April 23, 2019
We’ve all been there- a year into a new relationship (with your IT provider) and it just isn’t working out. You did everything possible when “dating”: stalked them on social media, talked to their friends, and even dated around to find the one. Too bad it just didn’t work out. After a year (or more) full of broken promises, missed anniversaries, and little squabbles, it’s time to move on. Sound familiar?
When you think you’ve found the one, it can be hard to let go. After all, your IT partner can be mixed into your day-to-day to the point that it seems impossible to make a switch. Our best advice is to let go of the emotion and understand that switching IT will be an investment of time and money. But, once you’re through the process, it will be worth it. There are a few different reasons to break up with your IT partner.
Level of service can often define how strong of a relationship you’re in. If your IT provider isn’t cutting it, it’s a good sign that it’s time to look for a partner that does. How do you know if this is the case? Ask yourself if your IT partner is meeting the terms of your Service Level Agreement (SLA).
Are tickets being handled in a timely manner?
Are your questions being answered in a way that you understand?
Are your frustrations being escalated appropriately to the team that can solve the issue?
Beyond simply meeting the SLA in place, it’s a good idea to assess the team overall. If they’re meeting your SLA but something always seems to fall short, or if they’re simply not a fit with your culture, that level of service may be worth the switch.
Hey, we get it. People change, practices change, even IT companies change. Often transition periods and times of growth can make it evident that your old IT partner may not be able to meet your new needs. If your practice is growing, opening new locations, adding a few more providers, changing EHRs, and your IT partner can’t keep up, it’s time to make a change.
The trick here is not realizing too late. If you have an important project, like opening a new location, you don’t want to realize 3 months before opening that your current IT vendor doesn’t have the capacity to help you complete the opening! Have an honest conversation early and often during periods of change, and if that change is outside of your IT partner’s ability, pull in a new partner sooner rather than later.
Partnerships can either end peacefully, or with a bang. Sometimes, the impossible-to-ignore bang is the final event that causes the relationship to end. If you’ve ever experienced a catastrophic event with your IT provider, you know what we mean. Servers down, network failing, data loss, or any event that makes it impossible for your staff to access medical records or go about their day would count as a knock-down, drag-out bang.
After a catastrophic event, it’s important to assess: 1) how your IT vendor responded to the event and 2) whether your IT partner could have prevented the event. In either case poor response and/or lack of prevention, it’s probably time to find a new partner.
It can be tough to make the case to switch IT partners. In order to help see things clearly, let’s look at the facts. Make a list of all the IT issues you’ve had just in the past 6 months and note your IT provider’s response. Was it satisfactory?
After you have a list started, link it to the bottom line. Did your network fail for three days? Were you unable to see patients during that time? Obviously, not being able to see patients for days on end is a worst-case scenario, but it’s one that we hear often from practices before we begin working with them.
If your frustrations aren’t as severe, think of how much a slow network costs you, how frustrated providers get over having too many clicks, or any other IT –related issues that stop your staff from being as efficient as they could be. Inefficiency is a slow and steady drain on the bottom line.
Once you’ve made the decision to switch, remember all the reasons why. Sometimes, the grass is greener on the other side. Achieving peace with technology in the long-term is well worth the short-term disruptions that switching may require. Changing IT vendors can have a positive impact on staff morale, productivity, patient experience, and the bottom line.
No one likes change. Whether that comes in life, or at work, change is universally difficult. But, ask yourself, what is the impact if you don’t change? If your practice is negatively affected by this partnership, it’s time to break up. In IT, just like in a relationship, remember to always do what is right for you.
Becca comes to Systeem after earning her M.A. and M.B.A from Southern Methodist University. She has a passion for writing and sharing ways practices can find peace with technology.