Facilitating Partnerships

How KLAS Facilitates Partnerships

Recently, I spoke about the provider’s role in creating partnerships with their vendors. Partnerships between providers and vendors are quickly becoming the preferred model for healthcare organizations who must rely on their vendors’ knowledge and expertise in an ever-changing digital (and regulatory) climate.

I am asked on occasion to explain how KLAS provides value to HIT leaders. Sometimes, providers come to us looking for deep-dive information about a specific feature or an answer to a question such as, “How does this vendor compare to others in terms of the bells and whistles they offer?” I think some providers walk away feeling a bit empty-handed in those cases. I think the real value in KLAS’ database comes from providers’ abilities to see which vendors are true partners.

Over the years, we’ve really become experts at asking questions that uncover insight around partnerships. Those questions include, “How well do the vendor’s executives engage with your team?” “How proactive is this vendor in their service?” “Do they nickel-and-dime whenever you ask a question?” These lines of questioning begin to answer the larger question of how good a vendor is as a partner.

I spoke recently with a CIO who said, “Adam I want you to understand the difference between these two vendors.” He had just given one of the vendors a very high score and the other vendor a much lower score. He told me of an experience he had with both vendors, two days before Christmas.

“We had a major issue with two of our vendors. One of them said, ‘Well, it’s the holidays. We will probably have someone out there on the third of January. We won’t get this resolved immediately, but it’s really important to us, and we will get it resolved.’”

The CIO He continued, “Our other vendor said, ‘This is a huge, critical issue. We are going to fly someone there in the morning [on Christmas Eve]. We need to get this solved, and we know it’s critical that we fix this right away.’”

The second vendor flew someone out there, solved the issue, and didn’t charge the CIO any extra to solve the problem. This juxtaposition crystallized in this provider’s mind how different these vendors two really were. In situations like this, you gain a sense of where a vendor’s motivations lie.

Do they focus on the bottom line alone? Or does the vendor have a customer-oriented, problem-solving attitude? It’s easy to see which vendor relationship feels like a strategic partnership.

Of course, I’m not saying that vendors should enact draconian holiday policies for their staff in order to respond to every provider whim. But I think this story illustrates the point that a company only interested in selling goods behaves very differently from a company who has joined a provider organization’s team.

The age of digital healthcare is already complicated, and if the current regulatory climate is any indication, it seems unlikely things will become less complex in the near future. But I don’t think those complexities will sink us if we change our mindset from one of purchasing to one of partnering.