Example 3: Choose Your EHR Vendor Carefully

Issues Encountered

Three independent orthopedic practices experienced several unintended consequences after purchasing their EHRs. These practices discovered that they needed to make costly customizations to the systems that were not covered in the original contract. They also felt that the vendor "nickel and dimed" them, charging them for phone calls, site visits, and interfaces with legacy IT. Additional costs for data conversion and hardware were not anticipated, and to make matters worse, after only a few months, a change in the software rendered some of the recently purchased hardware incompatible and unusable.

Finding a Solution

These practices recommended that practices work with vendors that have good reputations, pay close attention to the details of what is included in the contract and what is not, and build in penalties for vendors that do not meet deadlines and practice benchmarks. Practice leaders also felt that it was useful to hire an office manager or leader from a similar organization that had implemented an EHR, to serve as a consultant.

Lessons Learned

  • Select a well-qualified vendor to avoid disappointments and unintended consequences.
  • Carefully negotiate and understand your EHR contract to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Source: Randeree E. Exploring physician adoption of EMRs: a multi-case analysis. J Med Syst. 2007 Dec; 31(6): 489-96.

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