A View of Vendor Relations
Eugenia Terry, RHIA
About 3 years ago I was asked to create a Vendor Relations process for WSHIMA. Marci Vanderbosch joined me and we interviewed key members of other HIM state associations who already had significant vendor relations processes in place. It was very useful for us and, as a result, we created a WSHIMA Corporate Partner process and approach.
This included developing Gold and Bronze partnerships with a list of benefits and fees for each. At first we were going to have the Lead of the Vendor Relations process (me) be the key contact with the Corporate Partners, but, at that time we were also developing and implementing the new WSHIMA Executive Director position, so it was determined that optimally that individual (Jill Burrington-Brown) should be the key contact with vendors in general and Corporate Partners in particular.
This has been very successful for us. To date we have 3 Gold partners and 2 Bronze partners. We also have 23 vendors signed up to attend our Annual Meeting. (Last year we had 16.) Great job, Jill!
The advantages to the vendors are that they get a number of benefits that lead to much more visibility to our members. The advantages to us are that we get more clarity about vendor products and, because they travel all over the country, more clarity about changes in the healthcare field that they encounter elsewhere and share with us at Board meetings. This latter advantage was something we had not thought of initially but it was strongly pointed out by other state associations.
This process has been enjoyable and enlightening for me. Plus I appreciate the opportunity to be a member of WSHIMA in this and other roles. It is a great advantage to know our colleagues (both members and vendors), to interact and network with them, and to participate in changes to the healthcare arena that will, hopefully, lead to improvements in how we do our work and, ultimately, improved patient care.