What should healthcare leaders consider in a transformational partner? Here are three factors every executive should evaluate before considering a partnership:

1. It is critical to pick an organization that aligns across values and culture. This may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked in the traditional buying process. When purchases were focused solely on the acquisition of a technology, software or service, it was less important to evaluate the way a vendor works culturally and the values it has instilled in its people. In outcomes relationships, this will become a critical enabler for success or a crippling challenge if the two organizations are misaligned.

2. It’s no longer about buying a product or a service for a particular point of care; it’s about finding a partner who shares the provider organization’s vision for the enterprise and offers broad-ranging technology, expertise and resources to help it determine the right solution to its health care challenges. Mutual trust is critical. Questions will arise around thorny issues such as data, metrics, financials and process monitoring. Both parties have to invest time and effort to make the partnership work.

3. Leaders need vendors who are willing to commit to new business models that share the risks providers today have to face alone. The health care environment is changing so rapidly that what an organization buys today may be irrelevant in 18 months unless the vendor is helping it prepare for market trends, coming legislation and other vectors of change. Outcomes alignment is about delivering value to organizations in ways that will be unique to their environment, market, payer mix and strategy. Partnership-minded vendors don’t just deliver product, they activate outcomes.

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