Buying a Clinical Information Technology System

Buying a clinical information technology system challenges every organization’s senior management team. Unlike other administrative applications that help manage a facility, the clinical information technology system touches directly the lives of patients and the work flow of physicians, nurses, and other clinicians. Careers and entire organizations can be ruined by poor vendor choices and botched implementations (e.g., installation of the software and hardware) and deployments (e.g., introduction of applications to end users). Poorly chosen clinical information technology systems can drive physicians to competitor institutions, impact facility accreditation, and in some cases invite litigation due to unexpected morbidity or mortality.

As frightening as this task is, the best way to be successful is to be humble. Senior executives must accept the fact that full investigation of the features and functionality of clinical information technology systems before purchase is impossible. No individual or committee has the technical expertise and available time to effectively evaluate and fully review the capabilities of a comprehensive clinical information technology system. Therefore, organizations must base their decision to purchase systems on factors that function as surrogates for the usefulness and appropriateness of the systems in its institutions. These may include such items as the source of clinical content included with the system, list of organizations using the system, and perceived ease of use of the application.

Evaluate Live Systems

Although information technology vendors utilize demonstrations of their software to educate clients about their products, viewing working systems deployed in patient care areas offers the most valuable information. Unfortunately for both vendors and purchasers, the competitiveness of the healthcare information technology marketplace, couple with the complexity of these systems, encourages vendors to showcase software products during demonstrations that are either partially completed or are in beta version.

Therefore, often what is seen in these demonstrations does not accurately represent the features and functionality currently available. It is important to take vendors at their word when they declare that the demonstrated software is representative of features and functionality under development.

Focus on Deployed Working Systems Only

To increase the probability of purchasing a product that will satisfy the needs of an organization, institutions most focus on existing, working, deployed, and implemented versions of the applications being considered for purchase. The best way to evaluate current-state versions of applications is to visit current clients of each vendor and to witness the daily use of the various applications. Organizations must be patient and allocate adequate time to see the systems working under all conditions. This includes visiting multiple hospitals and various patient care areas throughout each hospital.

Forge Solid Vendor Relationships

For most organizations, it is more prudent to engage in relationships with vendors that have established working applications that can be immediately deployed and utilized. Although working, released software will have its inevitable share of problems, it is likely there will be fewer problems and solutions will be readily found.

In some cases, it may be advantageous to engage in relationships with vendors that are offering software that hast just been released or is under development. In these instances, organizations must enter the agreement recognizing the potential benefits from such arrangements but also the problems and delays in the software that may be associated with purchasing new, untested software. Organizations that do not have extensive information technology infrastructure and departments should be wary of entering into these types of arrangements.

The following sections outline a recommended process for choosing clinical information technology for an institution.

Review and Embrace Strategic Vision

The purchase of all clinical information technology tools must be driven by the clinical strategic vision of the organization. The strategic vision represents the views and aspirations of the board of directors, the medical staff, and other clinical professionals in the organization. Clearly, cost control is always a consideration, but the importance of patient safety and quality healthcare overwhelmingly drives decision making.

Broadly Explore Options

A high level of evaluation of your organization will quickly identify the potential suppliers of the application software required. In almost all cases, there will be a relatively small number of vendors who provide software that meets the needs of an organization. Identification of these vendors can be done through a request for information process ( RFI ), searching the Internet, and contacting colleagues at institutions similar to one’s own.

Understand the Vendor

As relationships with application vendors extend far beyond the implementation phase, a strong, open, and trusting relationship is necessary to be able to ensure that implemented software will deliver the expected results to an organization. Because problems will arise, a positive relationship is required to ensure that problems are resolved. A good relationship with a vendor, as exhibited by respectful an honest interactions with all representatives of the organization, unequivocally trumps perceived advantages in features and functionality that might be seen in other products.

Evaluate The Product

The best way to evaluate clinical information technology applications is to actually see them functioning in a real working environment. Unless an organization is working as a development partner with a vendor, various client organizations, comparable to the purchasing institution, should be available to be visited to observe the applications being used by clinical professionals.

Purchasing organizations must budget more than one day to visit these client organizations and see the applications being used at a variety of times during the day. Workloads vary, with morning physician rounds often presenting the greatest demands upon systems because of their high number of new patient orders and the need for patient care documentation. In addition, evening use represents a time when information technology staffing may be low or system maintenance may occur.

Organizations should request that their representatives be allowed to visit patient care areas unencumbered and be able to ask questions of the various users of the applications. The more institutions visited, the better the information that can be collected to evaluate the applications and the vendor.

Understand Pricing

Vendor pricing is greatly influenced by the level of ongoing maintenance payments, the strategic value of the organization to the vendor, and market forces. Therefore, in negotiating products with vendors, be sure to take a very broad and considered view of the products, services, and support being provided.

Cost of ownership includes not only the purchase price of the software but also the ongoing maintenance fee to the vendor and the cost of implementing, deploying, and maintaining the system during its life. Finally, the importance of the quality of the relationship with the vendor cannot be overemphasized, as it will have the greatest impact on the success of implementation and, eventually,clinician adoption.

Secure Adoption

Implementing clinical information technology without broad involvement and support by the clinical staff-requiring focus on all stakeholders, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other health professionals-all but guarantees a failed and wasteful deployment. Clinical information technology systems alone do not fix clinical problems, advance safety, or reduce costs by themselves. These systems provide tools that can be used by clinicians to change how they deliver care. Only with clinician creativity, insight, and experience molding the implementation can new processes deployed with these tools deliver acceptable work flows and generate good outcomes.

