In today’s healthcare industry, the term “partnership” is frequently mentioned. Rather than just selling a product, nowadays vendors talk about partnering with prospective clients.
Understanding the nuances of partnering is helpful when preparing to invest in a new solution. From the vendor’s perspective, in addition to receiving a fair market value for their solutions and services, expectations of a partnership may involve the prospective client in the following ways:
- Defining project goals to measure and document progress and/or achievement for future reference
- Providing solution and product feedback such as identification and prioritization of enhancements, and/or testing and evaluation of those enhancements
- Acting as a reference for the vendor or hosting site visits for prospective customers
On the flip side, what healthcare facilities can expect from a vendor partnership often includes:
- Customer input relating to product enhancements
- On-going validation of a solution’s value and impact in the form of post-implementation analysis or assessment programs
- Participation in organized meetings or forums to provide solution feedback
- Easy access to familiar company support staff
Are You Asking the Right Questions?
If you are truly planning to partner with a vendor, while it is important to investigate the features and benefits a solution offers, it’s also essential to look for evidence that indicates good partnership qualities. Some good questions to consider that don’t always get vetted include:
What percentage of the vendor’s overall revenue does instrument tracking and instrument management automation represent?
The value instrument management software represents in a vendor’s overall portfolio can be a litmus test for how committed they are to enhancing their instrument management solution.
How many enhancement releases to the system has the company provided annually in the past 5 years?
What percentage of the company’s revenue is dedicated to instrument tracking and instrument management automation research and development?
R&D investment is critical
What percentage of the company’s revenue is dedicated to instrument tracking and instrument management automation product support?
What is the company’s retention rate specific to instrument tracking and instrument management automation?
Does the company offer comprehensive solutions?
If not, how invested is the vendor in ensuring all needed functionality works together seamlessly?
Does the company have a user group dedicated to instrument tracking and instrument management automation and what is the average attendance?
A user group is a wonderful forum for clients to provide feedback and a great indicator of a good partner.
Does the vendor demonstrate a commitment to being an industry expert?
A good indication of this type of commitment is through activities such as regular blog posts and a dynamic and interactive website. Websites today can offer more than just digital lists of product features and benefits.
With the sterile processing department being a highly regulated environment that is constantly evolving, the value of choosing a solution that checks all the partnership-quality boxes should not be overlooked. In the end, a true partnership is good for everyone involved.