A plethora of telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM) vendors exploded onto the healthcare scene within the past few years, making it hard to differentiate between companies dedicated to providing comprehensive virtual care services and those who just saw an opportunity to capitalize.
And while many talk the talk, they may not walk the walk. When searching for the right vendor to provide virtual care technology for your medical organization, keep an eye and ear out for these four red flags.
Red flag #1: They are too focused on buzzwords
The healthcare industry is notorious for clinging to the latest and hottest buzzwords to sell solutions and services. And while a buzzword may be popular for a good reason, a vendor that is too focused on them may not be a long-term partner.
For example, the term remote patient monitoring (RPM) was introduced a few years ago but didn’t fully take off until the pandemic forced us to deliver care remotely. While RPM is a big buzzword today, it may change in 12 to 24 months, which isn’t bad; it’s simply the nature of healthcare.
If you’re looking for a long-term solution that grows and evolves with your organization and the overall healthcare industry, a company that only touts abilities catered to a specific buzzword may not be the best choice.
It’s important to ask yourself: “What will my organization look like and need 5, 10, even 15 years from now? Will this solution be flexible enough to lay the right foundation for our evolution?”
While you should take stock of your current needs, it’s also crucial to think about the future because the only thing certain about healthcare is that it changes dramatically and quickly.
Partner with an agile technology company that focuses not just on the here and now, but also on the long-term empowerment of patients, clinicians and care teams. Make it easy for them to adopt and engage with a comprehensive virtual care program that is beyond the limitations of telehealth or RPM.
Red flag #2: Their platform is specific to a certain condition or population
Some vendors build their platforms around one specific condition or patient population. However, if you’re looking to provide truly comprehensive virtual care, these platforms won’t get you there.
Spending the time and resources to implement a condition or population-specific platform will essentially back you into a corner and limit the type and level of care you can provide your patients. Not to mention making it extremely difficult to grow and offer care to diverse patient populations.
Clinical programs evolve, and new use cases may arise. If your platform can’t adapt or scale, you’re losing out on the potential to provide enhanced experiences and create better outcomes for all parties involved—clinicians, care teams, and patients.
A vendor whose technology can scale across multiple departments or clinical programs to help you create a holistic virtual care program is a genuine, long-term partner who can meet your future needs.
Red flag #3: They don’t play well with others
Healthcare doesn’t exist in a silo; your virtual care platform won’t be the only one on the data playground. With data coming in from all angles, it must play well with others.
Ensuring seamless integration with your electronic health records (EHR) and any other third parties you work with is imperative to creating a comprehensive medical history for patients. Without proper integration, you could lose out on essential data that could help create better health outcomes.
Another aspect to consider is what type of data you’re looking to capture. If you want to strictly capture your patient's blood pressure, that may be a more straightforward integration. However, collecting data that are not typically tracked in a patient’s EHR, like daily steps, water intake, and nutritional intake, is discrete data that may require different integration.
Bottom line: know what data you want to utilize, where you want it to go, and find a vendor who can guarantee that.
Red flag #4: They have unfavorable or nonexistent customer testimonials
This red flag may seem obvious but can easily go unnoticed. Meeting with a sales representative may leave you so excited that you skip out on one of the most critical aspects of finding the right virtual care platform: talking to past and current customers.
Sometimes it may not be that a company isn’t legitimate or works in bad faith, but more so that it isn’t the right fit to meet your organization’s goals. Or, you may find out that the onboarding process was a pain point for existing customers.
Talking to their customer references with a similar use case and learning about their experience with the platform is one of the best ways to ensure a vendor can execute what they promise.
Vendors who make it difficult to gain insight into what their customers say about them should set off a major red flag alert. Lack of transparency usually means there’s something to hide.
That’s why we have in-depth Carium customer feedback and references readily available for any potential client to read.
Virtual care vendor green flags
While there are definite red flags to be aware of, there are also green flags that indicate a legitimate, trustworthy vendor that can help you with your virtual care endeavors.
Some green flags include:
Ability to grow with your organization
Dedication to long-term change
Seamless integration options
Easily accessible customer reviews
Critical Questions To Ask
To ensure an apples-to-apples comparison, prepare a standard set of questions to guide your discussion with each potential vendor. Check out our five critical questions to ask.