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Getting Value from an EHR Vendor User Group Meeting


Seek out peer organizations for benchmarking and create opportunities for face time with your vendor contacts.

Whether you have attended your EHR vendor’s user group meeting for years or it’s the first time you have convinced your manager to let you attend, you can always learn something new to bring back to your practice.

Here are four tips for deriving value from the meeting:

Set up your goals for the user group meeting.

“Make sure you know what you want to get out of the meeting before you [get there],” recommended Derek Kosiorek, principal consultant with the Medical Group Management Association’s Healthcare Consulting Group.

Ask yourself these three questions:

• Do you want to learn tips and tricks about using the EHR?

• Do you want to create a network of colleagues?

• Do you want to know what upcoming versions of the software will include?

This is a great exercise to do before the user group meeting because it will help you measure afterwards if the event was a success or not, said Kosiorek.

Benchmark your EHR implementation with other practices.

EHR vendors typically share a list of attendees before the user group meeting, so seize the opportunity to identify two facilities that are similar in size and composition to your own to do some benchmarking, said Joncé Smith, vice president of revenue management at Stoltenberg Consulting.

Ideally, you want to choose a practice that’s just a little ahead of your own project timeline and one that that has fully completed its implementation. Make time to chat with people from these facilities when you’re at the user group meeting, she said. “This will give you neutral sources for insight and ideas on proactively removing project barriers,” she said.

Four questions to ask these practices include:

• Are your IT services supported by in-house staff or are they vendor-hosted?

• What were your top three issues during implementation?

• What are your top three issues post-implementation?

• Are you interested in forming a subset group to discuss implementation issues?

Create opportunities for face time with your EHR vendor contacts.

This is a great opportunity to put a face with a name - or even more importantly, ensure that your contacts at the vendor see your face, said Kosiorek. “Physically meeting someone puts them on another level of relationship - and that’s something you may be able to leverage [in the future].”

Divide and conquer on sessions and set up huddle times.

If other members of your team are joining you at the user group meeting, review the breakout sessions together and determine who will attend each session. “This will ensure you have adequate coverage and get content from needed sessions for your facility,” said Smith.

And since not everything will go according to plan, set up times to huddle with your team at the user group meeting. “Use these [huddles] to realign the course of action, identify new targets, and exchange feedback. If team members know they will be asked for feedback, they are more inclined to stay on track,” she recommended.

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