Last time Medicare was billed was prior to the new EHR!

They told me, more than that, they showed me, because it was hard to believe.  The last time this physician office was able to bill Medicare was six weeks ago. The EHR system is ‘live” alright, but it does not work, and staff and physicians are waiting for “the vendor to do something”.

“I should have had a true RFP to ‘lock in’ the promises the vendor made!”

“I should have looked at more than price!”

“I didn’t know what questions to ask!”

Sound familiar? The Request for Proposal (RFP) is a formal document that will eventually be referenced in the final contract with the EHR vendor.  Not going through a fomral RFP process is one of the pitfalls to avoid!

Request for Proposals
After you have narrowed down the list of vendors to 2 or 3 that will meet your needs, based on the initial questionnaire, its time for the RFP.  A thorough and complete Request for Proposal (RFP), is an essential step to request & receive specific information to decide which EHR vendor is the one I want to work with.

Some of an RFP’s major components include:

  • Vendor Background and Information
  • References
  • System Features (this is a definitive list of features the vendor guarantees are available in the system)
  • Pricing and purchase contract terms
  • Implementation (methodology, time frames)
  • Documentation and training
  • Third party software needed for the system, and financial terms for use of that software
  • Report generation tools
  • Security and HIPAA compliance
  • Hardware requirements

This is the official response from the vendor, that the vendor will be contractually liable to provide.

RFP Evaluation
As much as possible, the responses to the RFP should be documented in a side-by-side matrix.  Any areas with missing or unclear documentation should be clarified.

As you evaluate the RFP’s, you can also check the vendor references and attend a site visit to at least one current user.  At this site visit, you should ask about vendor performance and response to the user’s problems, issues or concerns.  You can also learn about another user’s experience with implementation and training – what went well, and what caused problems.

In order to select the best overall EHR system for your practice the RFP is an indespensible step.  Your final choice will be based not just on price, but on relevant features, service, and quality.  Better due diligence … better outcome.

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.