Itâ€™s important to ask questions during your EHR selection process, but itâ€™s even more important to know which questions to ask. Often, questions focus on the specific functionalities of the EHR. Although these should certainly play a role in your search process, you should also consider the bigger picture and ask about the long-term plans of the EHR vendor. Broadening your scope lets you more easily discern the viability of a successful and lasting relationship.
Here are 5 must-ask questions for EHR executives:
- When did your company start operations, and can I have 2 references from each year you have been in business?
Being in business for several yearsâ€”as opposed to being new in the EHR arenaâ€”can mean the difference between company stability and going under if times get tough. Numerous references assure that an EHR vendor is dependable, provides excellent support, and has a high success rate at practice-wide adoption. This solidifies a companyâ€™s value as a strategic business partner.
- How many developers are assigned to work on your core EHR product? Where do the developers reside?
Find out how many people work on the EHR to develop enhancements to increase physician productivity and to assure successful compliance with the increasing government requirements. Ask where the development team is locatedâ€”in-house and domestically located is much better for future flexibility and success.
- How was your product and company ranked in the Best in KLAS Awards â€” Software & Services Report – December 2011, and the KLAS Ambulatory EMR Specialty Report 2012?
KLAS scores are an important consideration. Theyâ€™re based on feedback from actual end users, and they evaluate the product, service, and support of EHR vendors. High KLAS scores in your provider range and specialty speak volumes and are a good indication of the overall value of an EHR company.
- Do you have a whitepaper that explains your interoperability platform?
The future of EHR systems involves the sharing of data. Knowing that the EHR vendor has a deep and complete understanding of efficient data exchange, and has built an interoperability platform to provide seamless data exchange, will help your practice meet the evolving data expectations.
- What are your specific plans for meeting all the meaningful use requirements of Stages 2 and 3?
With the continuously increasing data demands set forth by the government in regards to meaningful use, understanding your prospective vendorâ€™s plans for meeting Stage 2 and Stage 3 requirements should play a major role in your EHR selection. Make sure the EHR vendor has a long-term plan in place for meeting all the certification requirements, as well as having the finances, stability, and personnel requirements to support it. Choose a company whose product enables you to meet the data requirements without negatively impacting your clinical workflow and physician productivity.
Taking the 30,000-foot approach to asking questions like these can help put the EHR vendors youâ€™re considering into perspective. Their answers will help clarify financial concerns, long-term strategies, and reveal any potential stability issues. Donâ€™t be afraid to step back from product and functionality questions. Be sure to include those at the top of the EHR companyâ€™s corporate ladder in your queries so that you have a thorough understanding of your potential business partner.
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