As healthcare reform gears up for change, hospitals are increasing their efforts to simplify and automate business processes through software applications. The problem hospital administration runs into when looking for software solutions is choosing from the thousands of applications that promise you efficiency and cost savings. Not all healthcare software solutions are developed with you in mind; they’re developed for the revenue they provide.
Not all hospital software vendors have an idea of how a hospital operates. They’ve simply identified an industry undergoing massive change and developed a software application to take advantage of an opportunity. Others are industry insiders that know in detail how hospitals operate and have developed software solutions that automate and simplify routine tasks. The key to selecting the right software is to weed out the players and find the vendor that offers real solutions.
The Guiding Principles for Selecting Hospital Software Solutions
Form a cross functional team. IT shouldn’t be the primary decision maker in choosing hospital software solutions. They may guide the process but the real decision makers should be those that will use the software day-to-day.
Create a needs assessment. Start by modeling current business processes in the areas you’re going to be using the new software application. Next, identify processes that you want the software to automate to improve efficiency. Lastly, map out the output you need from the new system in the form of reporting and analytics.
Evaluate hospital software vendors. Research and choose several potential hospital software providers that appear to meet your needs assessment. Have the chosen few demonstrate their software capabilities to determine which one(s) are closest to fulfilling the needs assessment. Create scenarios or use cases that reflect what you want the software to do and have the vendor run them through the program. Narrow your list to the top two or three vendors.
Ask for references. References provide you with the opportunity to speak with actual system users. If possible, see if there are hospitals in your area that are using the software and arrange for a site visit.
Choose the software that best fits your needs. If one vendor is clearly above the rest and meets your budget, then the choice becomes easy. If they’re close in functionality and cost, you may want to arrange a more detailed presentation with several use cases typical to your organization.
Negotiate the contract. You’ve likely already discussed pricing at this point of the process so there should be no surprises. One caveat is to watch for hidden fees. The 6 key areas of a software contract that you should focus on are:
- Software – pricing and performance.
- Hardware – do you need to upgrade or will present systems suffice.
- Implementation – the scope and time of software implementation.
- Training – details on initial training and ongoing support.
- System Maintenance – who’s responsible for software maintenance.
- Customer Support – hospitals need 24/7 support.
We live in the Digital Age where there is a software solution for nearly every business process. But not all software is created equally. At StayStaffed, we’ve developed a hospital workforce management software based on our 25 years in the healthcare staffing industry. Contact us now for a 15-minute product demonstration and learn how our vendor management solutions can streamline your hiring process by providing low-cost, high-quality talent. Or call us at 1.800.585.1710 and speak to a consultant.