Joanna Wyganowska, VP of Marketing | Infinite Leap
Whether you are at the starting point of developing a strategic plan to utilize Real-Time Technologies or at a point where you are trying to figure out how to further leverage an existing RTLS infrastructure it is critical to come to agreement on what opportunities will bring you the most value. However, that is easier said than done. Below are the items that are often forgotten when healthcare organizations begin to move forward. Don’t let these issues derail your strategic use of Real-Time Technologies.
1) Gathering Insufficient or Potentially Biased Information: avoid basing your decision upon information received solely from PRODUCT vendors. Vendors, rightfully so, will look to convince you of why their product is the best. However, it’s more important to hear from actual users, and more importantly to hear from users as to what issues they were trying to solve, and what the results were. Don’t get tied into believing that the best marketed products are the best products. Be open to other options, that are well tested and proven. Consider looking to independent parties who keep tabs on the market and aren’t motivated by a commission check to provide you insight. Don’t underestimate the value of investing in site visits and reference checks.
2) Staying in the Comfort Zone: avoid choosing a vendor ONLY because you’ve worked with them in the past. I’m not suggesting that familiarity or past success is a bad thing, but it can limit the possibilities you can work with. If you aren’t open to new things, then you could possibly miss out on a chance for good innovative solutions or components. Innovation and open solutions also are key to driving the price of technology down. Competition is a great thing for everyone involved. Likewise, we are big advocates of open architectures. Meaning that your solution should be able to incorporate components from multiple vendors without contractual or technical obstacles. So, with an open architecture you should be validating what new opportunities exist from others in the market, at least annually. Look to innovate. Break out of that comfort zone!
3) Becoming Complacent and Not Questioning Assumptions: avoid assuming that you know everything that needs to be known. Ensure all assumptions are written and validated with vendors before deciding upon a solution. Further, ask questions, and we mean A LOT OF QUESTIONS. If product vendors use assumptions in their proposals or presentation, ask them to clearly articulate what those are so that you can be sure that the right data is being used. Incorrect assumptions can result in inaccurate decisions.
4) Limiting Diversity in the Selection Process: avoid keeping the discussion process to a very SELECTIVE group of people. Invite representatives from various departments, such as IT, Clinical, Bio-Med, Patient Safety to hear their opinions and needs. Include both Executives, as well as front line staff and providers. All roles impact operational goals, and you will learn a ton by asking people from different areas. And importantly, don’t exclude those people who you know are doubters. They ask great questions, even though sometimes they ask them in a way that is less than productive. Inclusion of their perceptions will not only help you shape a solution, but help you develop a strategy as to what will need to be done to help socialize the use of Real-Time Technologies and get to a point of rapid acceptance and excitement.
5) Not Envisioning the Objective: avoid jumping into a project without defining what success would look like. Ensure you have a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) agreed upon to measure if you are on the path to success. And don’t wait with sharing if things are not going as planned, that’s your opportunity to regroup and ask for additional support to hit the end goal. If your plan doesn’t include periodic check points to validate whether success is being realized, it probably means that it isn’t.
Of course, there are many more things that can trip up a complex project like this. Many of which can be avoided through the guidance of experience. This list is a starting point. Please reach out to us if you want to receive more tips on how to make solid Real-Time Technologies decisions.