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Get Hands-On with Mobile Computing Devices How Vendor Fairs Help Clinicians Choose Point of Care Products

Advance planning and preparation can make the task of selecting mobile computing devices for your hospital less time-consuming, arduous, and more effective. In this issue of Meet the Expert, Linda Novotny, West Coast Director of Sales for Enovate, discusses tips to better help you navigate the mobile point of care product selection process to arrive at optimal solutions for your facility and staff.

Q: Most hospitals use vendor fairs as part of the process of selecting mobile point of care solutions. Can you describe what most vendor fairs look like today?

A: A vendor fair is an event that a hospital hosts where they bring in vendors to showcase their products to the nursing staff. Here, the staff looks at the offerings and fi lls out a survey form—literally casting a vote— for what products they feel would work best in their environment and in their workfl ow.

Q: Can they pick up the products to see them, feel them, and try them out?

A: Yes, and products like mobile computing carts and wall mounts are very hands-on. The nurses will want to touch and feel them, feel the weight, and go through the features and functions.

Q: Where do vendor fairs typically take place?

A: The best place to have one is in a cafeteria because you tend to get the most participants if you hold it there. Hospitals want everyone to come down and participate in these events. So, a high-traffi c area like a cafeteria is best.

Q: How has the vendor fair changed over the years?

A: I have been in the business for about 10 years, and I consider myself a vendor fair veteran. I have seen a lot of hospitals do things the right way, and some that do things the wrong way. Historically, hospitals have placed a lot of the decision-making process in the hands of IT; they seldom involved clinicians and their opinions in the process. That system had fl aws in it. The clinicians would get the devices to use and feel they had no choice in the matter. If we fast-forward to today, the pendulum has shifted and the majority of the decision- making process has landed in the nurses’ hands. This has allowed them

to make most of the buying decisions when it comes to mobile computing carts and wall mounts.

Q: What are the challenges to a vendor fair approach?

A: Vendor fairs are a great way to get the nurses’ buy-in, to get the product out there, and to showcase what the product is going to do for the organization. But, what is concerning about these fairs is oftentimes hospitals are basing their entire decision process on the outcome of the fair. Sometimes, hospitals will just add up the votes from the surveys and purchase a product. With this, from a vendor-perspective, the most important concern becomes capturing votes. It becomes a “vote-contest.” There are a lot of inaccuracies in that mindset, and a lot of unbalanced information is being put out there. That makes it hard for the nurses to make a good decision.

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