Stable and Reliable: Keys to Any Good Relationship

11.15.17 Thor Clark Enterprise, Healthcare
Stable and Reliable: Keys to Any Good Relationship

Our cell phone real estate is a great neutralizer. When we look at our iPhone or Android home screen, every app has equal footing. It’s impossible to gauge the quality, stability, reliability, and fit for our individual, specific needs.

It’s one thing to choose an app for personal use, it’s a completely different thing to choose a business application for an organization. Total cost of ownership is a real concern. Sure, you can try out Whatsapp and see if you like it to communicate with your friends and family on your own time and dime, but as a senior leader in a large hospital organization, how do you choose an app that will be used by 10,000+ healthcare providers across 20 facilities in three states? It’s a much larger challenge.

What does it take to build a platform that will meet your needs?

How do you create uptime commitments and stability when managing a SaaS service? Unfortunately the answer is both simple and not so simple:

  • Commit to the right level of investment
  • Structure your entire organization and your platform around the SLAs your customers and users require
  • Create a culture that is committed to stability and performance.

Regardless your best intentions, your mission, your beautiful architecture diagrams, or your well written white papers – if you don’t have these three items, you don’t have what’s needed. When SaaS products are successfully implemented, they are part of robust existing processes, including both systems and people. Customers are crafting comprehensive and complex systems that tie together their new software systems with current workflows, existing software systems, physical systems, and people.

What does it take to be a reliable and trusted part of your system?

Be committed – Commit to core system uptime: whether it’s four nines, five nines, or more be clear about your commitment and ensure the right level of investment, the right organizational structure, and the right culture to meet this target.

Be honest – Share the details of your system, share your uptime statistics, and whenever there is an issue provide detailed and comprehensive root cause analysis along with details corrective and preventive actions.

Be a good partner – Acknowledge that no system is perfect, that redundancy across systems and platforms is the only true source of 100% uptime, and that only through clear and complete communication can we work together to provide the experience users and patients must have.

What should you look for when assessing a vendor’s ability to meet your uptime requirements?

  • True distributed workload (not ‘VMs in the cloud’)
  • Disaster recovery
  • Auto scaling capability
  • 24/7 operations and support capabilities
  • Communication on any issue, real time etc
  • Full monitoring and publicly available uptime and performance history
  • Commitment to patient safety and healthcare needs
  • Tracking every message, every action, all client apps are on the same API, etc.

What questions should you ask when assessing a vendor’s ability and willingness to be honest?

  • Have they implemented features that create redundancy for systems outside their control? For example, do they have the capability to auto-escalate when the recipient is not available?
  • Do they provide access to full monitoring and their uptime history?
  • Do they have a proven history of transparency and full communication in the event of even minor issues?
  • Do they share their best practices with you?

Now what should you do?

Compare this list of requirements to other secure communication vendors. Many times there is no commitment to core system uptime, no communication during or after issues, and no one to partner with to build a comprehensive and redundant system.

While many apps may look the same on the phone, they have been built for very different use cases, different audiences, with very different risk profiles and with different capabilities in terms of integration with other critical patient safety systems. Which just goes to show you that the old adage is true; you can’t judge a book by its cover. Or in this case, an app by its icon.

Learn more here.