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HEALTHCARE TECHNOLOGY ACQUISITION
Healthcare technology acquisition can be a very drawn out
process. Healthcare organisations are usually cautious when acquiring new
technology, as there have been many cases where huge amounts have been spent in
acquiring healthcare technology solutions, only to have them fail.
One of the most common reasons for this is rejection by the
end users due to poor or indecisive management or a lack of understanding of
The fear of failure has lead to decision makers delaying in
making a choice for acquiring technology as no one wants to be blamed for it’s
The following tips can be used as a guide in helping managers
reach a decision about acquiring healthcare technology solutions:
Understand the technology: Though expert knowledge is not necessary it
is important to understand what the technology can do, its limitations and what
impact it is expected to have on the organisation. A little research is all
that is needed to achieve this. Do not rely on just the information provider by
the vendor, because their primary aim is to sell you a product, whether it is a
right fit or not.
Compatibility: Check the technology solution being acquired is
compatible with already existing technology; else a standalone application that
would most possibly end being ignored by the end users is the likely end
Shop around: It is not advisable to always get the healthcare solution
from the first vendor that walks in through the door, and that is what most
vendors would be counting on. An invitation to tender (ITT) is a way of getting
round this, as various vendors submit their tenders of provide the solution.
The tenders are usually detailed and contain information about the vendor’s
background, financial requirements and technical details of the solution being
provided, along with support service after procurement.
Choosing the right vendor: There are many vendors touting their products
as the best in the market, however before rushing off and buying their
products, some things to consider about the vendor are the period of time they
have been in the business, whether they belong to healthcare IT associations
like the American Medical Informatics Association
or HL7, if the vendor has the right mix of
personnel to provide the solution. Some believe that the bigger the vendor
size, the better, however they are a number of small to medium sized vendors
who have been in the business for a long time and provide a quality service.
Get other users opinions: Unless the technology solution or its vendor
is new in the market, chances are that there is a user out there with an
opinion. Vendors can be asked for a list of their clientele with contact
details. These customers can be a good source of information on the usefulness
of the technology, the quality of service from the vendor, problems encountered
and how their organisation has been affected. The Internet is also another good
place to look, as there are likely to be websites where people have enumerated
their experiences with either the technology or the vendor. More often than
not, and probably unfairly, the reviews tend to be negative but too many bad
reviews is a good indication that something is wrong.
Does the technology meet industry standards: A product that has
HL7 interfaces usually indicates a high level of interoperability with
other health technology products. In the US, healthcare organisations have to
ensure that their healthcare systems are HIPAA
compliant, so it would be wise to acquire technology from vendors that ensure
that their systems are just that. In the UK, meeting the
ISO/TC 215 and/or CEN/TC 251 standards
is usually a good indication of the quality of the product.