How Quickly Should Your EMR Deliver Improved Features?

Rapidly changing government rules and regulations mean that your Electronic Medical Record (EMR) has to be flexible enough to adapt to these changes—and do it quickly. Your EMR should also promptly and seamlessly deliver the enhancements and additional functionality that your physicians want and need.

What is your EMR vendor’s process for delivering enhancements? With most vendors, you send in a request, and then you wait and hope that it will be accepted and acted upon. Six months to a year later, when the next upgrade comes out, you try it out with your fingers crossed to see if your request was answered. And if it wasn’t, you keep waiting.

The following are some typical responses from disgruntled EMR users that we often hear: (practice names and vendor names are removed for privacy purposes)

“Our multi-specialty group de-installed xxx EHR for two reasons: 1) lack of support; and 2) promised customization for our workflow sheets for the doctors that was never delivered.”

“Our new EHR is a dismal failure. While the software has possibilities, the support provided by the company is not acceptable. Even after direct talks with their CEO and promises by him of improvement, nothing changed. The scheduling module cannot easily handle the practice’s templates and reports do not provide some vital information. After four months of trying to make the reporting package work, one of the support techs let it slip that the module had a flaw, and it would never work.”

So, how quickly should your EMR vendor respond to your requests and deliver the changes that you need? Make sure you get the answers before selecting an EMR.

When performing your due diligence during your EMR selection process, keep the following points at the top of your checklist:

  1. Upgrades and enhancements – EMR features, enhancements, and system upgrades should be performed quickly, if not immediately, by the vendor. Seamless delivery of the upgraded EMR features is critical. Be sure the EMR upgrade will not slow your practice down.
  2. Response time to EMR customization requests – EMR customization requests should be handled as quickly as possible by the EMR vendor. A customer’s needs are a #1 priority and a delay in response time by a vendor’s EMR support team can lead to stunted practice revenue and efficiency.
  3. Functionality of enhancements, upgrades, and customizations – Upgraded EMR features and EMR customizations should be easy to use and always focus on making physicians and staff more productive. Physicians and other healthcare professionals are growing fond of easy-to-download customized applications, like SRS Apps, to make them more productive.

Selecting and purchasing an electronic medical record system for your practice requires extensive research. Performing evidence-based decision-making processes, like those discussed in this EMR Straight Talk blog post, are a must. Don’t be sold the dream. Speak with practices that have implemented the EMRs you are interested in for pertinent information that directly effects day-to-day clinical operations. Knowing how quickly a vendor upgrades their software, handles customization requests, manages turnaround time on the request, and how functional these upgrades and customizations are, can really make a difference in your quest for the right EMR.

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