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Mar 6, 2015 9:00:00 AM · by David Wolfe

Managing Vendor Relations In A Healthcare System Conversion

HealthcareIS-Blog_Mar6Conversion

In the white paper entitled Healthcare System Conversions – Key Points To Consider, we outlined three types of conversions (System Upgrade, New Platform/Same Vendor, and New Platform/New Vendor) and five points to consider when planning for a system conversion.  

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This article reviews the points to consider for Transition Plan for each type of conversion. Defining how you intend to rollout the conversion to the organization requires stakeholder input and appropriate planning. All three types of conversions have similar transition planning components, but there are specific points to consider for each type of conversion.

This article reviews the points to consider for Vendor Relations for each type of conversion. All three types of conversion have similar vendor relationships, but there are specific points to consider for each type of conversion.

Vendor Relations

The vendor should be your “partner” in this process. The vendor is the system expert and should provide the appropriate guidance with your system upgrade. 

  • Vendor Role
    • Clearly define the role of the vendor in the process.  The vendor’s role is one of advisor, builder, and/or tester. Make sure that both your organization and the vendor have a clear understanding of the expectations.
    • Meet and vet the vendor representatives – ensure that the vendor representative has the competency and ability to work effectively with your organization.  At times, you may need to ask for a replacement; do not be afraid to do so if your organization’s needs are not being met.

 

New Platform/Same Vendor

  • Managing multiple vendor representatives
    • Although your organization is moving from one platform to another with the same vendor, the vendor “consultants” with whom you interface may be different. For example, the Invision consultant with whom you have been working for years may not be the person assisting with the implementation of Soarian.
    • Define the level of support expected from each of these vendor representatives.  
  • Vendor Role
    • Clearly define the role of the vendor in the process. Is the vendor’s role one of advisor, builder, and/or tester? Make sure that both your organization and the vendor have a clear understanding of the expectations.
    • Meet and vet the vendor representatives – ensure that the vendor representative has the competency and ability to work effectively with your organization. At times, you may need to ask for a replacement; do not be afraid to do so if your organization’s needs are not being met.

New Platform/New Vendor

  • Managing multiple vendor representatives
    • Converting from one application/platform to a new one with a different vendor can result in challenging “vendor relations.” This is the opportunity to ensure that the level of expertise and support you received from your existing vendor is met or exceeded by the new vendor.
    • The transition to the new application/platform may be an 18- to 24-month process. During this time, you need to maintain a defined level of support of your existing system with the current vendor. At that same time, you have to establish a new relationship with the “new” vendor. Vendor cultures may be different, customer interaction and support may be different. Clearly define the level of support expected from each of these vendor representatives.  
  • Vendor Role
    • Define the level of support that you expect from the current vendor.
    • Clearly define the role of the new vendor in the process. Is the vendor’s role one of advisor, builder, and/or tester? Make sure that both your organization and the vendor have a clear understanding of the expectations.
    • Meet and vet the vendor representatives – ensure that the vendor representative has the competency and ability to work effectively with your organization. At times, you may need to ask for a replacement; do not be afraid to do so if your organization’s needs are not being met. 

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