Have you been through some EMR demos lately? I’ve been working with practices in various stages of EMR selection and use and one of the common themes that I’ve noticed is “buyer’s remorse”. With all of the hype associated with the HITECH stimulus, it seems an interesting climate has developed – vendors talk about their CCHIT certification and then you should just buy their stuff. Since many physicians would qualify for this incentive, assuming they have all the pieces in place for meaningful use, it’s just a matter of making the purchase of an EMR system and paving the road to receive those annual incentive dollars.
But with so many EMR vendors out there, how can a practice make a commitment to buy and implement? The answer may seem a bit counterintuitive at first, but these vendors should be qualifying for your business through a needs assessment of your practice. Now you may be asking: What about the demo? The key here is that a demo is important, but it’s a later step in the process of evaluating these vendors. The first step is to define from your current process what you expect the EMR system to do for every aspect of your practice and every step of your process. Don’t be afraid to put the onus on these EMR vendors to qualify for your business before you invite them for that visit to your office. By defining your specific expectations up front, you’ll find that you are much more likely to know what to expect when you begin implementation and are on the road to qualifying for that great incentive.
We feel that the needs assessment process is often ignored, but is extremely important in helping acquire the best EMR system for our clients. Because of this, we work closely with our clients to develop a robust needs assessment and have even created a template to be used to help the process be as painless as possible. We understand that our clients are busy, but they are the only ones who can specify in detail their business process and needs. Together we can set the expectations with the needs assessment and facilitate a confident selection process. Going forward, we allow the practice to focus on their patients rather than worrying about their technology.