How Do You Find the Right EMR for Your Practice? (2 of 2)
by Leigh-Ann Renz, 6.6.13
4. Get help: Use a free software directory such as Capterra to help you assemble a list of potential systems. For example, Capterra lets you not only see brief overviews of what different systems are offering, it also allows you to read reviews by users. The reviews on Capterra can’t be censored: ie, a negative review must be posted as much as a positive one, therefore giving you a true users’ assessment of various products.
5. Referrals from colleagues you trust is another invaluable resource. Ask your peers who are using electronic systems what they do and don’t like about their chosen product, including what they wish was different. Add any programs that sound solid to your list of potential systems. Once you’ve completed your list, send them the email questions template you generated in steps 1 – 3.
6. You’ll be able to tell pretty quickly, both by the level of response you receive and the answers to your specific needs, whether or not a system might be right for you. For example, if you don’t get a response within 24-48 hours, it’s a pretty safe bet that you wouldn’t get a different level of service once you’re a customer! You should also feel confident that your questions and concerns have been addressed clearly and with specific examples. Hopefully you’ll also be offered options: for example, if you feel like your question has been skirted around with a vague answer and a solid solution isn’t offered for the core components of your practice, that’s probably not the product for you. The vendor should explain how their EHR not only meets your current needs, but also how it can be adapted to fulfill future goals. Use the response level and quality to narrow down your choices, and remove any products from your list that don’t offer solid, timely solutions.
7. From there, it’s an elimination process that should include considering not only the product itself, but also intangibles like training and support. Once you’ve weeded out the systems that don’t work you, request free demos of each EMR you’re still considering. The vendor should provide you an opportunity to not only see the system in action, but also to ask questions specific to your workflow. During the demo, re-ask some of the inquiries in your original email. Take note of any answers that aren’t consistent with what you were originally told: providing more detail is great; giving a different answer is not!
At a certain point, you have to take the plunge. Be sure to clarify the terms of the contract you sign, including how you would get your data out of the system should you choose not to renew in the future, and ask for an implementation guide to help with a smoother transition period.