EHR Implementation and its Buying Challenges

Deciding on the perfect EHR for your practice is a big decision. You must have already faced the challenges in taking that difficult decision, cure and might have taken a sigh of relief assuming that the toughest part of your EHR implementation is over. But, case hang on. It’s not over yet, because to justify that your decision of choosing a specific EHR was right, it has to perform the way it has been promised to you.

A lot has been written about the importance of choosing the right health EHR system, however, there is no assurance that your elaborate process of EHR selection actually leads you to a much successful and long term result-based choice. Unfortunately, most of the times, the practices get trapped by good marketers with poor products. Their marketing might have helped you in making that decision, but how right is it for you?

Many a time, what sounds like a perfect bet, turns out to be a total failure, and this happens quite often with the EHR implementation. That’s because, choosing an EHR is a tricky process where the chances of going wrong is high because the EHR sales prospects mainly fall into three major categories:

The ones who are yet to explore the EHR world and are still dependent on the paper process
The ones who have laid their hands on EHRs and have failed miserably
The ones who have successfully used EHRs, but are presently looking for something much advanced
The biggest challenge is in convincing the second category of people who have burnt their fingers first. They have the experience of getting trapped with the wrong choice, making them too critical of all the other contenders. The major issue with this category is that they end up analyzing the demos critically. And when they find similar features in all the systems, they come to the conclusion that since they all have same features, they would function similarly. They end up analyzing it so critically that they stop realizing the actual goal of their EHR selection.

To understand whether the system is meant for your practice or not, you have to get operational. With a wrong choice in the previous attempt, convincing a practice to take another EHR implementation for operation is challenging.

Issues that have the greatest impact on successful EHR implementation are

Vendors misrepresent the complete functionality and limits of their products
Vendors fail to educate organizational leaders regarding the range and depth of resources necessary for EHR implementation, ongoing user support, product troubleshooting and vendor communications, and negotiations post implementation.
End of the day, it is the EHR vendors who are the experts and who have the widest understanding of the many customers to whom they have sold their products. They are the people who have seen the failures and the successes of an EHR. One would expect them to share this knowledge with potential customers so that more organizations are successful the first time and they can then tout these successes as part of their sales process.

Choosing the right EHR software could be difficult no matter who you are and what your goals are. Before you make the final decision, irrespective of the category you belong to, you have to understand the ultimate goal of the practice. Every practice has its own unique goals and once that goal is understood, finalizing on an EHR becomes a cakewalk.

Many who have failed in EHR implementation projects usually do so because they miss out on the ultimate goal of their practice. To make sure your EHR works fine, you should have things in place like the patient data, approval, service documentation, codes, fees, claims requirements etc. Bringing all this in place needs a lot of work and requires the entire organization to involve and understand their roles. When everything works in sync is when the EHR implementation succeeds. And last but not the least — be sure to test cautiously before going live.