The healthcare industry is at a unique crossroads where human touch and the ability to diagnose, evaluate, and treat patients remains critical, while the right technology can improve the way you provide care. In the midst of this, healthcare providers and organizations struggle to figure out exactly what technology is best for their practice and which vendor(s) can provide the tools necessary to improve care and patient experiences. Here are some important tools for evaluating healthcare IT companies, and some reasons why it might be beneficial to work with a partner like PAG.
Start With an Audit
One of the first things your organization should do before you start evaluating and implementing software is figure out your specific needs. The healthcare IT industry is vast, and the needs of your practice or healthcare group will be dramatically different based on geographic location, number of providers, medical specialty, services, and other factors. An audit of your current technology with analysis of your specific needs and goals can help you get to a shortlist of the best vendors. Sometimes it’s hard to perform an unbiased audit yourself, which is where a partner like PAG can help.
Start Your Research and RFP Process
Once you know your goals and technology needs, you are better prepared to research vendors and can narrow your search to just those that will provide the tools you need.
It can be hard to compare all the options on your own. You don’t want to sign a contract based solely on a slick sales presentation or get so frustrated you settle for something that won’t provide value in the long term. In the early stages of your research, it’s helpful to create a request for proposal (RFP) that outlines what you need from healthcare IT companies. Your RFP should:
- Clearly outline goals and expectations.
- Specify the technology you need or problem(s) you want to solve.
- Create a submission timeline.
- Outline the evaluation and notification processes.
Collect and review RFPs, then select a small number of vendors that meet your needs and request a demo. Remember that these demos are a sales pitch, so come prepared with a lot of questions, and request additional information like case studies that back up product claims.
Set Evaluation Criteria
During the demo and the sales process, your team should be constantly evaluating vendors based on these key criteria1 from the American Medical Association:
- Business reliability and stability: How long have they been in business? Who are their customers (and will those customers provide a referral)?
- IT capabilities: Can their technology meet your needs? Does it integrate with any existing technology or software that you use (such as an EHR)?
- Data security: Is the system HIPAA compliant? What systems are in place to ensure data security and protect against breaches?
- User interface: Does this software make it easy for everyone –physicians, APCs, front office staff, medical coders and billers, and administrators –to do their job?
- Clinical validity: Does the software support evidence-based medicine and improve patient outcomes? If yes, ask for peer-reviewed research or documented clinical outcomes that prove it.
- Service: Can this company provide great service and technical support to your team?
Partner With PAG
Embarking on the journey to find new software from healthcare IT companies can seem daunting, and getting it wrong can have long-lasting consequences for your organization. Partner with PAG to make the evaluation process easier, and get the technology you need for your practice to thrive.