I have been researching the evolving relationship between the health system and technology vendor sectors for the last few months.
I conducted 20+ interviews with both health system and vendor executives, and a few choice words came up routinely when I asked interviewees to describe the current state of these partnerships: "chaotic," "bureaucratic," "burdensome," "friction-filled," and my personal favorite, "Oh boy, where do I begin?"
These sentiments reflect a disappointing reality: despite the rapidly growing number of partnerships that health systems and tech vendors are entering into, it remains rare for a vendor-provider partnership to be pain-free, on either side.
Interviewees qualified this—of course there are "unicorn" partners who firmly grasp their future goals and their value in the market and are experts at the change management necessary to achieve return on investment (ROI) and meet expectations. But these partners are rarely found in the wild. More often than not, vendor-health system partnerships are at difficult for both sides. And that's true even when ROI and expected outcomes are realized.
These partnerships can be disorganized and slow. They can be overly bureaucratic and reliant on navigating middle management hurdles. They can fall prey to unmet promises in the sales process. They can fizzle out when an executive champion leaves the organization. They can waste time or political capital or energy. And, at worst, they can completely fail and cause financial or existential consequences for each party.
My research began with a broad hypothesis: "both vendors and providers can improve their partnerships with one another." This rang true in interviews without contention. But tech vendors and health systems alike had more nuanced opinions on how to shape the research and what specific questions to explore—and which ones to avoid. Here are three lines of inquiry they had no interest in:
Over the next few months, I'll be publishing three research reports and tools on these the topic areas. First, an argument on why the onus to improve partnership habits and selection will largely fall on health systems in the coming years.
Second, a vetting tool for health systems to use to identify and avoid red flags from vendors during the sales process. And lastly, a larger report that explains the tensions and "under the hood" dynamics driving each side's behavior—their incentives, internal tensions and tradeoffs they are forced to make, market conditions, and interdependencies that exist between the two sectors.
If you would like to be interviewed for this work, please email me at TrigonoP@advisory.com and we can set up some time.
The relationship between a technology vendor and a health care organization is critical, but often presents challenges. Health providers rely on their vendors not only for the development and delivery of a functional application, but also for the service component of their products. A vendor’s expertise and technical knowledge is essential for the proper implementation, adoption, and maintenance of its systems.
This briefing highlights some recommended practices that can help IT leaders navigate their technology vendor relationships.
Create your free account to access 2 resources each month, including the latest research and webinars.
You have 2 free members-only resources remaining this month remaining this month.
Never miss out on the latest innovative health care content tailored to you.