Software Vendor Assessments Part 2: Show Me The Money!

January 20, 2014 by

During a vendor assessment you will be asking them to produce a lot of documentation to prove that they have quality processes in place.  However, it is important to understand that simply reading their documentation that describes a process is  not enough.  That is only one part of the audit. The second part that always goes hand in hand with the documentation is proof that they are following those procedures.   If a process says that they collect metrics for training via surveys to improve performance based on feedback, then ask to see if they have those forms.  If there is a support and help desk process in place, review the logs and follow one support ticket documentation trail from the time the call came in and was entered on paper or in a system, to the point where it is resolved.  Did this status get updated through each phase of support ticket resolution? Did the ticket get resolved within the communicated timeline? Was the ticket information updated with all required details as per the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)?

A very common question asked here is “Do we need to verify every single SOP, directive, and committed statement?”  Ideally, yes. However, as always this factor depends on the risk and criticality of the software being implemented. If it has direct impact on patient safety then the level of auditing definitely goes up. Software vendor audits can last for days, sometimes even spanning weeks over several visits; yet, sometimes they will only  last 4 hours. It really all depends on what is being purchased/requested from the vendor, scope of operation for the software, and how it will be implemented and used on the client side.

Keep a look out for the next post that will outline specific critical processes that should be looked for and verified when actually conducting the audit.

Did you miss the first post in our software vendor assessment series? Read it here.

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