Sitting in the Shopping Cart: IT Tips for RSNA 2015
By Michael J. Cannavo
Most IT and C-suite people are about as excited about going to the RSNA as a child is going to the grocery store with their mom. They hope mom buys them some candy to make the trip worthwhile, but often have no choice but to sit in the cart and watch as items are piled in.
That doesn’t need to be the case at RSNA and shouldn’t be, either. IT folks and C-suites have a responsibility to make sure the products and services being purchase make sense from a technical, operational, and financial standpoint. Following these tips should help the trip be more productive and provide a better overall solution for the facility.
- Ask pointed, directed questions. Don’t be shy. Have questions ready that you will ask of all vendors that require more than a simple yes or no answer. How do you do it, not just do you it.
- Be consistent. Apples to apples is key, with each vendor getting asked the same questions. If you uncover something that may require further elaboration, go back and ask the others the same question.
- Lead, don’t follow. It is very easy for a vendor to take you down the path that best projects their products, but that may not necessarily be one that best meet your needs. The Yellow Brick Road was good for Dorothy, but isn’t for you. Take control of the discussion..
- Interoperability. One of the biggest buzzwords in IT today is interoperability. Don’t just ask where a vendor has connected to an EHR. Find out where and how they have done it and who you can talk to there about it. What resources were required (internal and external as well as financial)? How much time did it take?
- Support. Does the vendor provide a data dashboard or allow you to integrate to one? How much support can you provide internally and what can and can you not have access to? These are crucial questions.
- Facts, not fiction. Where have you done it with an EHR like we have in place? Don’t fall for a simple “yes, we can.” Pretend you are from Missouri, the Show Me state. Who can I talk to who has done it?
- Talk to engineers. If you want the unfiltered truth, talk with a systems engineer. They are easy to spot — the wrinkled shirt that just came out of the Walmart bag and the loose 1980s vintage tie they borrowed from their dad. They are also the ones who also talk nonstop about anything and everything <laugh>.
- Bail on the demo. RSNA is the absolute worst place to get a full product demo unless you just want a quick and dirty overview. Do the demo at your facility, where you can examine the product in detail, walk it through its paces, and ask the questions to get the answers you want and need.
- Get contacts. Your IT counterparts are the best source of information. Get names, phone numbers, and e-mails of those who are similar to you.
- Relax. Consider this a first date, not an “I do” situation. Don’t hesitate to cut your losses early Trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t.
Michael J. Cannavo, aka The PACSMan, is owner of Image Management Consultants of Winter Springs, FL.