Three things you should avoid during your EHR demo
In person, hands-on information that can be gathered from an EHR demo is a vital part of the selection process. However, even the most well-planned RFP and RFI process, cannot collect all the information that a practice needs to decide on an EHR purchase. However, one should not assume that the EHR demo will always provide valuable information, instead, EHR demonstrations, when not carefully managed can be the source of bad information that can skew the selection process.
One should not assume that vendors operate in the same vein as an unscrupulous used car dealer trying to pawn off a bad product on customers through a smooth sales pitch. Rather, EHR demonstrations are often used by vendors, to showcase their best software features, but to also steer a potential customer into purchasing ancillary product options or to downplay system deficiencies. As such, it is essential to treat the demonstration process as the final stage in the selection team’s information gathering process by taking a proactive role in guiding the process.
The following offers three things selection teams should avoid during an EHR demo.
1. Letting EHR vendor control the demo
Ideally, the vendor’s demonstration provides the selection team with a chance to make first-hand observations about prospective products. However, these first-hand observations are only valuable if the information is useful in answering questions regarding how a system will meet an organization’s needs. However, given the vendor is also trying to make a sale through the demonstration, it is important not to allow the session to become a sales pitch by the vendor. Of course, a vendor may want to demonstrate certain features or functionality they believe might be useful to your practice, which can be helpful under certain circumstances. However, the path the demonstration takes should not be the product of input from the selection and the vendor.
2. Ensure the demo emulates real practice conditions
An EHR vendor demo should allow a selection team to view how a system will function under real-world conditions. Therefore, it is important to make sure the system is being demonstrated under conditions it would encounter at your organization. If the system would be required to pull information from a large dataset and be required to process multiple tasks simultaneously the demonstration should replicate these conditions.
3. Do not allow workarounds
How the EHR software is used in an EHR vendor demo should emulate how users in your organization would use the system. As such, if a vendor is employing workarounds in the demonstration, it is critical to determine if these same workarounds are required for system functionality or are merely for the sake of demonstration. If an EHR requires workarounds to accomplish specific functionality, this may serve as a red flag about the product’s suitability for practice.
A vendor demo should be viewed as a way to collect nuanced and practical information regarding how a system functions under real-world practice conditions. However, if allowed to be sidetracked by a sales focused vendor this opportunity can result in a selection team being distracted by biased or irrelevant information. By taking control of the vendor process and avoiding key errors a practice can use the demo to refine their selection process.
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