- Key questions to ask when selecting a clinical communication software
- Designing a clinical collaboration RFP process for multiple stakeholders
- Ideas and considerations for good process results
While it’s natural to assume that all software RFPs are the same, when designing an RFP for clinical collaboration software, there is more than meets the eye. Read on for ideas and considerations which are sure to make your process a success.
Let’s start at the beginning: What is the business, clinical or IT objective?
Ask, what are you trying to solve? Are you seeking an improvement or replacement for an existing communications and collaboration solution, or looking for new functionality that doesn’t yet exist in your healthcare organization? Have your requirements changed or outgrown a secure messaging solution and now your organization is ready for more? Was there a sentinel event (or events) requiring a change or process improvement?
With these considerations in mind, it’s time to plan the approach. Start with an outline of the participants in the process. Assemble a selection committee to serve as your input and advisory team. Consider including users, not just decision-makers.
Assemble the team
One of the most important parts of designing the right outcomes for clinical collaboration software is to begin with collaboration in mind. In the selection committee for a clinical collaboration project, it is imperative that the committee reflects clinical leadership, such as the chief medical officer (CMO) or chief nursing officer (CNO), as well as clinical information leaders – such as the chief medical informatics officer (CMIO), and chief nursing informatics leader (CNIO). While this seems intuitive, in our experience it bears repeating.
We’ve found that an IT-led project achieves better outcomes when balanced with good and consistent input from the clinicians and users of the software. And conversely, if the need originates in the clinical team, it’s important to have early buy-in from the IT organization on the requirements. Part of this consideration is to explore the Who-What-When-Where-Why of clinical collaboration. Said another way – asking the five W’s you would use for questions and problem solving also helps explore the backbone of unified clinical communication. For more on this, read The Five W’s Of Clinical Collaboration.
Now that you’ve organized your stakeholders, its time to move on to the project plan. It begins with key milestones.
Identify your milestones:
- Develop an RFI based on your health system’s requirements
- Consider which software vendors to include in the RFI. You might visit consultant and review websites to round out your short list.
- Review and determine if an RFP is needed; if yes, socialize wioth RFI respondents for completion
- Issue questionnaire/RFP
- Advance 2 – 3 vendors for onsite activities (includes presentations and assessments)
- Visit a customer reference site
- Make a Decision
Remember, it’s more important to make the right decision rather than a quick one.
As we continue this blog series, we’ll highlight the seven key questions to ask when selecting a clinical communication vendor. For now – we’ll leave you with this:
Identifying your health system’s long-term needs and including both clinical and technical decision-makers in the discussion will help you determine the best solution for your team.