How to begin your EHR vendor comparison

With a saturated EHR market, project teams may be faced with tough EHR selection decisions. A tool used to select an EHR involves making a vendor comparison in order to pick an EHR product. The vendor comparison serves as a way to narrow down the field of possible products up for consideration and also allows for a final decision to be made. With the role of the vendor comparison being outlined what are some strategies to conduct an effective vendor comparison? The following list offers 3 key things to keep in mind when starting an EHR comparison.

Have a method of comparison 

A method simply means that there is a rhyme and reason to the process of comparing vendors so that it can be easily understood and replicated if required. Many practices, during the selection process, will establish a set of criteria that the vendor’s product must possess in order to be the right fit for a practice.  Best practice dictates using an objective system of determining if a product fulfills a selection criterion. Some organizations will use a comparison matrix that supplies a scoring system to rank and compare vendors. 

Solicit the reliable input from the right stakeholders 

As mentioned above an effective vendor comparison is based on an objective selection criterion. Once an objective selection criterion has been established information must be gathered to determine how a product fares against the selection criteria. The ability to collect reliable information from the right stakeholders acts as the foundation for a successful vendor comparison. Finding key stakeholders is the first step in this process. A key stakeholder should be someone who has a personal stake in how the EHR will be used and is also able to supply reliable information on how well a vendor fits the selection criteria. These stakeholders do not need to be experts, they should be able to speak from experience regarding how well a product matches up the selection criteria. 

Research, but research with a critical eye

There is a wealth of information available to use in conducting a vendor comparison. Online information, other customer experiences, and information from vendor sales material can provide a great deal of useful information to make a vendor selection. However, it is important for selection teams to always keep a critical eye when using this information. One should not assume that there is misleading information readily available to unwitting EHR customers, rather a great deal of information selection teams will encounter may be overgeneralized, subjective and tinged with a bias toward making a sale or based on inaccurate information. It is important to those involved in making a vendor comparison to always make certain they are using reliable information 

According to the research firm, Black Book, around 30% of practices that have 12 or more clinicians on staff expect to replace their current EHR system by 2021. Research further shows that anywhere from 20% to 40% of other size practices show that they will replace their EHR in the future. Replacing an EHR is not an ideal situation and the decision to replace is driven by some type of dissatisfaction with the EHR. Although all problems cannot be anticipated a vigorous vendor comparison during selection can potentially mitigate the risk of user dissatisfaction with your 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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