Suggestions for the EHR Selection Process

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By Dan Mattson
Vice President, WOW Global

The EHR market is flooded with products and solutions.  Selecting the right EHR can be one of the most important decisions a practice makes over the next few years.  Because each practice has its own nuances and workflow, what works for one practice may not necessarily work for another provider.  Therefore, each practice should carefully evaluate and select the EHR that best suits their workflow and requirements.

The driving force for implementing an EHR should be to provide better patient care using technology.   EHRs that are implemented and interfaced properly will allow providers and patients to quickly access information so that they can make better informed healthcare decisions.

Prior to calling vendors it is important that the practice prepare itself for evaluating multiple EHRs.  Many times the EHR selection responsibility is placed on the shoulders of the office manager or administrator.  Now, in addition to managing the office, they are expected to be experts on Electronic Health Records, Practice Management software, firewalls, wireless routers, internet bandwidth, HIPAA, tablet PCs, servers, etc.  Therefore, it is important that the entire practice be involved with the EHR selection process.  Everyone in the office will interact with the EHR and will have a different perspective on the EHR.

To start, you should short list a number of EHR companies.  Before looking at the software, carefully evaluate the company in these areas.

  • Financial viability
  • Number of live clients
  • Physician references
  • Preparedness for Meaningful Use Stage 2, ICD-10 and HIPAA 5010

It is not necessary to go with the largest EHR company but you should be confident that the company will be around for many years and will be reinvesting in the software to ensure it meets current and future requirements.

Once the companies are shortlisted, we suggest meeting with a representative from the EHR company and gather information about various items related to the EHR software such as:

  • ONC-ATCB Certification
  • Implementation process
  • Training methodology
  • Meaningful Use guarantee
  • Support structure
  • Pricing models – purchase, lease to own, subscription
  • Licenses – Physician, PA, NP, Office staff
  • Hosting or in-house server options
  • Hardware and infrastructure requirements
  • Data migration, back-up, recovery and retrieval
  • Maintenance and upgrades

After evaluating the information, you’ll be ready to start viewing EHR demos of the shortlisted products.  Our next article will provide helpful hints to ensuring a productive demo.

For more information, contact Dan Mattson, Vice President of WOW Global at dmattson@wowglobal.com.