EHR demos: what to plan before the vendor arrives
Getting to see a live tutorial of how an EHR system operates is one of the best ways to evaluate whether the system will work in your medical practice. In order to make the most of your EHR demonstration, it is important to create a plan for the visit. Here are outlined four critical steps in planning for an EHR demo.
Identify and include key personnel
The vendor demo should be presented to the entire EHR selection committee. This way, the system will be evaluated from many points of view, including clinical, administrative, and operational perspectives. It is important to schedule the presentation and give ample notice to all important staff members, so that they can plan accordingly. Additionally, it may be beneficial to include 2-3 additional clinical employees in the demonstration. They will bring a clinical and unbiased perspective, as they would not have been a part of the initial evaluations of all other vendors.
Identify the features you would like to see in action
It is important to identify key features that you want the vendor to demonstrate. These features may come from a problem list or wish list from the clinical staff.
For example, if your practice is having difficulty with patient scheduling and communication, be sure to list the scheduling portal and patient portal as features you want demonstrated. If your practice loses efficiency by using paper prescribing, be sure to include the E-prescribing feature as part of the needed items during demonstration. The list of key features should be sent to the vendor, so they can plan accordingly for the demonstration.
Ensure adequate access and equipment
If the vendor is going to present their system to 15 people, be sure that your meeting room can accommodate the size of the group. Additionally, ensure that each person has a computer with access to the system. The vendor should have a way of allowing access to their system without using any real patient or clinical information. This will allow the users to “feel” what it is like to use the system, evaluating the usability and operation.
Create an evaluative checklist/assessment
It is important to have a systematic means of evaluating the proposed EHR system after the demo. For this reason, you should create an assessment that each person will use to evaluate the system. You may choose to break down each category by topic such as: usability, scheduling, encounter note, prescribing, patient communication and billing.
Once each topic is identified, something as simple as red, yellow, or green dots can be used to quickly assess whether the system exceeds your expectations, meets your expectations or does not meet your expectations. Most likely you will also add a section for general comments. This assessment should be given to all evaluating personnel during the demonstration, so they can give hands on feedback in real time.
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