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Navigating your vendor relationship virtually

There isn’t one aspect of our lives that the pandemic hasn’t affected. We are all learning to adapt to the everchanging circumstances of the new normal. The biggest question I’m hearing from our clients is, “How do I navigate my health IT vender relationship virtually?” I’d like to share some tips on getting the most out of your vendor in a virtual environment.

Stay connected

Many organizations are switching to the virtual space to prevent the spread of the virus. Moving to a completely remote work model can be troublesome for healthcare, which has historically relied on the human connection to build trust with patients and among teams. Due to the pandemic, healthcare and vendor relationships will likely develop a hybrid remote and in-person work model. Until then, take advantage of web cams and tools that enable a face-to-face experience and direct connections. Not only do these tools keep people and teams connected, but they also help promote smarter, more efficient ways of communication and collaboration. In other words, turn your camera on!

A poll of 1,153 workers published in Harvard Business Review found that 46% of them said that the most successful managers check in frequently with remote workers. This consistent and frequent communication is more important now than ever for hospital-vendor relationships too. Regular touchpoints and continued access to people virtually are key to implementation and maintenance of a vendor’s platform to establish performance expectations and fix obstacles to improvement. I recommend communicating weekly on performance check-ins and quarterly business reviews with vendor representatives and senior IT leadership to hold each other accountable to your success metrics.

Broaden relationships

It’s important not to let the downsides of virtual interaction, such as an inherent decrease in personal instruction and human connection, prohibit expanding relationships. In fact, Gallup research finds that optimal engagement occurs when employees spend 60 – 80% of their time working off-site. Healthcare organizations can use virtual interactions to its benefit by having more people participate. Whether it be training on a solution or contract discussions, virtual encounters enable more people to attend. The more voices in the room, the better outcomes achieved. You’re less likely to miss something important or leave a group out.

Utilize education opportunities from partners

With so many virtual events, webinars and more happening everywhere, it’s now easier than ever to be a student of the industry. These events supply education spanning various solution groups, insightful discussions of key industry topics from clients, company executives and other thought leaders in healthcare.

For example, the annual Allscripts Client Experience—or ACE, our biggest event of the year for our clients–is happening virtually for the first time ever this Oct. 6-8. While the platform and execution of the annual event will be different from years past, we still plan to deliver the same quality ACE our clients know and look forward to every year.

All users of Allscripts solutions are invited to experience the power of our partnership through the virtual educational sessions and networking opportunities that we will feature during the event. Virtual events include more opportunities for attendees, including solution-specific education sessions, unique networking experiences and forums to address your questions. Allscripts clients can learn more here.

Staying connected throughout the COVID-19 event may look a little different but it’s achievable as long as we all embrace what’s possible. I look forward to a web cam chat soon.


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