EHR Software Shopping Tips
my journey from EHR marketer to software shopper
Our office recently switched one of our key software programs, and it became my task to find a replacement for our old system. How interesting it was to be on the other side of the table! It’s my job to market PIMSY mental health EHR and connect our program with behavioral health clinicians looking for a system. To suddenly be the one EHR software shopping was fascinating.
We need a system that’s comprehensive & can handle a large amount of data; is simple to use and provides filtering tools so information can be easily manipulated; offers solid security for our data & is HIPAA compliant; has accessible, dependable customer service; and is affordable, especially for our number of users. Sound familiar?! 🙂
EHR Software Shopping Tips of the Trade
While the type of software I was hunting for is not nearly as comprehensive as EHR, you can employ the steps I used to find the best electronic program for your agency. Use our EHR software shopping tips to support your search:
- Make Your List: Sometimes, you don’t know what you need until you really think about it. Mentally run through the day-to-day operations of your agency: check-in at the front desk > the session itself, including coding & authorization management > the billing process after the note has been released > remittance > clinician payroll > reporting.
Maybe you require particular forms are filled in at the front desk and want those available via patient portal ahead of time? Do you need group or team notes for multiple clients and/or providers? Perhaps you need to run a report that shows which clinicians don’t get their notes in on time.
Take some time to think about what you both want and need a program to accomplish – and make your list. Include both non-negotiable items, that you simply must have in an EHR – and wish list items that would be fantastic to find but aren’t a deal breaker.
- Consult a directory: There are several complimentary software directories that allow you to filter by functionality. Check out what’s available in the mental & behavioral health sphere, narrow down the options with filters from your list – or by talking to one of their advisors (also free) – and then create a second list of vendors that appear to meet your criteria. Click here to get started.
- Get Help: Find that person in your office who has excellent researching skills and the time to help you, and maximize their support. Send them the list of potential vendors you compiled from the directory and ask this person to research each one. Obviously, the list of options will meet your non-negotiable functionality criteria. But think about the intangibles too and be specific about what you want this person to confirm, such as pricing details, implementation protocol, whether or not customer service is included in the price, will you have to travel for training, etc.
As they weed through the options, make sure that they consider customer feedback as well. A software can look amazing on paper and check off all of your boxes, but if they are only garnering three stars in user reviews, you should proceed with extreme caution. Those free directories you used earlier typically provide uncensored customer reviews that let you get an idea of what it’s really like to use these systems, from the trenches.
- Organize the Data: I drafted a sample email that listed all of our software requirements from step 1 in bullet points and emailed it to the vendors who make the cut. Sometimes I had to email support, as there was no contact option for Sales, but this worked each time, as the communication was simply answered by someone with Sales knowledge.
Having that initial list of non-negotiables and wish list items, it was easy to check items off as vendor starting answering my questions. As they responded (or didn’t respond!), I used color coding to quickly identify them as yes-no-maybe options, based on their answers.
- Watch Carefully! I was amazed at how strongly my opinion of a system was influenced by the way my email was received. One of the vendors never responded to my inquiries, and several others provided short, pat answers that didn’t give me any information about whether or not their software could actually do what I was asking.
I tried digging for specifics with a second email, but gave up on a few of them when I continued to not receive the information I was after or feel that I’d even really been heard in my inquiry. If they’re not going to listen to my requests or take them seriously when they’re trying to sell me something, it gives me little assurance that I’ll be taken care of once I’m on the hook and a contracted customer!
Although our office is pretty tech-savvy, we’re going to need training to learn – and help to implement – a new program. We’re short on time and need clear answers to our questions. We want to work with a customer service team that is invested in our long-term success and be able to provide detailed resolutions to our needs, both during the sales process and after we’re a customer. We want strong, effective training; an efficient roll-out & implementation; and rock solid support after training is complete.
“It doesn’t benefit us to make a quick sale. We want to cultivate a lasting relationship with our clients, and getting you on the hook doesn’t benefit us if it isn’t a good fit.”
- Pick the Favorites and Schedule a Demo: The vendors who made it to the next round were prompt with their answers, provided details about how their system could meet our needs, were courteous on the phone and in emails, and were honest with me about what their systems could or couldn’t do. We scheduled Web demos with these favorites and asked lots of questions, continuing to monitor how they answered our requests and handled our needs.
Although we had to nix two of them because they couldn’t meet our requirements, they earned my respect by being honest about their system’s capabilities. If our needs change in the future and we’re shopping again, I would start with those programs, based on integrity alone. If I can trust a vendor to tell me the truth, that sets the foundation for a successful partnership
- Keep Asking: Keep asking the vendor questions until you’re satisfied that this is the right system for you. I wasn’t shy about emailing & calling over and over until I had the answer I needed. Your questions and inquiries should be handled promptly and respectfully each time! As one of the stand-out vendors said “It doesn’t benefit us to make a quick sale. We want to cultivate a lasting relationship with our clients, and getting you on the hook doesn’t benefit us if it isn’t a good fit.”
Wow. Their level of responsiveness leaves me confident that my questions will continue to be answered in the form of support inquiries as we get into the system and encounter the inevitable learning curve and speed bumps.
As I transitioned from shopping back into marketing, I found that PIMSY offers exactly what I was looking for in the other category of software! We meet the mark on the EHR software shopping tips I compiled for our search.
We have lots of specifics about our program on our website and make it easy to get answers to your questions: firstname.lastname@example.org // 877.334.8512, ext 1
We’re prompt, courteous and thorough with our responses, and we will continue to answer your questions until you’re satisfied it’s the right fit for your agency. We’re honest about what the system can and can’t do: it doesn’t benefit us to make a quick sale, and we want to cultivate a long-standing relationship with our customers.
After you become a PIMSY user, we provide timely, comprehensive training & support, included in the price. We’ll never leave you hanging with a question or need, and we offer all the necessary tools for you to get the most out of the program.
Not every organization is the same, but our customers feel the way we do: they want to be able to get help promptly and have someone walk them through the solution. They want their vendor to help them configure and utilize the system to meet their unique needs. They want to know they’re not just a number or dollar sign; but rather, a valued customer. A responsive team that provides ongoing high-level support (like PIMSY) ensures just that.
If you’re looking for a mental health EHR and would like to see these principles in action for your agency, contact us. If not, I hope that these EHR software shopping tips are of benefit, regardless.