Although my viewpoint is probably somewhat biased given my day job with a heath IT vendor, I hold the firm conviction that the health IT vendors have an important and valuable role to play in helping shape local, regional, provincial, and national health IT plans. The extent to which organizations across Canada consult with vendors outside the formal procurement process varies considerably, though I am noting a gradual trend towards more meaningful engagement.
A number of healthcare IT organizations including Canada Health Infoway, Manitoba eHealth, and the Chief Health Information Officer’s office at the Nova Scotia Department of Health, for example, hold periodic briefing sessions. In addition, ITAC Health works with organizations such as eHealth Ontario to organize vendor information sessions.
As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, one of the more innovative organizations with respect to vendor engagement is the South West LHIN. Shortly after joining the organization, Glenn Lanteigne, the LHIN CIO, instituted what he calls “Vendor Fridays”. These 2 to 3 hour sessions provide an opportunity for vendors to offer insight into how their products and services can help the LHIN achieve its strategic objectives. Equally important, these sessions provide a forum for vendors to chat with LHIN IT staff and interested provider stakeholders about their needs.
Not content with the information flow that “Vendor Fridays” has engendered, the South West LHIN recently invited vendors to participate in a “Consumer eHealth Innovation Day”. This “public – private sector” workshop is the first of five workshops designed, in Glenn’s words, to “address real-life LHIN issues and explore how these types of solutions can help and how“. Other topic areas that will be addressed in future workshops align with the LHIN eHealth strategy. These areas include Capacity Management, Decision Support, Quality, and the Electronic Health Record.
The Consumer eHealth Innovation workshop will take place on Thursday, June 30th, at the University of Western Ontario’s Research Park Convention Centre. You can find more details here or by calling 519-640-2592 or emailing Jordan.lange@LHINS.ON.CA.
What do you think of the South West LHIN’s efforts to meaningful engage health IT vendors? Do you have any suggestions for how healthcare organizations can meaningfully engage health IT vendors?