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maintenance, while extended enterprise architecture ensures compliance with new health IT policies and initiatives within hospitals and clinics in addition to a growing number of merger and acquisitions of practices and clinics with diff erent systems. Given the variable levels of technology expertise among users, ease of use should also be a top criterion in choosing the right products and software selections, but it is often overlooked.

John Glaser,

Ph.D., CEO, Health Services, Siemens

Glaser: T e top priority should be relevance to mission, vision, fi nances and operations, because that will then drive the other decision- making criteria. An HIT system investment is just that – an investment in the organization’s infrastructure. Additionally, working with a vendor that is committed to helping your organization achieve its goals and that will work with you as those goals – driven by market demands, environ-

mental dynamics, regulatory and legislative requirements – evolve.

Barry Chaiken, Chief Medical Information Offi cer, Infor

Chaiken: IT purchasing needs to be based upon relevance to mission, vision, fi nances and operations. Purchasing IT to keep up with current trends does nothing to address the needs of an organization. In addition, it can lead to a poorly implemented IT solution that fails to meet the needs of the organization. A clear vision of organizational goals produces a clear view of what software is required to meet those goals. T is allows high-quality vendors to guide an IT implementation that provides

value early and throughout the product life cycle. Although pricing may be important in the short term, software costs are just a fraction of the total cost of a product, and therefore must be evaluated on the value provided. Reworking implementa- tions can be very disruptive to operations, and very expensive.

Kent Rowe, Vice President of Sales, ZirMed

Rowe: T e overall value and return on invest- ment. Price matters, as do ongoing mainte- nance and service costs, but you have to view those in the context of other savings and ben- efi ts. Interfacing and integrating with existing/ new systems often gets overlooked, especially for future-proofi ng. Is the new product you’re thinking about purchasing vendor-neutral and interoperable? What if, a year from now, a ven- dor sunsets one of your current core systems?

Are the services you’re purchasing dependent upon that system?

Bob Baumgartner, Director, Product Marketing, Mckesson Technology Solutions

Baumgartner: Relevance to mission, vision, finances and operations is key. With the increased pressures of both regulatory and fi nancial constraints being placed on health- care environments, it becomes critical that they ensure that any and all IT expenditures facilitate their eff orts to achieve their mission. Facilities that do not focus on this area will continue the siloed and ineffi cient disparate

Mac McMillan, CEO, CynergisTek

McMillan: Approaching this from a “privacy and security” perspective, the questions that are important fall into three basic categories: T ose related to development, those related to maintenance and administration, and those related to compliance. Some examples for each: Development • What platform is the product developed on? • Does the product require any third-party


Mark Byers, CEO, President and Co-Founder, DSS Inc.

Charlie Lougheed, President and Chief Strategy Offi cer, Explorys

network of data within their healthcare environment. And with the ongoing consolidation within the market, IT will be tasked more than ever to ensure the future systems are open to support the greater mission of the facility: Reduced costs with higher quality outcomes.

What are some of the essential questions that must be answered by IT departments to determine the optimal IT products and services they need?

Lougheed: IT departments need to make sure they not only understand the needs of the business units they serve, but also make sure they understand the market trends and the approach that their peers are taking to solve these challenges. It’s also important to observe the signals of the venture capital community, particularly in the rapidly evolv- ing healthcare IT space. T ere is a lot of investment capital fl owing into this market. Understanding where and why that money is fl owing can help IT leaders see where others are placing their bets.

Byers: IT departments must ask themselves the following: • How quickly could our infrastructure capacity requirements increase? Decrease? To what extent? And, what are the most likely scenarios?

• How rapidly are key technologies changing and evolving? Where in their life cycles are the products we’re considering? What’s on the horizon?

• What are our current and future service level requirements for uptime and availability?

• Beyond readily available, online resources, what potential business capabilities will have the greatest positive impact on revenue generation and operational eff ectiveness?

• Who is the end-user and how do they interact with the customer and other IT systems?

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