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:
- Diligence & Scope: To avoid surprises and contentious change orders, it is important to accurately scope the services, fees, users, deliverables and dependencies.
- 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.
- 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.
- Governance and Communications: There should be formal and frequent reporting between parties to assess whether a dependency was missed and escalate the issue appropriately.
- 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.
- Business Team Continuity: Throughout the project, it is critical that the team include individuals involved in early negotiations through to implementation and maintenance.
- Quality Metrics: Warranties, service-level agreements, response times and resolution procedures for chronic and catastrophic issues are vital.
- 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.