In an article published in the Nashville Business Journal, Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Bob Brewer provided eight tips for contract negotiations between healthcare providers and technology vendors, as well as proper implementation to minimize risk:

  1. Diligence & Scope: To avoid surprises and contentious change orders, it is important to accurately scope the services, fees, users, deliverables and dependencies.
  2. Proposals / Agreements: RFPs can be used by companies to conduct due diligence, pre-negotiate contractual terms and determine when sales teams are making promises they can’t keep.
  3. Implementation Roles and Responsibilities: Once there is a defined scope and completed diligence, it is critical to assign to one party or the other, document roles and responsibilities and incorporate those obligations into the contract.
  4. Governance and Communications: There should be formal and frequent reporting between parties to assess whether a dependency was missed and escalate the issue appropriately.
  5. Acceptance Testing: Acceptance testing is often underutilized, but it is extremely useful to experience whether the system operates as expected in a production environment and to help identify gaps in workflows and interdependencies.
  6. Business Team Continuity: Throughout the project, it is critical that the team include individuals involved in early negotiations through to implementation and maintenance.
  7. Quality Metrics: Warranties, service-level agreements, response times and resolution procedures for chronic and catastrophic issues are vital.
  8. Escalation: Support escalation and “all hands on deck” concepts are critical to a functional, ongoing relationship.

The full article, “Striking the Balance: How to Negotiate a Technology Contract for Your Healthcare Company,” was published in the March 13 print edition of the Nashville Business Journal.