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Building Successful Vendor Relationships

We recently sat down with Comagine Health’s director of Health IT Consulting, Nick Faulkner, to talk about how state and federal agencies can build successful collaborative relationships with vendors.

Nick will be taking part in a panel discussion of the topic at the State Healthcare IT Connect Summit, May 17-21, 2021.

What do you recommend agencies do to set themselves up for success with new vendors?

It’s important to prioritize straightforward, open communication about the project’s purpose and goals from the very beginning. These should be clearly conveyed during the procurement process and reinforced through the documents that become a part of the contract.

Ensuring that overall project success is defined the same way for both the vendor and the agency goes a long way in avoiding conflicts down the road. Creating an environment where open information sharing is encouraged and supported also helps to ensure a healthy project relationship.

What tools and best practices do you recommend?

Establishing a shared communication platform (Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype, etc.) at the beginning of the project is critical. A shared work management system (Jira, Trello, Basecamp, etc.) is equally important. The specific tool isn’t really the important part; there are many good choices available. The real benefit of these types of tools is that they allow a blended team that may be in multiple locations to easily communicate and collaborate.

Teams can quickly realize benefits by holding consistent joint status meetings. These make sure everyone is on the same page and can work to clear blockers.

Another great step states can take to build strong relationships with their vendors is to be transparent about the deliverable review process. This can take the form of conducting shared team code reviews or giving feedback on documents in joint sessions.

How can state agencies adopt these practices to ensure a higher project success rate?

State agencies need a partner that can work with them to create strong vendor relationships. States should strive to find vendors that are willing and able to work in modern ways and have deep, relevant experience.

Learn more about Comagine Health’s Health IT Consulting services.

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