Evaluating your EHR demos – tips and best practices

EHR demos offer a unique opportunity to see how a system may benefit a medical practice. Therefore it is important to accurately and thoroughly evaluate the demonstration in order for a practice to find software that best fits its requirements. Here are some strategies and best practices for evaluating your EHR demos:

1. Consider whether each EHR meets your key operational goal

Your practice should establish key goals for implementation of a new EHR system. This list of key goals should be included in the assessment tool. Key goals may include: increased operational efficiency, reduced documentation time for clinicians, improved billing operations, and improved patient scheduling. The key goals will be unique to each practice. These key goals are most likely the reasons why the practice is looking for a new or updated EHR system in the first place. These should be outlined in the evaluation tool.

2. Evaluate your ‘must-have’ components

What are the must-have features for your practice? These should be clearly outlined and included in the assessment. These components differ from your key goals, as they are clear requirements of the system, not overarching goals.

Use this step-by-step EHR demo guide to make your vendor demonstrations give you the information you want

A simple Yes or No checkmark box on your EHR demo scorecard. Does the system meet or include this requirement? For example, a practice may include electronic prescribing as a ‘must-have’ for their system. Other components may include patient portal access to medical information or automated scheduling reminders. Determine your ‘must have’ list ahead of the EHR demo phase and include all of these components in your evaluation form.

3. Discuss each EHR’s UX

Include an evaluation of the operations and navigation of the EHR system as showcased in the demo. It should be inherently easy to use and navigate. Additionally, the system should follow a workflow that is consistent with a patient encounter. Include an analysis for equipment needs or upgrades. Does the “feel” of the system seem simple to use or does it seem to be a hassle? If the vendor demonstration seems confusing or arduous, then it will likely feel that way during a patient encounter.

4. Evaluate ‘bonus’ features

Include evaluation of features that are not an absolute requirement, but would be nice to have. This might include access to patient education handouts, or patient directed scheduling. The vendor may include additional features in their EHR demo that the practice did not think of. Remember to focus on the must-have list, but be open to added features that may improve operations or clinician satisfaction. Determine if these features are included in the system or if they come at an additional cost.

Create an evaluation form that lists these four categories. Create a simple Yes/No box for the must haves and then create a simple grading system of Red/Yellow/Green to grade how the system meets your expectations. An evaluation form filled with Yes and Green marks, will likely be the best fit.

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Amy Vant

About the author…

Amy Vant is a doctor of physical therapy and clinical director for an outpatient physical therapy clinic in the United States. She has experience utilizing and implementing many forms of medical documentation through various healthcare practice venues. Amy enjoys writing about healthcare administration strategies, including electronic health record systems.

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Amy Vant