Cloud EHR support packages: what should be included

One should not make the mistake of focusing all of a practice’s attention on the technological attributes of new software, particularly if a vendor who may offer an optimal product does not provide an adequate cloud EHR service package. Alternatively, appropriate EHR support may be available, but a practice fails to select a service package that is appropriate for their needs. In either case, any potential benefits of the software will count for nothing without adequate support.

Survey data indicates the customer support an EHR vendor provides is a significant driver behind customer satisfaction. From this data one can assume that both the support a vendor provides and how a practice uses these services contributes to satisfaction with your EHR.  

According to market research firm Black Book, in 2015 the most substantial decreases in customer satisfaction occurred the areas of implementation and training (77%), and customer support (85%). From these survey data, one can conclude that the service that surrounds an EHR matters from a practical perspective of getting the most benefit from an EHR and a satisfaction perspective as well, particularly in the areas of implementation and training and general support.

Recommended reading: find vendors who offer the right level of cloud EHR support package for your practice using our monthly-updated EHR vendor directory

Practices can play a significant role in the support they receive by selecting an EHR service package that provides adequate support. This can not only provide the necessary conditions to implement an EHR, but also a way to mitigate lost productivity due to disruption to workflows during implementation. The following list provides some of the most important aspects to look for in a support package.

Training during implementation

When implementing an EHR, training staff during the rollout and afterward can significantly reduce productivity loss. Training should not be conducted through a trial and error process, but rather provided by an EHR support package, with adequate training time included to familiarize staff with the EHR.

A vendor’s training support should include a variety of options for training including live in-office training, along with web-based and self-paced options. Further, since training is an ongoing process, practices should consider whether the vendor provides a “train the trainer” approach, to allow a staff member to become capable of being an internal trainer.  

Notification and accommodation for new upgrades and services

Cloud EHR support packages should provide practices with notification of the availability of new upgrades and services with an orientation toward scheduling and installing upgrades. In some cases, a vendor will schedule and install upgrades during off-peak times so as to avoid disruption, or offer a “test environment” to allow a practice the time and space to test upgrades and new services without affecting the live system.

Contingency plans for system glitches or failure

As is the case with any other type of computer software new installs or upgrades may not work as intended, therefore it is important to select a support package that provides a “safety net” in the event the vendor’s software fails. From this perspective, a support package should provide a practice support to restore the system and should also specify if any software problems will be resolved remotely or on-site and under what timeframe will the vendor resolve the issues.

Selecting an appropriate support package depends on being able to understand a practice’s current needs and a consideration of any “worst-case scenarios.”  Selecting an ill-fitting support package or selecting a vendor who does not offer adequate support can negate any benefit that could be derived from an EHR.

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Jeff Green

About the author…

Jeff Green, MPH, JD works as a freelance writer and consultant in the Healthcare information Technology Space.

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Jeff Green

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