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Avoid the Pitfalls of a Poor EHR Vendor Selection


Our 2013 Technology Survey results indicate many practices are dissatisfied with their EHR vendors. Here’s how to ensure you experience a positive partnership.

Select the wrong EHR vendor for your practice and you could suffer long-term consequences. That’s because an EHR vendor that fails to address and accommodate your practice’s needs will likely lead to a poor EHR implementation and poor utilization. It could also hinder your physicians from successfully attesting to the various stages of meaningful use.

Unfortunately, a poor vendor partnership happens more often than you might think. One-third of the nearly 1,300 respondents to our 2013 Technology Survey said they probably would not recommend their EHR vendor to another practice, 9 percent said they would not recommend their vendor and wished they hadn’t used it, and 4 percent said they are very dissatisfied with their vendor and would switch to another vendor if they could.

Whether your practice is going through the EHR selection process for the first, second, even third time, here are some tips to ensure you select the right partner: 

1. Consider the track record. Look to partner with a vendor that will be around for the long haul, Matthew Hawkins, CEO of Vitera Healthcare Solutions, which has helped 3,001 eligible providers attest to Stage 1 of meaningful use, told Physicians Practice at the HIMSS13 Conference. A large customer base and a strong track record with helping providers attest to Stage 1 are good signs.

2. Look for accessibility. An EHR that is mobile accessible, meaning clinicians can access it from a smartphone or tablet, correlates strongly with higher EHR vendor satisfaction among our 2013 Technology Survey respondents.

Overall, only 14 percent of survey respondents said they are very satisfied and would highly recommend their EHR vendor. Among respondents who indicated their EHR is mobile accessible, however, 23 percent said they are very satisfied and would highly recommend their vendor. Among respondents who said their EHR is not mobile accessible, only 5 percent said they are very satisfied and would highly recommend their vendor.

3. Stand by your needs. When selecting an EHR, make sure you have your priorities right. We asked our survey respondents what influenced their EHR selection. Of those respondents who said they were highly satisfied and would recommend their EHR vendor, the most popular response regarding what influenced their selection was ease of use (63 percent), followed by vendor reputation (45 percent), followed by price (40 percent).

4. Plan ahead. If participating in the meaningful use incentive program is a top priority, remember that the second and third stages of the program will require more of eligible providers and EHR vendors than Stage 1 required. Make sure you select a vendor that will keep up.

Ask potential EHR vendors if they have a product portfolio or solution that will enable you to attest to Stage 2 of meaningful use, said Hawkins. If the answer is yes, ask them to demonstrate it.

Keep in mind that the patient engagement and interoperability requirements of Stage 2 will be challenging, so ask the vendor how it will help you satisfy those requirements. Pay particular attention to their answers regarding interoperability, as Stage 3 will require even more information sharing, said Hawkins. “To see the whole thing holistically and not have to shift technology vendor partners from Stage 1, to Stage 2, to Stage 3 is really important.”   

The full results from our 2013 Technology Survey will be available this June. To see last year’s survey results, click here.

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