Questions for the EHR Selection Process
Choosing a new vendor is a lot like the dating process—it requires an active search to find the match that makes your heart skip a beat.
Like the right person, the right EHR can substantially enhance your life, specifically helping to streamline organizational processes, protect patient information, and help providers and staff offer better care for patients.
But like love, finding the perfect match is a daunting task. The medical world is full of great options, but not all systems will mesh well with your operational processes. Because of this, try asking these simple questions to help you find the best, most efficient EHR for your clinic.
What is our timetable?
Finding and implementing a new EHR is not an overnight process. Selecting a new system could potentially take months, and employing it takes additional time. Realistically, you will need to update your computers, retrain staff members, and resolve unforeseeable issues before launching your new system. Work with your key decision-makers and establish a time frame for such processes.
What is our budget?
In an ideal world, you would choose the best possible product without regard to price. However, we all know that every clinic has a bottom line, and you will be required to set a budget for your new system. Be up front with potential vendors about your financial constraints. Shop within your price range to avoid sitting through demos of systems you simply can't afford.
Who needs to get involved in the decision-making process?
Establish a board that includes all departments of your medical office. Be sure to involve them in regular meetings and solicit their expertise often.
How will we evaluate EHR products and demos?
Establish an objective, measurable way to grade EHR products and demos. We recommend creating a rubric that compares every option equally.
How do we plan to implement the change?
Discuss the logistics of your implementation plan with both your staff and vendor long before you begin the process. Determine the basic approach, potential training times, and initial and on-going support to ensure the vendor can work with your needs.
What do we like about our current system?
Identify everything you like about your current system. Ask for your employees’ help to create an all-inclusive list. Keep these lists handy during the selection process and refer to them often—visual copies will help keep you on track, especially as you move through the selection process.
What do we dislike about our current EHR solution?
Conversely, make a comprehensive list of the reasons for wanting a new EHR system. Again, enlist the help of your staff, asking employees to identify those functions necessary for their jobs.
Will the new EHR system make our office more efficient?
Efficiency isn't the only factor to consider, but it's an incredibly important one. Don't bother with systems that won’t make your office more efficient.
Can the EHR vendor support our clinic?
You need an EHR vendor that's prepared to work with your clinic's size. If the vendor can't handle the workload, you don't want to go into business with them.
Does the new software require hardware upgrades?
A new EHR platform may require hardware with a lot of processing power and memory, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You might discover that it's time for your office to upgrade its hardware. Take this into account when establishing your budget.
What happens when the developer releases future updates?
A good, innovative software developer will regularly update its EHR solution to keep up with security standards and provide better features. Some companies will automatically upgrade your software, while others will require you to pay for new versions. Make sure you establish this to avoid future surprises.
Contact PCIS today to see how we can help answer these questions about the selection process for you.