How to select an EHR vendor
Selecting an EHR vendor for your healthcare organization requires a lot of research and sweat. It wouldn’t help if you choose one on a whim. An EHR system has a lot of expenses associated with it and working with a mediocre team can affect your day-to-day process as the onboarding process is long and there is data migration involved. One way to overcome this issue is to have an established EHR vendor selection process. When you have a tried-and-tested model, it becomes easier to collect information and you can avoid all the mistakes that most healthcare businesses make.
Here are the steps that you need to follow when selecting an EHR vendor for your healthcare organization:
1. Identify decision-makers:
Before you go out of your way to find out EHR vendors, we would suggest you find someone internally in your office who is serious about it. This should not be led by someone from the management time alone as physicians are the ones who will be using it extensively. Find someone who is totally for using EHR in the organization. Once you have chosen them, spend hours researching to find out the kind of systems that exist in the market. If you don’t have the support of someone who is serious about EHR, then you will be witness to delays in the selection process or pausal of the entire program.
2. Evaluate your current EHR system:
Not all EHR systems are equal, so there is the off chance that the expectations you had for your incumbent EHR system aren’t visible in the results that you are seeing. If you already have an EHR system and you are looking to replace it, ask yourself why do you want to do so? Because changing your EHR system might be smooth, but there is a lot of costs involved. If you don’t want to work with the current EHR system, ensure that the new one you choose is much more efficient than the one you are using now.
3. Why exactly do you need EHR?
When you are about to choose an EHR software, you might come across features in some of the products that are completely unnecessary for you. If you don’t have clear objectives, then you might end up paying for features that will not be used at all. Write down the goals that you want to accomplish with the help of EHR. Write down the problems that you are facing which can be solved with the usage of EHR. This will help you prioritize your needs during the purchasing process.
Sending a Request for Proposal will give more ideas to the vendor about who you are and what you are looking for. The responses from various vendors can be used to compare them so that you can make an informed decision. RFPs take up a lot of time to prepare, so this means only serious vendors will take the effort and participate.
Because an RFP asks a lot of questions to the vendor. It asks about their implementation plan, capabilities, warranties, how the product performs, hardware and network requirements to install the software on-premise, and how they will honor the service commitment. Only a vendor who is thoroughly prepared can send swift replies to this.
5. Will the new EHR system be effective?
Remember that the field of healthcare and technology will keep changing. Are you choosing a vendor who has the capabilities to make swift changes without disturbing the integrity of its functioning? Here are some of the questions that you need to ask before choosing the vendor:
- Is the EHR system easy to use?
- How is the data security of the system?
- Does the EHR system integrate with other billing systems?
- Does the EHR system meet HIPAA requirements?
- Will it be easy for the staff to learn?
- How exactly does the new EHR system improve the present conditions?
6. Support offered:
The vendor should tell you the kind of support that they would be offering. Here are the support-related questions you should ask the prospective EHR vendor:
- What are the fees associated with unlimited support? You might want to get unlimited support as restrictive support can be harmful if the turnaround time is a lot and any issues with the billing affect the day to day operations of the hospital.
- Do they offer live support?
- How do they help resolve issues?
7. Check for references:
Before you finalize the vendor, it would be great if you can get references from a physician user, IT person, and anyone from the management. The vendors should be able to give you references so that it is easy to make a decision. These references will be more than happy to give you honest reviews about the product.
8. EHR certification:
To qualify for proper use, your EHR system should be certified and be able to store information in an organized manner. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) have certain criteria for data that EHRs must follow if they require incentives for government-sponsored programs.
If you are not aware of the different duties that an EHR vendor performs regularly, the entire process of selection can be difficult for you. But if you follow the steps that we have outlined for you, it becomes easy. The EHR vendor selection process is time-consuming, but it is well worth the effort. Getting stuck with a poorly performing EHR system will do a lot more harm than you can imagine.
Purchasing an EHR system should never be done impulsively. In fact, the entire process can take from six months to two years. If your selection process is based on the steps that we have outlined, it would be easy.