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Before Selecting an HIE Vendor, Ask These Questions

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Chilmark Research’s John Moore advises providers to thoroughly vet their HIE vendor partners

At Blueprint Healthcare IT webinar last week on the “Top Ten Ways an HIE Can Go Wrong”, John Moore, founder and managing partner of Chilmark Research, a Cambridge, Mass.-based analyst firm focusing solely on the healthcare IT market, gave some good advice on what pertinent questions to ask when selecting the right vendor partner.

He says when choosing an HIE technology partner, providers should assess how complete the solution is before purchasing. For instance, he says, if the provider organization already has a master person index (MPI) then it may not be necessary to seek out a vendor that has that as a part of its package. He urges to do more than rudimentary reference check, but to dig deep to really asses the vendor’s capabilities.

John Moore

The Chilmark Research report, “2012 HIE Market Report: Analysis and Trends,”discusses how vendors are now modularizing their offerings and migrating toward PaaS, platform as a service solutions. Moore notes that early on many HIE vendors had vague solutions that took a long time to value, which cast a pall on the market. In response to that, vendors have been modularizing their solutions to create a step-wise path to success. "It's breaking up that all-encompassing solution into bite-size pieces that can be easily deployed and deliver rapid time to value," says Moore. Once the data pipeline is in place within an HIE, PaaS services can be layered on through APIs to present data in interesting ways forclinical decision support, referral management, and RCM capabilities.

With the instability of the HIE market (Moore estimates there have been more than 10 acquisitions in the past two years), organizations should try to answer these questions before making a selection:

  • Who best maps to our core strategy?
  • Where will solution be deployed?
  • How will value and time to value be measured?
  • How much control does vendor have over the product roadmap?
  • How much disruption will there be down the line if vendor is acquired?
  • How timely are vendor updates?
  • How quickly does vendor fix bugs?
  • How will vendor execute the organization’s vision?

What measures have you taken to vet your HIE vendor, or any vendor for that matter? Please share by leaving a comment below.