Healthcare organizations should exercise a high level of rigor when selecting new technologies or systems. Due diligence to identify the best-fit health IT solution ensures resources are well spent, and mitigates user dissatisfaction, the risk of costly un-planned replacements and lost time down the road.
Here are eight steps stakeholders can take to establish a structured, repeatable selection process to expedite and bolster the success of IT system selections and implementations.
- Establish a system selection committee that involves representatives from impacted departments as well as executive oversight and project management support. This ensures projects are in step with enterprise goals, promotes teamwork and accountability and drives process efficiency.
- Conduct thorough requirements analysis and documentation across all impacted departments. Prioritize the critical and must-have features and functionality from the “would be nice to haves” in the new system or technology
- Score and weight requirements to ensure each is measurable during vendor evaluations. This methodical approach lends clarity on how each requirement will be evaluated to project team members as well as potential vendors.
- Conduct a thorough vendor market analysis to identify available IT solutions. This is an area where third-party partners with expertise and experience with the market are particularly valuable. Filter the vendor market on critical and must have features and functionality to drive to a list of viable vendor/solutions.
- Create and issue a formal request for proposal (RFP) to the list of viable vendors that articulates the prioritized features and functional requirements and the methodology for vendor evaluation.
- Invite involvement in product demonstrations. Provide team members and other stakeholders opportunities to see the system in action, question vendors during presentations, and privately discuss thoughts and concerns immediately following demos. Capture their feedback to inform a holistic assessment.
- Quantify the total cost of ownership of viable solutions including costs related to maintenance and training. Evaluate key return on investment (ROI) factors including cost, staff satisfaction and retention and impact on workflows.
- Implement a robust communication plan to keep stakeholders engaged throughout the system evaluation and selection process. At a minimum, communication should include email notices, a dedicated project website and regular team meetings.
By following a methodical approach and treating IT system selection as a project, healthcare organizations enhance their ability to select the right system–one in which the entire organization will be invested. End-user engagement in the process ensures impacted departments are informed and have a voice in the project. Strategic systems selection also fosters clear communication and discipline with potential IT partners, which further supports the long-term success of the project.