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One Question Medical Leaders Should Ask IT

As a business leader, you will eventually be responsible for selecting a vendor to help with the implementation of a system critical to your business.  The vendor may be an external software provider, a consulting company, or a team from your internal IT department.

As the leader responsible for the performance of the team who will use the system, it is your responsibility to ensure a successful implementation.  There is one question that you can ask to ensure that your IT partner is up for the task:

“Can you explain to me how my team works?”

It is common for the software vendor, consultant, or IT professional to be asking the medical team, “How should I configure this part or that part of the system?”  When this is what you hear from your partner, it is likely because they do not understand the business or the processes they are trying to enable with the system at the right level of detail to be effective.  When they leave the conversation with you there will be dozens of additional configuration decisions that may get made.  If the partner does not understand the business or processes, they will either make false assumptions about those configuration decisions or there could be delays as they bring the team back together for further detail.

Your partner should know the system configuration options better than you will.  So telling them how they should configure the system is silly.  Instead, teach them about medical affairs and your processes so that you can ask them how it should be configured.  By asking the question, “Can you explain to me how my team and processes work?” you confirm that they understand and then empower them to explain to you how the system should be configured to meet those needs or where there will be a gap.


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