Whew! You’ve made the decision to implement an EHR at your practice. Unfortunately not all of the hard questions are out of the way. The implementation process can be a long, bumpy road but finding the right EHR vendor can help smooth out any speed bumps. Here are a few key considerations when selecting an EHR vendor:
It can be very easy to get bogged down over analyzing facts about the hundreds of different EHR vendors. Remember that most vendors are going to boast about being the best. Instead of letting them drive the conversation, share your practice’s goals and listen to how they can help you accomplish those goals. Listen to your gut and select the vendor that gets you.
If you’ve made the decision to implement an EHR, training is not something to skimp on. The EHR vendor should be able to provide you with estimates about training time and costs. A vendor that encourages advanced training and spends the time making sure your staff and physicians understand the system is providing you with the tools you need to be successful.
After implementation, the relationship with your EHR vendor isn’t over. In most cases, the same vendor will provide continuing support for your new software. Be honest about any support concerns you may have. In some cases the vendor will incorporate your concerns into the agreement to provide accountability for response time and resolution.
While the previously mentioned considerations are very important, an underlying concern with all decisions is most likely budget. While you may find an EHR vendor that you really mesh with, their proposed implementation plan must be within your budget otherwise it is not a feasible partnership. Make sure you’ve set a budget before starting the search. Remember to consider the following EHR costs in your budget – hardware, software, implementation and training, support, and maintenance.
Don’t be discouraged if it takes six to 12 months to find the right vendor and sign a contract. Most EHR contacts are multi-year so it’s best to take your time and make the correct decision the first time. Remember, finding the right EHR vendor is a marathon, not a sprint!