Whether you’re considering a purchase of an EMR system or you already have one in place – make sure you understand the terms of the agreement with your vendor. I’ve met professionals, both within the medical community and other industries, who made a purchasing decision without understanding the terms of the agreement that they just signed. I also know that it can be a painful process to try to undo this kind of agreement because the outcome wasn’t what you expected.
Making this purchasing decision can be an expensive one – and it can be a real pitfall to think that making this initial leap is the last one for your practice to go electronic with your clinical process. The most painful part for people who have shared their story with me is the time and even more money that they spent trying to get their original money back and break the agreement. This decision is the beginning of a long-term relationship – so look into the ongoing costs and benefits of things like training, support, maintenance and upgrades.
Don’t overlook the key legal issues when making that big leap. I would also recommend talking with peers who have been through this process – it’s amazing sometimes what you realize you didn’t even know to ask at the beginning of a process like this one!
Here is a link to a great overview written by an attorney who I know and trust, Andrés Gallegos. He has taken a real advocacy approach to both “looking a gift horse in the mouth” for a donation of an EMR system from institutions such as hospitals and understanding the key components of the EMR software license agreement.