Ten Things to Consider When Shopping for EHR

June 8, 2018

Ten Things to Consider When Shopping for EHR

Bob Ring, MICA Information Systems

Often, practices end up unhappy and frustrated after an EHR purchase. Surveys reveal that approximately 25% of practices intend to change software. Much of this is due to lack of due diligence during the sales process. I recommend considering the following when shopping for EHR:

1. Look at multiple products before making a decision. While you can get “demo fatigue” from looking at too many options, you owe it to yourself to understand the features and functionality different systems can offer.

2. When an EHR vendor claims their system will do something, ask them to demonstrate how it is done. Many EHRs have similar functionality, but some are more efficient than others. Some systems require multiple “clicks” or screen changes to accomplish a simple task, while others allow access to any screen from any screen with a single click. Asking for functionality to be demonstrated will also protect you from “my salesperson told me…”

3. Request and check references, both for the software and the vendor support. Ongoing vendor support is as important to the success of an EHR implementation as the software itself. Is technical support available by telephone or must a “ticket” be opened online? Is the vendor’s support team located in the U.S. or overseas? Communication barriers can be frustrating when you need assistance.

4. How is training conducted? Is the training instructor-led or does your vendor tell you to read manuals and watch online videos? Is on-site training available and, if so, what is the cost?

5. Is there a period of ongoing technical support included with your contract, or will your vendor charge you by the hour every time you call and ask for assistance with something?

6. Is the software customizable or are you locked into using a canned product? Are there options for free text and voice dictation in addition to templates? If the software is customizable, will the vendor include customization as part of the implementation process, or will they expect the organization to learn how to do this on its own?

7. Are all costs included in your contract or are there “additional” components you will need to purchase to go with your software licenses? Get this in writing.

8. Is the EMR built on a single database with integrated Practice Management and HER components, or must an interface between the two be built? An interface can be expensive and sometimes systems that are supposed to “talk” to each other don’t.

9. Will your vendor help you with governmental reporting requirements, i.e. MACRA / MIPS? If so, at what cost?

10. Does the system have the reporting capabilities you need to run your practice?

Your decision on which EHR to implement will be a determining factor in the profitability of your practice. The goal should be to make your practice more efficient, not less efficient.

Bob Ring
MICA Information Systems

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