One of our regional customers planned a major showcase initiative involving workflow, alarm management, messaging, and nurse call with the help of a nationally recognized healthcare IT consultancy. The requisite planning meetings were had, the design decisions made, the hardware and software installed, the users trained. But then what?
- Keep your technology partners engaged together, and pay them for it. Negotiate for substantial on-site go-live support and additional hands-on assessments, re-design and training as required at regular intervals throughout the first year of use. If your users don’t adopt new technology and processes within the first 60 days, the desired results are unlikely to be achieved. Define the scope of the project through successful adoption, not just initial deployment. Keep your partners involved, together—and be willing to pay for it. Yes, it will increase the price. But it’s well worth paying a bit more upfront to decrease the risk of wasting the entire investment.
- Customer intimacy trumps all. While it’s great that the old-fashioned service call is not always required to remediate your nurse call system or adjust a workflow process, the technicians who carry out those services know a lot about your systems that someone overseas or halfway across the country just doesn’t know. While one doesn’t need a nearby brick and mortar presence to be intimate with the inner workings of your facility, it often helps. As you evaluate new solutions or reevaluate the management of existing ones, factor in what kind of long-term relationship is possible with your provider.
- Make sure to plan for Day 2 and beyond. Even the smallest of initiatives are likely to have post-deployment maintenance, support, and future growth requirements. As you work to execute a minor renovation, even a seemingly small swing of rooms may require database changes, workflow adjustments, or report modifications that you may not take into account. Ask the solution supplier or integrator handling your account how these maintenance and expansion tasks get handled. How will you be charged? What service levels can you expect?
- Do you have a Software Maintenance Agreement (SMA)? And what does it entitle you to? Nearly every contemporary software and hardware solution that will comprise your nurse call, alarm, workflow, messaging and voice solution will require an SMA. At its most limited function, an SMA is likely to entitle your help desk to call theirs. If there’s any complexity to your solution, that may not be enough. Given that the solution might really be a system made up of multiple systems, you as a customer may end up in a turf war unless the solution providers are cooperative or delivered under the same umbrella.
Kenny Schiff is the Founder and CEO of CareSight. A 20-year veteran of the healthcare technology business, Kenny is considered by his customers and peers to be a no-nonsense, trusted resource who can be counted on to deliver complex solutions with high impact. His team pioneered managed services to clinical communications customers starting in 2003. Visionary always, but never afraid to be hands-on, CareSight is a great creative platform for Kenny’s entrepreneurial and technical passions.