Choosing Healthcare Vendors: 4 things healthcare providers and payers need to consider

By Carl Natale
08:50 AM

There is no way you're going implement ICD-10 coding without spending money.

You need to hire healthcare vendors or consultants to at least upgrade your systems. Or you may need someone to manage the whole process. Here are some basic principles and tips to help you choose the right vendor:

Healthcare organizations, know thyself

Pete Rivera covers "Tips for Managing Healthcare Vendor Relationships" in this Hayes Management post. The most important part maybe the systems review. You need to understand what you have and where you are before you pick someone to sell you new systems or tools.

Once you clear that, here are some takeaways on the vendor selection process:

  • Make a short list of two or three vendors.
  • Don't just ask for demos. Prepare some scenarios that highlight your organization's challenges and ask the vendors to show how their solutions work in those conditions.
  • Make scorecards that are simple  to use when collecting data.

Vendor management is a project

I summarized some of the concepts in a couple posts last week:

The tips that stick out because not enough people are talking about them are:

  • You can't hire a vendor and forget about them.
  • Agree to definitions of success and failure before you sign.
  • Figure out now what do if the vendor doesn't measure up to agreed upon standards.

There's more to this than signing a contract.

Testing, this project on?

Steve Sisko, a healthcare information systems consultant for payers, brings up some good talking points for planning testing when it comes to ICD-10 vendors and consultants. Because testing is either going to make your ICD-10 project a success or a fiasco.

There is a silver lining

This week I summarized a presentation by Joe Miller, director of E-Business at AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies, on busting ICD-10 myths. At the end of his slides, he had a point that didn't quite qualify as a myth yet is worth repeating here.

Miller said he heard from someone at a large healthcare facility in Philadelphia. They said that 60 percent of their costs to implement ICD-10 coding was already budgeted in "competing initiatives."

That means all the other "mandates" and changes that healthcare providers need to manage can overlap ICD-10 projects. The burden may be less than feared.

Carl Natale blogs regularly at