Comparing EHR systems based on your requirements

In a competitive and highly segmented EHR market, practices can easily fall prey to making the wrong decision given the similarities between many of the products on the market. The EHR selection process, at a fundamental level, is a decision-making process involving the comparison of products. At the root of the comparison of products, and by association, the decision-making process is data collected throughout the requirements gathering, RFP, RFQ and demonstration phases of the selection process. Data gathered by the selection team, when placed in an organized decision-making framework is then used to compare EHR products.

The result of this process ideally should offer your practice a clear picture of what products align best with organizational goals. Therefore, comparing EHR systems based on your requirements is really a process which determines which products comes the closest to fulfilling the elements identified as key requirements. The following tips can be used when comparing EHR systems based on your practice’s requirements.

Ranking EHR based on requirements data

Put simply, requirements data represents all of the EHR features an organization will require in order to meet its strategic goals. As part of the requirements gathering process, the selection team would also construct a prioritized list of requirements that represent a list of features that must be present for a product to be considered.

Using the requirements and prioritized requirements list, information about a vendor’s product is then used to rank each product based on how closely a product aligns with these requirements. A useful ranking strategy involves consulting with key stakeholders in your practice regarding what they consider to be important EHR features and functionality. Stakeholders would then rank the features on usability and functionality they consider important on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 representing the lowest priority and 5 representing the highest priority. After establishing a list of requirements using this method, the process would be repeated as vendors provide the selection team information through the RFP, RFQ and demonstration process. Similarly, stakeholders would then score the vendor’s products on usability and functionality. With this data, a practice can weight performance according to priority and then gauge suitability accordingly.

Comparing systems with the same feature sets

One of the more difficult challenges selection teams may face involves comparing EHR systems with similar features. When this type of situation presents itself organizations who employ a robust process to collect and evaluate usability and functionality data can evaluate similar products on more nuanced factors by digging deeper into stakeholder’s perceptions of these systems beyond the numerical ranking they provided. By speaking to stakeholders and collecting more qualitative information differences between systems that may appear similar on their face can be discovered.

Use our free EHR comparison tool to compare EHR systems based on features, functionality, specialty, and more

Comparing EHRs to find the best fit

Using a system of collecting requirements data and measuring vendor performance against these criteria, the process of comparing EHRs can be made more effective and can be replicated if needed. Using the decision making framework outlined above, practices can evaluate and compare EHR systems with a clear view regarding how an EHR product aligns with your organization’s EHR requirements.

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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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