If deployment is poor and disruptive, clinicians will create work-arounds to these failing system processes, a development that guarantees medical errors and unacceptable waste. By securing adoption, organizations can be assured of usable systems that are embraced by clinicians and that are able to deliver expected and much-needed clinical and financial outcomes.

Implications of Patents on Emerging Technologies Adoption


As the U.S. market is maturing and competition is intensifying, IT service providers are adopting new measures to find additional sources of revenue. They have invested heavily in next generation technologies for developing digital platforms. Some of these are using SMC (Social, Mobile and Cloud) technologies, Analytics, IoT (Internet of Things), and Composite interfaces (combining gesture, movement, facial and voice recognition). The offerings using emerging technologies are highly commoditized and aggressively marketed. Therefore, these are accessible to competitive scrutiny. As few leaders are holding high amount of patents, other service providers are vulnerable to potential litigations. Most of the IT service providers seem to be oblivious to the impending threat looming due to strategic lacuna in intellectual property protection.

2. Patents, Hype and Adoption

The development and adoption of an emerging technology follows a hype cycle. First generation products build-on laboratory experiments. They create huge expectations and media hype. Currently, most of the patenting activities are focused on this stage of life-cycle. Service providers are rushing to secure IPs, without any significant initiative for commercial success. So, when the second and third-generation products are launched, they have to deal with a large number of existing patents awarded in their product domains.

3. Software Intellectual Property

Competitors can quickly launch an imitation, by copying the innovative design, technology, or application. There are various strategies adopted by early innovators to safeguard inventions. Currently some players in technology ecosystem have been trying to increase the entry-barrier for competition by resorting to IP protection with patenting.

In the following sections, we will examine patents issued in two emerging technologies domain. These patents are not only overlapping between themselves, but covering a wide genre of technology applications. In future, any commercial application leveraging these technologies can invite IP-violation legal notices.

4. Virtual Dressing Room

The concept relates to ability to try-on garments and other accessories, like jewelry, glasses, watches, purses, etc. without actually having them physically with the user. This application has high utility value for multi-store retail stores, where users can try a lot of options without store executives removing the items from shelves, helping in efficient inventory management, and enhanced customer experience. As first generation products are being launched, there are only a few examples of product adoption (mostly in pilot implementation stage). However, the patent activity is buzzing, with various vendors claiming to own IPs to multiple applications, across a wide range of business processes.

One of the earliest patents was assigned to Imaginarix Ltd., for virtual dressing over the internet. It is a method and a system for displaying garments over the Internet as though the garments were being draped over the body of a user. As media hype focused on novelty and utility aspect of technology, more vendors started exploring the virtual dressing skills in their technology innovation labs, and many of them have sought protection for their IPs of ideas or, first generation products related to a wide genre of applications, with little variations among them.


The Geo-fencing concept relates to location tracking of individuals leveraging their mobile devices. When they are detected to be within a certain distance of a point-of-sale location, alerts are sent to their mobile devices. This feature is primarily used for digital marketing, to capitalize on human impulse to purchase for availing discount coupons.

Major vendors have availed following patents:

Where, Inc. can claim that all the above patents are building on its patent on location-based services.

The first patents in vehicle tracking, where the concept of geo-fencing originated, were filed during the earlier decade.

Passtime has secured a series of geo-fencing patents for GPS tracking and automated collection.


Clearly, competitive activity around emerging technologies has increased tremendously. In this scenario, the IP protection tactics has been used by few vendors to serve their short-term motives. But, this is detrimental to the growth of technology industry. Regulatory uncertainty has contributed to more confusion in this domain. In the collective interest, various players should come together and form an industry body to manage these issues. They can mutually agree to trade licenses for acquired patents, and ease of dealing in the IPs can reduce the cost of acquiring them substantially. This can reduce bottlenecks in product development, resulting in faster time-to-market. Additionally, the stakeholders across the value-chain can agree to stop filing patents for abstract ideas, at the early stages of development. Instead they can focus on developing the ideas with relevant applications in verticals, and seek protection for applications in specific usage scenarios, once the idea is development for implementation.

We recommend industry players to debate and come together as an industry body to frame common standards and have a congenial atmosphere for developing new service lines using emerging technologies.

The Study Of Instructional Technology

Due to the immense significance of education throughout the world, the beneficial aspect of technology has been encouragingly incorporated into the field of teaching. Being named to be instructional technology; it is the study of technology application as a means to conduct educational teaching, either in classroom or other learning environments. Albeit it has proven to be effective in solving educational challenges, some faculty and school still portray resistance to the use of technology. This is considerable as educators and teachers are inevitably afraid that the use of human labor might slowly be aborted.

Nevertheless, many authorities have claimed that disregard of how significance the use of technology in education, the demand of facilitators and instructors can never be strained as human elements are required to administer the technology. In fact, there are existing programs that produce experts in designing instructional materials for education. These professionals are required by universities or academic bodies to invent materials, especially for distant programs, such as the online learning package. For instance, the e-learning tools act as a platform for educators to interact with students via the internet.

One of the latest innovations in instructional technology is the Human Performance Technology (HPT) where it emphasizes on human’s performance problems and is efficiently used by most corporate entities. No doubt, the primary intention of this technology is to endorse learning. The traditional theory learning style has evolved the instructional designs to further establish the interactivity and communication aspects in education. From there, the main focus of the design has been placed on interaction between teacher and student.

Basically there are three main items that come within the learner’s interaction: learner-instructor, learner-content, and learner-learner interactions. These interactions were enlightened by Moore in 1989 and from his philosophical view; the use of technology in education has come in close relation to these interactions. In fact, many researches revealed that the learner-content interaction is the most vital endeavor in teaching.