Our guest blogger is John Macikowski, Director for Clinical Practice Solutions Inc., an authorized VAR and Implementation specialist for eClinicalWorks and Dragon Medical. John has over 25 years of experience in the I.T. industry and has specialized in Healthcare Solutions for the past 6 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 770-963-6965.
1) Not making sure that the EHR you choose meets all current Federal Meaningful Use guidelines. This is perhaps the most important criteria. Unless you are looking to retire from practice in the next few years, purchasing an EHR program that does not meet current Meaningful Use guidelines, or one that is unlikely to meet them in the future is a poor decision for your practice and can negatively impact you in the future in areas as diverse as compensation, product support, EHR and Health Exchange interoperability and medical device compatibility. If you are not sure, or if that fact is glossed over by the salesperson, ask for it in writing.
2) Short changing yourself on training time and expertise. You’re learning a brand new way to run your practice. Give yourself adequate time for the transition. How much expertise does your training team have? Ask to talk to the trainer that will do your implementation. Ask for references of practices that particular trainer has done. Who is accountable for your implementation? Training will determine how successful your practice will be with its EHR implementation, how efficient your staff will be, and ultimately, how much it will cost you. The correct amount and type of upfront training will save you money and frustration down the road. You want to avoid a trainer that simply gives a detailed demo of the product. You do want a trainer that will understand and implement to your workflow. Ideally, either the trainer or implementation coordination should have practice management experience. Do you really want to trust your livelihood to a trainer that doesn’t understand your concerns? EHR salespeople typically quote the minimum amount of training in order to make their EHR look more price competitive. They will tell you there are dozens of videos you can watch on your own time to supplement training. Is your time really worth that little? Can you and your staff really go live on an EHR on three or five days of training?
3) Skimping on hardware. Make sure you buy enough workstations, and deploy the correct type of hardware. You should ask your implementation specialist what is the “best practice” roadmap for your hardware. Don’t just go by the EHR minimum specifications (Or even worse, shortcut the specifications.) Minimum specifications are just that, what you really want to know is what you will need in order to make your EHR perform at its best. Your EHR salesperson and IT partner should understand that. Your IT specialist should also have some experience with that particular EHR or be willing to work closely with your EHR implementation team. If not, find one that does. Spend the money to have an independent infrastructure audit if you have any doubts about your current IT vendor’s capabilities.
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