Home Health Intermountain Healthcare CDIO shares advice for evaluating and selecting vendors

Intermountain Healthcare CDIO shares advice for evaluating and selecting vendors

by News7

Healthcare information technology is quite complex. The process for evaluating vendors is nuanced and hinges on simplicity, alignment and risk sharing, said Craig Richardville, chief digital and information officer at Intermountain Healthcare.

More than just contracting for a product, healthcare CIOs should be focused on choosing “partners” that help organizations find tools that simplify work and enhance the patient experience, companies that work together to achieve common goals, Richardville advised.

Healthcare IT News sat down with Richardville of the famous health system that always has been ahead of the pack in health IT to gain his expertise on vendor selection.

Q. You say the process for evaluating vendors hinges on simplicity, alignment and risk sharing. Please elaborate.

A. Healthcare technology is complex and often needs to accommodate many different departments and specialties. At the same time, we’ve all experienced technology advancing rapidly and to the point of being outdated faster than we anticipate.

When we look at technology or services vendors, we often find ourselves evaluating in two different categories – short-term and long-term service vendors, the latter being more like a partnership relationship.

Those tenets of simplicity, alignment and risk sharing become important when determining if a vendor will fulfill a short-term need or will be with us for a longer haul. When we talk about simplification, we’re often looking for organizations that can help us take the complexity of our processes and use health technology to make it simple – for our patients, members and caregivers.

This could be about significantly improving a workflow, or it could be providing a seamless experience based on interoperability, for example, as we grow. In an organization as large and advanced as Intermountain Health, the ability to grow or shrink a solution is vital for long-term success.

In terms of alignment, we will often take the time to ensure the vendor’s goals and values align with ours. Not only does this help improve workflow, it fosters a cooperative environment where we know the partner-like vendor is working toward the same paradigm we are.

Shared goals and values also help when evaluating through risk sharing. Technology always comes with risk, whether it be system reliability, interoperability, or compliance and data security. Evaluating risk sharing entails a mutual understanding of those potential risks and balancing the responsibilities for each, where both parties share the burden and work together to mitigate risks effectively.

Q. You say vendors who strike successful relationships with provider organizations engage in collaborative relationships, aiming for long-term synergy and shared success. Please describe what this looks like.

A. The most successful relationships contain positive collaboration toward long-term improvement and shared success. This involves open communication, mutual respect and a commitment to achieving common goals.

Vendor partners actively engage with us to understand our unique challenges and needs, offering tailored solutions within their framework to fit those needs and offer continuous support for the challenges that may arise. They view our success as their own and are dedicated to fostering a sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship over time.

Q. You suggest healthcare organizations must find vendors that simplify work, enhance the patient experience and work together to achieve common goals. Please give an example of how you achieved this with one of your vendors.

A. While this is always the goal, sometimes it doesn’t always work that way. Each situation is unique and sometimes we just need an immediate solution or need to solve a specific problem. When all those things do come together, the result is a solution where everyone wins.

In one instance, we partnered with a software vendor to enhance our patient scheduling system. Instead of merely providing a solution, the vendor took the time to understand our unique workflows and diverse patient populations.

Together, we identified pain points in the existing system and collaborated to design a customized solution that streamlined scheduling, improved patient access and enhanced the overall patient experience. The proof was in a 20% increase in conversions through our website navigation.

Through regular communication and feedback loops, we iteratively refined the solution to ensure it met our evolving needs. This collaborative approach not only simplified our work processes but also directly contributed to better patient outcomes and satisfaction.

Q. What advice can you offer your peers at other hospitals and health systems when it comes to evaluating and selecting vendors?

A. When conducting risk assessments for potential longer-term vendor relationships, it’s essential to approach it comprehensively and collaboratively. I advise my peers to include the following in their evaluation process:

Involve stakeholders from various departments, including IT, legal and compliance, to assess risks from different perspectives. It’s crucial to thoroughly evaluate the vendor’s security protocols, compliance with regulations, financial stability and past performance.
Fostering open communication with the vendor and establishing clear expectations from the outset can help identify and mitigate potential risks effectively.
Emphasize the importance of continuous monitoring and reassessment of risks throughout the relationship to ensure ongoing compliance and alignment with organizational goals.

Follow Bill’s HIT coverage on LinkedIn: Bill Siwicki

Email him: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

Source : Healthcare IT News

You may also like