnerships.