RFP

Looking at the Life Cycle of PACS

While Thanksgiving Day has passed and left our belt loops a notch or two tighter, the shopping craze that turkey day kicks off has only just begun. From a consumer perspective, the path from shopper to owner is a well-traveled funnel. Consumer giants like Amazon and Walmart have streamlined the process of getting individuals to purchase “must-have” items.

From a cynic’s point of view, this time of year can feel like the start of a capitalistic dystopia. However, if you’re trying to make purchases on behalf of your health system, the story changes. The pain of making buying decisions in HIT often leaves us longing for the “Black Friday” feel of modern consumerism.

That isn’t to say that hyper-personalized ads about PACS solutions are ideal, but some attention to the lifecycle of an imaging purchase would be nice. In that vein, KLAS recently published its 2018 PACS report. In a break from traditional KLAS reporting—typically zeroed in on a snapshot of performance scores—this report seeks to help organizations through the entire buying process, from RFP to go-live.

Considerations

Which PACS solutions are being purchased the most, and for what reasons? As KLAS spoke with providers, we found that a vendor’s reputation was a driving factor for the majority of purchase decisions.

In particular, Intelerad and Sectra both landed numerous new contracts over the two-year span of the report. Most customers cited that the vendors’ reputation for high-quality solutions preceded them.

On the other side of the consideration coin, KLAS found that most of Agfa HealthCare’s customer base has yet to migrate to the vendor’s new offering. In a move similar to what we’ve seen when EHR vendors overhaul their tools, many of Agfa HealthCare’s customers are considering shifting to a new vendor alongside the decision to upgrade their current solutions.

Go-Live

Once a vendor has been selected, the next critical moment for the success of a provider’s implementation is the go-live. KLAS identified customers who were extremely happy with their experience and uncovered a few keys to success:

  • Contracting: Make sure customer success is prioritized in writing
  • Start Strong: Identify a vendor who has a strong implementation methodology, enough staff to execute, and a clear vision of the provider’s end goal.
  • Training Matters: Poor initial training can botch even the smartest tool. Look for quality trainers in the PACS world.
  • Collaboration: Successful organizations involve both clinical and IT stakeholders early and often.
  • Data Migration: No two organizations are alike—look at the pros and cons of both in-house and third-party methods.

Lasting Relationships

Once the dust settles on implementation, you have a long—and hopefully happy—road ahead with your vendor. However, it’s important to know whether there will be potholes along the way.

When KLAS asked, several vendors floated to the top as relationship champions. Providers cited their reliability, pricing, and communication as dominant factors. Keep an eye out for vendors that lack development or tend to nickel-and-dime their customers with one-off and hidden costs.

Hopefully, as you walk through a PACS decision (or any RFP, for that matter), insights like these will prove useful. Providers have access to the summary of this report here.