Why No Disclosure of Financial Relationships with KLAS When You Win Best in KLAS?

Posted on February 6, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This week I’ve been inundated with press releases and companies promoting their Best in KLAS ranking/rating (whatever you want to call the award). In fact, I’ve gotten so many notices from so many healthcare IT companies, it prompted to me to send the following tweet:

Ironically, that tweet was before I got another dozen more press releases, blog posts and tweets informing me of how great their company is because they’re “Best in KLAS.”

In a conversation I had with someone who was “Best in KLAS” and when I saw a blog post by a CEO that was so proud of their Best in KLAS rating, I wondered why we don’t have some expectation of financial disclosure with these type of ratings and awards. This isn’t an issue for KLAS alone, but would apply to Gartner and a number of other organizations that offer these type of healthcare IT software ratings.

In the blogging and media world, the topic of disclosing financial interests is often discussed. It’s a policy that I follow myself. If I ever write about a company for which I have a financial relationship (advertiser, sponsored content, email campaigns, etc), I disclose that financial relationship in the article. I believe it’s important for anyone reading that article to know that there’s a financial relationship which could sway the content.

Shouldn’t we expect the same from companies who have a financial relationship with these ratings organizations? There’s a possibility that the financial relationship could have made a difference in those ratings. Shouldn’t we know about this potential for bias?

Of course, I don’t expect we’ll see many organizations take me up on this idea that they disclose their financial relationship. So instead, I’m calling on those Best in KLAS companies who don’t have a financial relationship with KLAS to come forward and disclose that they don’t have a financial relationship with KLAS and they still were given a Best in KLAS rating. I’ll be interested how many come forward.

As I’ve long told people who ask me about the value of KLAS, I think there’s so many ways to skew their results that I don’t put much value in their results. Plus, I’m not sure about their methodologies which include doing ratings at EHR user conferences (biased sample anyone?).

However, for marketers, I tell them they absolutely should make the most from a Best in KLAS rating. Most healthcare organizations don’t understand (likely because they’re too busy) the nuance in proper ratings and therefore blindly use KLAS for their decision making. Unfortunately in healthcare IT, these people don’t have any other choice but KLAS. So, given no better alternative, it’s no surprise that they use what’s available.

Of course, my hope is that most healthcare organizations use KLAS, Gartner magic quadrants and whatever other ratings and rankings that exist as just another data point. Triangulating across those and your colleagues is often going to lead people to the best solution.

Full Disclosure: I have an affiliate partnership with a company Gartner bought for some EHR lead generation. I’m sure they’ll love this article.