Medical practices of all types tend to have quite a few vendor relationships integral to their daily operations. Some of the key vendors a medical practice might rely on include software and EHR vendors, medical suppliers, and medical waste management companies. These are just a sampling of the many pieces that become part of the puzzle that is a medical practice.
With shrinking resources and increasing demands on every employee of a medical practice, it’s important vendor relationships are optimized, efficient and productive.
Below are tips to make sure these goals are achieved in all of your vendor relationships.
Be Aware of Your Own Needs
Before you enter the pre-contract phase of choosing a vendor, it’s important to know, in extremely specific terms, what it is you need for your practice. That’s the only way you’re really going to be able to find the right company to partner with.
Focus on Communication
One of the primary reasons there are difficulties that arise from practice-vendor relationships is because of a lack of communication or a lack of clarity in communication. A good idea to alleviate problems stemming from communication is to have one person within your practice serve as the point person for vendors.
It may be that are different communication representatives for varying vendors, but regardless, each vendor should expect only to talk to a single individual. When this happens, it can streamline and simplify communication, and take away a lot of the potential issues. The same should go for the vendor.
Ask if your practice representative can work with a single person from their company.
Cheapest Isn’t Always Best
Of course, the price is an important consideration when you’re deciding whether or not you’ll partner with a particular vendor, but cheapest doesn’t automatically mean it’s the best option. Before you decide on a provider, make sure you’re aware of any possible additional expenses that could arise once you sign a contract.
For example, if you’re in the process of choosing a medical waste disposal company, you should try to make sure they a full-service, which includes not just pickup but also proper treatment, disposal training, and compliance protocols are part of the package. What a lot of medical practices end up finding is that what appear to be the cheapest vendors can often work out to be the most expensive in the long-term.
Regularly Review Your Current Relationships
A lot of medical practices will make the mistake of sticking with long-term vendor contracts, without regularly reviewing them to make sure they’re as beneficial as they can be. It’s most advantageous to try and review contracts on a quarterly basis.
This will make sure even small practices are getting the attention they deserve from their vendors, and it’s also the ideal time to rethink contract terms, pricing, and overall relationships.
Handle Problems Proactively
If a problem does arrive that’s causing disruptions in the vendor-practice relationship, don’t be afraid to address it head-on. It’s not unusual for there to be small issues, and practice representatives should be willing to deal with it before it escalates into something more challenging to solve or something that leads to a disruption in the level of service provided to patients.
The vendor-practice relationship is an incredibly important one, and various vendors provide doctors and medical facilities with the products and services they need to remain successful.
Tips like the ones listed above can ensure practices are making the most of these vendor relationships, while also keeping their operations on track.