Selecting the Right EHR

Choosing the right certified EHR system is a key step in getting started down the path towards successful implementation and reaching meaningful use.  Listed below are general considerations on selecting the right certified EHR system for a practice.

Basic EHR Criteria

  • ONC‐ATCB certification (six certifying bodies)
  • HIPAA privacy and security compliant
  • Meaningful use reporting
  • Ability to generate county, state, and federal reports
  • Support HL7 messaging standard
  • Support Secure Sockets (SSL) digital certificate
  • Audit trail capabilities

Step 1: Decision Point

  • ASP/SaaS hosted or client/server on‐premise
  • List the capabilities you want in an ideal EHR system
  • Prioritize the list into “must haves” and “nice‐to-haves”

Step 2: EHR Demonstrations

  • Determine which EHR system meets your high‐level requirements
  • Identify ways that EHR software will make your office more efficient
  • Determine which EHR system falls within your budget
  • Rank the vendors based on perceived ease‐of‐use

Step 3: Reference Check

  • Ask for two or three reference that share your specialty
  • Ask each reference what they don’t like about the system
  • Ask reference how the vendor responded to any problems
  • Assess the vendor’s financial and strategic viability

Pricing Tips

  • Software license fees
    • Include all modules (ePrescribing, Lab and HIE interface, EDI)
    • Hosting fee
  • Implementation and training
    • Hourly vs. fixed fee
    • Templates customization cost
    • Include software upgrades
    • No charge for after hour upgrades
    • Access to date schema

Hidden Costs

  • Interfaces (device, lab, imaging, portal, HIE, PM)
  • Third party software
  • Claims processing
  • Web portal
  • Template customization
  • Report customization

Contract Discussions

  • Arrange milestone-based payments
  • Decide on a start date that works best for your practice
  • Mutually agree to a project plan
  • 60‐90 days go‐live from signing the contract is a reasonable timeframe
  • Data screw clause must be specific
  • Data must be human readable