HIMSS Tips & Tricks: How to make an HIT vendor squirm

Our team going to HIMMS this year will disown me for this article, but it’s the middle of winter in New England and the short, cold days bring out my snarky side. For some time, I’ve been writing a technology blog aimed at Dads. My tech journalism enables me to attend the Consumer Electronics Show each year in January, where the latest and greatest consumer technology is on display. Companies bring their products in hopes that customers, analysts and press will pay attention. Covering the show, I get to ask these vendors the tough questions that make them squirm as I try to assess the real value of their product offerings. We’re off to HIIMSS (booth #5168) shortly and I will soon be on the other side of the show booth – answering those same questions. So, here are the inquiries that will cause sweat to bead up on a vendor’s brow.

Can you show me actual working software?
That’s right, no demo-ware, no PowerPoint slides, no screen shots. You want to see the real thing with live data. You want to see how to navigate between functions and how usable the User Experience/User Interface (UX/UI) is. You want to see if you can get the product out of the hands of the vendor and then do your best to muck up the pre-programmed show. Nothing puts more fear into the heart of a sales rep than a demo that’s gone off script.

Is this available now?
At CES this year, I asked that question to one company who answered, “It will be in Beta in the third quarter.” That means that I could actually buy it and use it sometime during the next President’s administration. One year in real time is like seven years in the smartphone software market. I leave writing about the distant future to sci-fi authors and you should take the same approach with “it will be here sometime” software.

Where can I buy it?
Amazingly, getting new technology into your hospital can be a frustrating exercise. Make sure that the software is available through a trusted source, such as a major distributor or via a GPO. You’ll thank me later on this one.

Put us to the test
We’re at booth #5168 this year at HIMMS, so stop by, ask our team these questions and test them out. I’ll be there as well (if the team doesn’t banish me from the booth) and I look forward to your best efforts in trying to put us off our game!

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