EHR software shopping can be a daunting task. So in the spirit of the holiday shopping season we thought we'd give you a 5 step plan for EHR software shopping. As 2014 comes to a close you might be thinking of the goals you have for your practice in 2015, and implementing an EHR software might be one of them. Read up on our guide to get started!
We aren't talking about your typical shopping list. This first step to take before making any big purchase is making a list of functional needs and wants that you are looking for in a product or service. In the case of EHR systems you need to first assess the needs of your practice. Every practice is unique, and not every software is going to offer the features needed for your practice. While coming up with a list of functionality that you're looking for in a system don't forget to consider the needs of your staff, your current hardware and IT infrastructure, and your workflow. Taking a look at all three of these things will give you a well-rounded overview of what your practice needs in a solution.
Technology is constantly changing. If your practice has been using the same software solution for the last 10 years, chances are you might not be aware of all the different options out there today. Without even realizing it, the system you're currently using might be slowing you down. So make sure to take the time to explore all of your options. Technology and change can be scary, especially if you and your staff are used to working off a system that you've been using for years. But, if you're in the market for new software, don't rule out any options just because you aren't familiar with technology.
Now that you know what you're looking for in a software, and you've done a little bit of research on the different options out there - get shopping! Find 3-5 systems that fit the criteria that you came up with when you were making your shopping list. Demoing less than 3 systems doesn't really give you a fair comparison, but more than 5 could be hard to keep track of. So narrow down your options a bit before you dive in. Before you have your first demo, come up with a comparison sheet that you can use for each system so that in the end you can compare all the features and costs equally. This will help you make a fair decision in the end and hopefully give you a software that will help your practice reach its goals.
After you've taken a look at the systems on your list you have probably narrowed down your options to a couple of favorites. Here's where budget comes into play. Don't just look at the initial up-front costs of the system, there are a lot of other costs that can add up long-term. We know that your budget is important to you, so do the math and figure out what solution is going to meet your needs and be the most cost effective for your practice over time. Here's some additional costs to consider, other than the up-front cost:
Annual Maintenance Fees
Third Party & Add on Solutions
If you followed all of the steps leading up to now, you're ready to make a decision! Including your staff in the process is a great way to make them feel valued and part of the team. So make the decision together. That way, when the time comes for implementation and training on the new system your staff will be just as excited as you. Managing the change to a new EHR software in your practice can sometimes be tricky, but if your staff is involved from the start they are more likely to be on board and excited about the switch!
If you're ready to start shopping, download our shopping kit! It's packed full of templates to help you determine your practice's needs, evaluate technology, compare systems, and assess the total cost of ownership of a system!