Providing feedback to HIT vendors: Five strategies that work

Customer feedback is the unsung hero of quality health IT solutions. It raises awareness of user frustrations and seeds ideas for greater innovation. So, enough with the workarounds. Become an agent of change with these five simple steps.
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At times, it can be easy to forget that on the other side of the technology we use are people: people trying to make the best products possible, and people striving to troubleshoot issues when they arise. Whether dealing with EHR integrations, updates to medical coding software, or information sharing between providers, problems are inevitable. Even when best practices have been implemented, there is often still room for improvement in the software itself. That’s why feedback is so incredibly important. Here are some tips on providing that feedback effectively.

1) Reach out to the right person or place

If you already have a contact at the company, use it. Whether it’s your former sales representative, an implementation specialist, your account manager, or even a marketing person you met at a tradeshow, a familiar face is a great place to start. If you don’t know anyone, almost all company websites contain a contact us web form. If you’re stuck, it’s often easiest to find by searching for “Company Name, Tech Support” in your web browser.

2) Be clear and thorough

Provide as much detail as possible as you describe your suggestion. For example, if you’re submitting feedback electronically, always try to include screenshots or attach files that illustrate the issue. If you’re giving feedback in person, be sure to exchange business cards so you can send additional information later.

3) Go one step at a time

If you have multiple pieces of feedback, provide them sequentially. This is especially important when sending information electronically, since feedback often needs to be routed to a specific person or department in order to be properly addressed. If there are multiple pieces of information in a single submission, some may simply get lost in the process or overlooked while responding to a different matter.

4) Make yourself (and your colleagues) heard

There’s power in numbers, so encourage your colleagues and peers to share their thoughts too. Sometimes the suggestion of one person can put things into motion, but organizations are often more likely to act if they hear the same issues raised by multiple people.

5) Be persistent

If your feedback doesn’t promptly result in change, don’t give up. Inaction isn’t a reflection of the value of feedback you’ve provided. Sometimes, different groups of customers have contradictory needs and there isn’t a way to address them all. Or, your recommendation may be something the organization doesn’t have the time or capacity to address right now. Change is slow. You may very well see your suggestion added to a version a little further down the road.

Do you have a suggestion for IMO? We’d love to hear from you. Call us at 847-613-6655 or fill out the form at imohealth.com/contact-us/.

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