MMI 408 - Medical Technology Acquisition and Assessment
Course Description:This course provides a practical examination of acquiring and assessing new medical technology. Students examine this process from the perspective of both a vendor, who needs to know how to meet the expectations of customers and their acquisition requirements, and a customer/practitioner, who must know how to validate technology selections and implementations. Topics include cost analysis and justification, economic models, capital purchase, leasing strategies, the application service provider or risk-sharing model, purchase agreements and contracts, writing an RFP, analyzing an RFP response, and the industry business trends.
What I Learned:This class came at a very opportune time for me since I was participating in the vendor selection process for two vendor solutions at Blue Cross of Idaho. We first gained some background in negotiating tactics through reading "Getting Past No" by William Ury. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and hold it as a book I recommend to anyone working as a business professional. The principles that are advocated by Ury hold true in all aspects of relationships that we maintain at home, work or our personal lives. Previous to taking this class, I had just finished training sponsored by my job in both Crucial Conversations and Confrontations. I found the material complementary to what I learned there and it built upon the foundation that had been laid by those trainings. Some of my favorite quotes from the book that summarize the principles taught include:
Don't React: Go to the Balcony.
Don't Argue: Step to their Side.
Don't Reject: Reframe
Don't Push: Build them a Golden Bridge.
Don't Escalate: Use Power to Educate
After having gained some perspective for negotiation, we dove into the other assigned text "Software Agreements: Line by Line" and in parallel worked through our personal and group assignments. Our instructors divided the class into teams of five students and gave assigned an associated topic. I was paired up with John Goss, Valarie Moore, Nancy Casazza and Samantha Speaks. For the rest of the project we were to play dual roles within our group to gain perspective for what it is like to go through vendor selection as a Healthcare Organization (HCO) and also as the Vendor. The HCOs interests were to request Request for Proposals (RFPs) for the development of a new website for the organization. With the groups assigned, the first assignment was to individually prepare a Statement of Work (SOW) outlining the requirements needed for the HCO. We then took all of the individual SOWs and then merged them into a cohesive statement after considering all the different perspectives of the group. From here, we worked together and came up with the RFP.
Pretending that the RFP went out to a number of vendors, Karin Lindgren with her legal perspective as a professor read and responded back to every group RFP. The groups task then was to consider the RFP responses and select a vendor and prepare a thorough analysis to the HCO Board of Directors articulating the decision criteria that led to the decision. We advanced then to contract negotiation and Professor Lindgren again took lead by presenting contracts with purposely planted "issues" that would require negotiation between perspectives of the HCO and vendor with their differing interests.
This lead to the last and most enjoyable assignment for me in the class. Our teams were divided into roles and we were told who would be representing the vendor or HCO. Myself and Val Moore were assigned as the vendor team. Without knowing the other's perspective we were brought back together where we held a negotiation session to come to agreement on 3-5 key issues we had with the contractual terms that both sides had recommended in forming an agreement. We were able to put into practice the tactics that were outlined in the Ury text.
I enjoyed this class very much and while not knowing what to expect by the class name and description, I walked away with a better understanding of my responsibilities in the negotiation process. While learning in the class, I was also practicing in real life at work with the two vendor selections I was participating. Throughout the group activities, we were also asked to "wear the hat" of C-level and this was a valuable experience as well as it forced me to think outside of my normal view and I gained a broader purview of the concerns and issues that an executive might have in considering the interests of the organization.
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