5 Snares to Avoid When Purchasing an EHR System

January 26th, 2015

Electronic Health Care Record systems, also known as EHR or EMR (electronic medical record systems), enable increased data accessibility and improved office efficiency. And once meaningful use of the system is achieved, eligible professionals, hospitals, and critical access hospitals can earn incentive payments.

But before you can lay claim to those rewards, you must first select the best EHR vendor for your organization. We won’t list vendors here since a good fit for one organization might be a poor fit for another. What we will do is expose 5 snares to avoid when evaluating a potential EHR vendor.

Consider these overlooked issues before purchasing an EHR system.

  1. Make sure that you actually have the means to implement an entirely new system of record keeping. EHR vendors usually have high-level conversations with doctors or practice managers in order to sell them on their product. In those meetings, they’re talking big picture features and theoretical results. Vendors almost never get into the details of what will actually be needed to implement their system, and rarely provide you with a realistic timeline for implementation.
  2. Ensure that your computer hardware and software meets the vendor’s system requirements. The EHR vendors will send hardware and software requirements to you, but it is your responsibility to verify that your current technology meets the vendor’s minimum or recommended requirements. If you do not crosscheck their system requirements with your current systems, you could find yourself facing counterproductive performance issues down the road.
  3. Don’t rely on the vendor’s data backup and disaster recovery. EHR vendors often offer their own backup program. However, it only covers their software. When planning for disaster recovery, you need to take a look at your entire office (which means all of your data- not just what’s in the EHR system).
  4. If you are considering a cloud-based EHR, ensure that your bandwidth is up to the task. If you lack the network speed and bandwidth capacity to push all of your records to the cloud, consider another solution. Will you upgrade your bandwidth? Or will you stick with locally stored data? Whatever you decide, don’t install a cloud-based system without the bandwidth to drive it.
  5. Insist on HIPAA knowledge and compliance from your EHR vendor. EHR vendors often sell a false sense of compliance and downplay the need for HIPAA oversight entirely. HIPAA compliance is vitally important in the healthcare world, and thus cannot be overlooked.

By avoiding these 5 potential pitfalls, you are well on your way to partnering with a great EHR vendor. We’re sure that in hardly any time at all you will be experiencing countless enhancements within your organization thanks to a well planned-out EHR system.

As always, a good, local IT partner can help you speed up the process or assist your staff with the implementation of your EHR system.

Give us a shout! We work with EHR vendors to ensure your IT systems are ready for the switch to an electronic health records system."