How to Evaluate Your EHR Vendor Shortlist
When you receive vendor responses to your EHR RFP, you will have the challenging, but ultimately rewarding task of evaluating your EHR vendor shortlist. Thorough evaluation is essential in order to compare the qualifications of each EHR solution for your practice.
Your EHR Vendor Will Become a Partner to Your Practice
It is easy to think of a vendor as an adversary or nuisance, because of the high cost of their products to your practice. You will need to change your mindset and think of them as a partner. With their EHR system, you will be able to deliver optimal patient care and hopefully smooth billing and practice operations. The chosen vendor will continue an ongoing professional relationship with your practice. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the operations and professionalism of the company, as well as the technicalities of the EHR system.
It is easy to think of a vendor as an adversary or nuisance, because of the high cost of their products to your practice. You will need to change your mindset and think of them as a partner.
When you receive your proposals, make a note of the timeliness and completeness of each. It may sound simplistic, but the EHR vendor’s proposal is your first impression of their software in the context of your business. Each proposal should be well organized, address each of your EHR requirements and submitted within your requested timeframe. These components are excellent indicators of the company’s professionalism and attention to detail. You want a vendor that is timely and respects your needs.
Assessing a Vendor's Response to Your Requirements
The next step in evaluating your EHR vendor shortlist is to cross reference each proposal with the list of prioritized requirements you developed for your EHR system. Take your top three priorities and analyze how closely each proposal meets your needs. Choose a system to grade the extent to which that requirement is satisfied.
Recommended Reading: 2015 EHR Vendor Directory - your independent guide to the top EHR vendors
Keep it simple and don’t leave room for over-analysis. A grading system as simple as a 3 to 5 point scoring scale works well. Assign a low score to proposal sections that do not satisfy your needs and a high score to those which address your requirements accurately and extensively. This may sound like an over simplification, but if you have accurately prioritized requirements during previous steps, your evaluation should be simple.
Committees & Costs
When reviewing your EHR vendor shortlist, it is also important to meet with your key stakeholders for the selection process. You may benefit from creating a selection committee to review the proposals. Your selection committee should include at least two clinicians, an operations manager, and an administrative member. This way, you will have input from all user groups and personnel within your practice.
Of course, cost will be of great importance, so if you find a proposal that is completely out of your budget, you will be able to easily remove it from your list. Remember though, there is typically some room for negotiation when it comes to costs.
This article began with the idea that your EHR vendor will become part of your practice team. With that in mind, you need to find a system that adds value to your practice. A quality EHR system is highly valuable to your practice, so expect to pay for this quality.
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