How to assemble practice requirements for your EHR RFP
Once your selection committee has analyzed the intricacies of your practice, and developed a clear understanding of how your practice operates, you will be able to create a checklist of practice requirements. This list of necessary features and services will be basis of your EHR RFP (Request for Proposal) document.
The why, who and what
Your selection committee will identify and organize the priorities and technical requirements for your new EHR system. As part of this process, the practice should consider data conversion requirements for existing systems (or even from paper charting), modifications to current software and coding requirements (ex: ICD-10 codes, reporting functional improvement), as well as user training. Ask your clinical staff what they feel is missing from their EHR system. The top priorities and technical practice requirements will be the items outlined in your EHR RFP.
Your EHR RFP can include optional services and functionality, but these need to be clearly defined to encourage vendors to focus their responses on key requirements.
To focus your efforts during RFP production, start by answering these simple questions:
Why? Why is your organization looking to change EHR system? (Think: what is wrong with the current system, what is needed in the new system?)
Who? Describe your practice specialties, and who it treats. Describe the patient population, facility size and professionals you employ. How does this user base expect to use the new EHR?
What? What are the practice requirements for the new EHR system? Examples will include: scheduling, daily notes, billing, functional coding, patient portal, automated appointment reminders, 24 hour customer support, remote access to charting, etc.
Prioritizing practice requirements
Determine your top 10-15 requirements and ensure that those items are discussed in depth within your EHR RFP. Besides cost, the vendor responses to these requirements will be the most important to determine which system is best for your practice. By asking vendors to identify if/what/how they handle specific requirements in your RFP, you will find it easier to determine the suitability of each vendor for your practice.
When detailing your practice requirements, be sure to use strong words such as “will”, “must”, and “need.” For items that are wants, you will chose words such as “may”, and “optional.” Your EHR RFP can include optional services and functionality, but these need to be clearly defined to encourage vendors to focus their responses on key requirements.
It is also important to categorize each requirement into functional groups, including: patient care, billing, training, customer support, user access etc. This will allow you to identify which processes are being catered for by each vendor. A well-organized list of practice requirements will also provide a structured way of evaluating your EHR RFP responses. If you determine that one vendor is able to meet all of your needs for billing and user access, but poorly meets your needs for patient care, then you will likely determine that the system is not a good fit.
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