Debunking 4 Misbeliefs About Why Vendors Keep Breaking Promises to Providers

Debunking 4 Misbeliefs About Why Vendors Keep Breaking Promises to Providers

Making enticing promises is one thing, but delivering on them is a whole other ball game. For health technology vendors, this age-old lesson is an important one.

Kept promises usually serve as the basis of trust between a vendor and its customer, and the importance of delivering on expectations has become even more crucial as providers across the country battle staffing shortages and rising costs. However, a recent report from KLAS Research revealed that one in four providers it has interviewed in the last 12 months said that health technology vendors haven’t been keeping up with their promises.

Below are some common misbeliefs vendors might have about why so many providers feel that they have broken their promises, according to the report.

Misbelief 1: Large healthcare providers’ expectations for their vendors are often too lofty or complex to satisfy.

KLAS’ research showed that larger providers were actually no more likely to say their vendor didn’t keep its promises than smaller providers. However, there were differences between large and small organizations regarding which broken promises mattered the most.

To smaller providers, unmet expectations mattered most when they affected the IT team — such as shortcomings when it came to integration, system maintenance and support. Larger providers cared most about broken promises that had to do with development, integration speed and the technology’s measurable outcomes, the report revealed.

Misbelief 2: Members of the organization may feel like the vendor didn’t deliver on its promises, but they weren’t all part of the purchasing decision — it’s difficult to satisfy people who may not know exactly what was promised.

Managers, directors and analysts were the respondents who were most likely to say that a vendor kept its promises — and they were probably not in the room when the purchasing agreement was signed. On the other hand, CIOs and COOs were most likely to say that a vendor’s promises were broken.

Common reasons these leaders cited were that they couldn’t measure the technology’s direct impact on patient or operational outcomes and that the vendor wasn’t proactive about sharing information.

Misbelief 3: Vendors find it harder to keep promises for their most complex solutions.

This is not true for all complex products. Complicated solutions such as electronic health records, enterprise resource planning software, and systems to manage population health all saw some favorable satisfaction scores from customers.

But these complex products become even more complicated when they are designed for specific care settings, such as specialty or post-acute care — and that’s when vendors have a harder time keeping promises.

Providers who use these specialized products consistently said that their expectations were not met by vendors. They reported that they felt like an afterthought and didn’t receive a high degree of specific functionalities, training or support, according to the report.

Misbelief 4: The best way to not break promises is to never make them in the first place.

Some customers included in KLAS’ report said that their vendor never made specific promises to them. When providers said this, they also usually reported that their vendor was slow to communicate updates and provide support.

Customer satisfaction scores were similar among respondents who said their vendor doesn’t make promises and those who answered that their vendor broke its promises. The highest-performing vendors when it came to customer satisfaction were the ones that openly communicated about promises, even if the delivery was slow, the report said.

Photo: zhaojiankang, Getty Images

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