by Houston Klassen, Executive VP, Infinite Leap
There is constant movement in the technology space. Startups enter the market space, companies are merging to consolidate and gain market advantage, and some vendors go out of business or get acquired in a fire sale. This process is inevitable, regardless of the industry or the technology.
As a technology user, you might end up on the positive side of change, when the company, through a merger or an acquisition, provides its clients with more product choices and continued R&D investment. Overall, the free market continues to prove that valuable products, good solutions, and companies that focus on their customers’ needs will not only survive, but grow. Even these companies that end up not making it commercially tend to contribute to the innovation that is needed to drive technology advancements and adoption. Still, it can be concerning for end users to see the market moves happening, especially if they aren’t confident in the viability of their current vendor.
The best way to prevent unexpected surprises is to perform a regular (typically annual) assessment of your technology selection, including its technical and business viability.
Here are a few questions you should consider:
· How are we using RTLS? What processes does it impact (e.g. finding equipment, monitoring temperatures for compliance, orchestrating patient flow)? Are any of these use cases mission critical?
· Who will be impacted if our RTLS system stops working? My patients, my nurses, my biomed technicians? How will it impact our patient and staff satisfaction or safety?
· If our RTLS data is used for compliance, such as reporting historical temperatures or delivering documentation into the EHR, where is that data stored and how has it been backed up? And, can we access the backups now?
· What other systems are integrated with my RTLS system? What would it mean to our nurse call, CMMS, or EHR systems if RTLS data stopped flowing? Will the loss of RTLS data impact the integrity of any other systems or information?
· What specific hardware and software components do we use? Will we be able to buy replacement parts if the vendor goes out of business? What if the software stops functioning?
· How do we provide systemic support without the vendor’s assistance? Are we able to keep it operational by ourselves?
· How long can we maintain our current system? Is there an alternate solution available?
· What would it take to convert our current RTLS solution to another software/hardware vendor, in terms of the budget, resources, and timing?
As you go through these questions, you will likely have one of two responses: you may feel relieved that you are in good shape, or you may realize that you are not ready to face any unusual situations, such as your technology vendor going out of business or being purchased by another company.
If your assessment brought up any yellow flags, it is time to act and prepare mitigation plans so you can sleep well at night knowing that you are ready for any situation.
If you don’t feel that you can objectively assess your situation, we can help walk you through this process, so you can get a clear picture of where you are now and where the winds of technology change might take you. In many cases, we are able to help healthcare organizations not only mitigate risk, but also rapidly improve the value received from existing investments.
Please feel free to contact me on LinkedIn if you would like to talk further.