With aging populations, advances in medical technology and the growing importance of ‘e-health’, software vendors are focusing more attention than ever on the health market. But with so many newcomers, how can you know you’re choosing the right software provider?

Healthcare is a buoyant industry, with many opportunities for growth – and technology is a vital part of its future. Determining which products, services and vendors are the right fit for their organization and its individual needs is a major challenge for health executives. However, with a clear set of criteria, choosing a health software provider doesn’t need to be daunting.

Know what you want

Before you do anything else you must establish your expectations. Have a clear understanding of the issues facing your organization, as well as a thorough list of the requirements the new software must fulfill.

Although it’s important that key stakeholders are consulted, having too much input at this stage can result in cost blowouts down the track. Resist demands for unnecessary features – taking a daunting list of ‘must-haves’ to management for approval could sink your project before it’s even begun.

Always determine your business requirements before you start meeting with software providers.

Genuine health expertise

Do your due diligence when assessing healthcare software vendors or technology partners. A healthcare software provider may offer any number of different packages, platforms, software, and systems to streamline and help your organization meet industry standards – in theory.

Ask yourself, can this provider offer genuine health expertise, and an understanding of your organization’s needs? Can they clearly demonstrate how their products and services would fit with your infrastructure and business plans?

Any reputable provider will have case studies from a range of satisfied customers across all industries they work in. Compare case studies across vendors, and if possible contact existing clients, to get as broad a picture as possible of the offerings out there.

Scale and adaptability

Vendors that can show that they are adaptable to changes in market and healthcare regulation will offer more to your organization in the long term. Ensure that any provider you consider can customize and scale their software solutions and technology services as your organization grows, and in line with any new industry requirements. The right candidate will grow together with your organization and adapt as the relationship progresses.

Long-term commitment

As in love and life, the right long-term relationship takes time to find. We rarely buy software systems outright anymore, but instead subscribe to continually evolving platforms, so your relationship with any vendor will be as much about company culture as it is about the services and products they can provide.

If a vendor offers additional services, that could indicate that they can create a package that will grow with your organization. On the other hand, it could mean that they’re overpromising – and will later under deliver.

Look to their business history and objectives: Is the company growing? Do you trust the vendor’s support team? Take your time to get to know those working on your account – you could be beginning a relationship that lasts for years.

In short, regardless of the type of software your organization is looking for, ensuring you follow a clear set of criteria in finding a vendor – genuine health expertise, a clear vision of the problem the product is solving and a long-term commitment to the product – will help you succeed.