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How Much Support Should Technology Vendors Provide?

January 28, 2019

Technology is meant to make systems and procedures faster, easier, and more productive. That’s how it solves problems. But when vendor support is inadequate, that adds another whole set of headaches. That’s why healthcare practices need to know what levels of support to expect, before selecting technology vendors.

Insights from the AMA

The AMA convened a panel of thought leaders on its AMA Physician Innovation Network, to discuss tech vendor best practices. They emphasized that vendors need to be responsive to the unique needs of both providers and patients. If a problem arises while implementing technology, providers need reassurance that the vendor will answer the phone and help resolve the issue. The panel also agreed that vendors need to regularly solicit feedback from physicians and other healthcare providers. That kind of dialog can ensure that product enhancements address new challenges as they arise. The healthcare industry is experiencing rapid, historic transformation, and technology providers need to stay ahead of the curve with relevant, customer-centric products.

Trim Down and Scale Up

Practices may be expanding, and their technological systems and platforms need to grow to scale to accommodate that expansion. But the technology needs to streamline business processes and keep things simple, not overly technical and complicated. Today’s technology may also become obsolete if it is unable to respond with agility to changes in healthcare delivery, payment processing, or regulatory policy. Before making a decision regarding investment in technology, practices should look for a vendor track record of adaptable flexibility and secure reliability.

Analytics and Reporting Capability

Vendors should also provide software that doesn’t just help solve problems on the surface. Today’s healthcare practices need granular data and forensic analysis to help identify hidden costs and vulnerabilities. They need software to aggregate and selectively mine data and generate customizable reports. With access to comprehensive data, it’s possible to eliminate wasteful costs and identify unnecessary labor or redundancy. Data-supported insights can also guide strategies that improve the consistency of value-driven patient care.

Engage and Serve the Patient

Quality care is, ultimately, the primary purpose of healthcare practice technologies. The best vendors don’t just create the latest and greatest tech. They also make it intuitive for the patient, at the retail consumer level. A physician’s appointment scheduling, insurance verification, invoicing, or medical file and prescription management portal must be easy to navigate. Otherwise patients and their caregivers will be frustrated by it and won’t use it. That can render the technology irrelevant. Patients expect the easy to use technology they experience every day when shopping online at the world’s leading e-commerce sites.

The Best Vendors Provide More Than Technology

Provide that level of convenient, solution-oriented vendor tech and it will improve patient care and strengthen doctor/patient relationships. That contributes to higher retention rates and a more financially stable practice. There’s not much more to ask for from technology, except for reasonably priced products that help pay for themselves. That’s why vendors who truly understand healthcare practice challenges also make affordable revenue cycle optimization technology a customer support priority.