Healthcare News & Insights

Partnering with the right vendors for your hospital

Hospitals that run smoothly provide some of the best care. And one way to operate a fluid facility is to work with the best vendors for your facility and patients. In this guest post, Jay Juffre, executive VP of operations and national service director for a provider of healthcare laundry services, gives key steps for vetting vendors and red flags to watch out for.

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People visit hospitals to receive medical care, but how they receive that care is arguably just as important as the treatment itself. As recent trends in patient experience correlate more and more with staff engagement – 68% in 2017 vs. 44% in 2015 – in order for staff to provide quality service themselves, quality service must be provided to them first. Choosing the right vendors is a crucial process in the overall success of a hospital, yet one that is often hurried due to time and financial constraints. By partnering with the right vendors, you can provide peace of mind for both you and your staff, allowing them to focus on what matters most – the patient.

As you begin the selection process, here are some key steps for vetting vendors, and the warning signs all purchasers should look out for:

Determine core competencies

Vendors should not only demonstrate specific knowledge and understanding of the various needs of a hospital, but should also be well versed in the needs of each department within a hospital as well. Choose a vendor that has a proven track record of working with hospitals for both large- and small-scale services to ensure you’ll get the best service possible.

Red flag: Vendors that claim they can be everything to everyone by offering a one-size-fits-all solution. Odds are they can’t, and they won’t.

Assess communication skills

Ensure the sales process is as transparent as possible, and that all questions you have are either answered during initial discussions, or are followed up on by management afterward to ensure there are no discrepancies.

Red flag: Receiving conflicting information from sales representatives and account managers is a good indication that what you’re promised upon signup isn’t what you’ll receive upon delivery.

Evaluate customer service procedures

Whether big or small, any problems or concerns brought to the attention of your vendor should be handled efficiently and effectively by their customer service team. As you go through the vetting process, make note of those vendors that are quick to respond and offer assistance.

Red flag: Having to jump through hoops to get simple issues remedied is a good sign you’ll likely have to do the same, or more, for larger issues that could arise down the road.

Track employee retention

Throughout the selection process and beyond, prioritize vendors that have allocated a dedicated representative on your behalf. This will ensure your hospital received consistent, quality service from an employee that truly understands your needs.

Red flag: Frequent changes to your point of contact is usually a sign of employee unrest, and signals a potentially unstable company.

Check references

Partner with vendors that prioritize transparency, and offer references so that you may do your due diligence before moving forward. A vendor who’s willing to connect you with previous or current clients is proud of their work, and therefore has nothing to hide.

Red flag: If they’re wary to connect you with someone they’ve previously done business with, there’s a good chance it’s because they delivered less-than-adequate services.

When choosing the best vendors to partner with for your hospital, there are many factors to consider. By following these steps, however, you’ll have an easier time honing in on the right ones to invest in, and the wrong ones to do business with. As a result, you’ll be able to cultivate a happier work environment for your staff and patients, as well as a more efficient hospital.

Jay Juffre is the executive VP of operations and national service director for ImageFIRST, a provider of healthcare laundry services.

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