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EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 3/29/18

March 29, 2018 Dr. Jayne 1 Comment

The obnoxious post-HIMSS vendor behavior I mentioned last week is getting worse. One vendor was already harassing me, having left messages every day or two by both phone and email. After a week of this, one might assume that your potential sales lead is cold and give it up. This guy hasn’t gotten the message, though, and is now leaving messages that don’t even mention the company name. Maybe it’s intentional, like I will assume he’s someone I know and return the call, or maybe it’s just sloppy. But, “Dr. Jayne, it’s Dave. I’ve been trying to reach you. I’ll try again tomorrow if I don’t hear from you” isn’t terribly professional. I recognize the number from last week’s harassment and you’re not going to hear from me.

My suggestion for salespeople: if your lead seems cold, leave one last message and include who you are and what you have to offer, then give it a rest. “Hi, Dr. Jayne, it’s Dave Smith from HotVendor. You might remember speaking to us at HIMSS about our new retina-scanning drug inventory system. We’ve tried to reach you and I know you’re busy, so if you’d like to connect, you can reach me at 888-555-1212 or by email at DaveSmith@hotvendor.com and we thank you for your time.” That message is more likely to get filed for the next client I run into that needs your particular solution.

A few other vendors have called but all have left reasonable messages, so no complaints about those. Also, plenty of emails even from vendors I don’t remember talking to or visiting. Those are interesting, because I almost always visit their website to play the “what was I thinking” game to try to remember if they caught my eye with their advertising, booth presence, or product. Even with the website, sometimes I can’t figure out what a vendor really does. That always makes me chuckle, so it’s a good mood booster.

Speaking of websites, Mr. H mentioned the announcement of Canvas Medical entering the primary care EHR fray. I had mentioned them a few weeks ago, but not by name. I received a mailing from them pre-HIMSS, but they didn’t mention HIMSS and weren’t there. I thought the timing was odd and would have wanted to look at their product. I’ve checked their website a couple of times in the last few weeks because they did get my attention and found it not ready for prime time, with the blog page having several “lorem ipsum” type placeholders. It looks like they cleaned it up in preparation for yesterday’s actual launch, which is good, but makes me question why they did a direct mail piece directing users to the website if they weren’t ready to roll.

I pulled out the original mailing that I had filed in the “keep an eye out” category. I noticed that they use “EMR” rather than “EHR” to refer to their product. Not sure if that is intentional, but might be since it doesn’t look like they offer a patient portal or maybe they just don’t mention it. They’re up to six practices mentioned on the website,  but one is using the Medfusion portal (along with “non-secure email and Skype”), three appear to have no patient portal, one kicked me over to ihealthinterview.com, and the remaining practice doesn’t seem to have a website. The company is very small and I don’t see anything about certification, which makes it a no-go for many practices. They do offer a MIPS guarantee, stating “if you receive a negative adjustment, we will cover it,” but it’s not clear how they’re executing this. Having worked with a startup EHR that died a rapid death due to lack of certification, I wish them well.

Another item that reached the end of the line was the proposed merger between Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension that would have created the largest hospital operator in the US seems to be over. It appears the organizations will work independently to restructure, feeling that a merger would have taken attention away from the need to restructure as health care deliver moves away from hospitals. Both systems also appear to want to continue to grow, with Ascension acquiring Chicago-based Presence Health earlier this month, even as its CEO told employees via video last week that it will focus on outpatient care and telemedicine.

Ascension has already slashed spending over the last couple of years and plans to save more money by “aligning its pay practice,” which I can tell you from experience at other health systems won’t involve bringing underpaid workers up to the level of their peers. The employee communications mentioned that executives have already taken pay cuts and hinted that employees would be asked to do the same. I touched base with one colleague in an IT-related department and people are already buffing their resumes.

I read with interest Mr. H’s comments on privacy and security and figuring out how much Facebook and Google know about us. I’m relatively “off the grid” despite my being immersed in the tech industry. The fact that I don’t use location services on my phone unless absolutely necessary and rarely identify where I am makes it trickier to know where I’ve been. Since I got new Internet service, my PC thinks it’s in Wisconsin for some reason, so that adds to the mystery as well. If Facebook really wanted to understand our preferences and make sure we saw marketing, maybe they’d give us features such as “hide posts about recipes even if they’re from people we like” and “hide pictures of abused animals.” I have a couple of people I dearly love, but they post so much in these two categories, I worry that I’ll miss something important from them.

Speaking of missing something important, I had the unsettling experience this week of learning somewhat via Facebook that a colleague had passed away. Someone had posted earlier in an email group that we’re part of that he had no-showed a meeting on Monday, which was unusual for him, and wondered if anyone had heard from him. I had corresponded with him last month about an upcoming meeting, but hadn’t heard anything since. One group member had met with him on Friday and things seemed fine. A few hours later, another email popped up with a screenshot from his Facebook page, where someone posted “Can’t believe the news, RIP.” Since he joined the gig economy as an independent contractor, it’s not like there was a corporate office that would notify his customers, so I guess finding out this way makes sense. Emerging technologies and scattered social networks make for some uncharted etiquette waters at times. My condolences to his loved ones, wherever they may be.

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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. As a sales rep (not Dave!) we get dozens of “prospects” that we think are “leads” from HIMSS. Most of the time, the prospects have engaging conversations where they share information about their organization and how much our product/services would help them out. We exchange information and I write a note about our conversation so I don’t forget.

    The next week, I send a follow up email. If I don’t get a response, the next week I send another. This may go on for a few weeks before I get the hint that your not interested.

    Not condoning this salesperson as I personally would get the hint and would never call/email back to back.

    A little advice though, next time your at HIMSS and you are having a conversation. Have the decency to tell the sales rep that your not interested, its a waste of both our times and your getting the sales rep’s hopes up that she/he has just received a good lead.

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