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Advocacy and Vendor Selection at HIMSS Day Two

March 2, 2008
by Travis Gathright
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I attended two good sessions on the second day of HIMSS. The first session was on health information technology advocacy.
Health information technology can do a lot more than it is doing today, but it cannot fix the problems in the healthcare system alone.
The challenges in the system can’t even be fixed on the provider side alone.
Government, payers, and providers are going to need to need to work together.
We, as providers, should be working with legislators.
The payers certainly are.

Regardless of what’s happening at healthcare system level, we are going to need to pick systems that work well for our individual organizations for the foreseeable future.
I attended a session on the vendor selection process presented by Scott Kizer, JD, MIS and Guillermo Moreno, BA, March (
Event 61).
The presentation highlighted some very important points I wanted to highlight and comment on a few.
#1) The vendor selection process starts with a deep understanding of your needs. #2) The evaluation/selection process should involve all the stakeholders.
Use a formalized and structured process to ensure involvement.
#3) Leadership should work to reduce hype in the sales process and minimize the adversarial nature of the contract phase.
A great method is to document the features and functionality you see during the sales process.
Make sure your team and the potential vendors know the goal is to roll your team’s documentation into the statement of work.
Kizer and Moreno suggested the sales process and contracting process should be going on at the same time, which I found to be a great idea.
#4) The goal of the contracting phase is to start a successful implementation and create a long-term partnership.
There should be a give and take, and vendors are more than capable of including items like the statement of work, project plan, timelines, service levels, and interface specifications as their part of the “give.”
Be ready to do some giving of your own, as it could be in the best interest of the project. Ultimately, partnership is paramount.

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