EHR Due Diligence – Include a Site Visit to Existing Users

An On-Site Visit to an existing user is a critical element in the selection of an EHR system

As part of the due diligence process you go through, you should, if possible, visit a site where the EHR system your healthcare consultant recommends is being used. While vendor demonstrations are useful and necessary, a site visit where you can ask questions of real-time users is highly desirable.  And if you can’t physically go to another site because of time or financial constraints, you can get almost as much out of a reference phone call, if it is properly structured.

To make the most of the on-site experience make sure you are using an EHR/EMR on-site visit evaluation tool. Otherwise, your visit may be disjointed, with the vendor representative (if he of she is present) setting the agenda and controlling the discussion.  Or the users you are visiting simply show you things that are important to them, but not necessarily to you.

Here are a few examples of areas to review:

  • Vendor Performance and relationships?
  • Time management, real vs. expected?
  • Budget met or not and why?
  • Critical Release/Enhancements process and timing?
  • Hardware selection issues?
  • Training and Support experience?
  • Issues faced during the implementation period?
  • Security, HIPAA, complexities?
  • Interfaces to outside parties such as labs, etc.?
  • Workflow Observations, cash flow/operational slow down?
  • Mobile Device Applications, a challenge?
  • Patient Portal functionalities?

It is perhaps a sign of the status of EHR systems and installations, that even users who a vendor recommends for a site visit may not have implemented all features and functions of their system.  But even a visit to this user can be useful since you may learn about pitfalls that have derailed a user from full implementation – and you can take them into account as you move forward with your own selection and implementation.

How do you choose the best overall EHR system? The on-site visit is a critical element and has provided our clients with keen insights, usually leading to a much better final decision.

For more information about EHR due diligence, sign up for a free EHR Systems reference guide from The Fox Group.  This complete 26 page booklet is a logical and sequential description of the process: The Art and Science of Evaluating, Selecting, and Implementing an Electronic Health Records System.

When you need proven expertise and performance

Jim Hook, MPH

Mr. James D. Hook has over 30 years of healthcare executive management and consulting experience in medical groups, hospitals, IPA’s, MSO’s, and other healthcare organizations.

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