Electronic Health Records


EHR vendor selection checklist for small practices

By Patrick Ouellette

- There are literally hundreds of EHR systems out there for you to choose from, all with different pros and cons. Selecting a quality EHR vendor is important, but just as crucial is the vendor’s ability to tailor its system to your needs. Remember, you can reach out to Regional Extension Centers (RECs) for guidance and resources.

Here are some points to consider before making a final selection:

1. How much experience does the vendor have with EHR implementation? What type of stability and track record do they have?

2. Assess your physical environment and document it in a detailed list and rank those in order of importance to your organization. Think about items such as these:

A. How many physicians on staff? How many of those are trained in EHR?

B. What type of training does the vendor offer? Does it matter if your staff isn’t tech-savvy?

C. What do you have for image management and storage?

D. Do we have high-speed Internet?

3. Is the EHR system software designed to fit your organization’s needs? Here are some EHR software features to be aware of:

A. Physician dashboard

B. Voice recognition

C. Customized templates and patient documents

D. Patient population reporting

E. Interoperability with patients and physicians from other practices

F. Single-sign on capabilities

G. Data management

H. Mobile support

I. e-Prescriptions

J. Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) for generating and tracking patient orders

K. Integrated billing tools

4. Here are some typical system requirements you might find from a vendor. From here, you can identify your hardware needs:

A. Intel or AMD processor(s) running at 2 GHz or faster – ideally made in the past two years

B. While Windows 7 would be great for long-term use, Windows Vista, Windows XP and Windows Small Business Server 2003 will work just fine as well. Some may also allow you to go the open-source route and use Linux’s Ubuntu.

C. 2 GB or more for local/client computers and  4 GB or more for the main/server computer

D. Screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or higher for desktop and notebooks

E. At least 160 GB of free space on a hard drive

F. Strong internet connectivity that will make ePrescribing and drug checking much easier

5. Does the vendor offer a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, sometimes called Application Service Provider (ASP)? Or do they require you to use client-server systems, which require a staff member to manage the entire process of updates, upgrades and backups.

6. How much can the vendor prepare for and help you get selected by CMS for Meaningful Use Stage 1 under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program?

7. Will the system be able to scale up if needed for Stage 2?

8. Will their system be relevant beyond meaningful use?

9. Will there be any trouble converting to IDC-10? Are they compliant in all other areas?

10. Can they help you avoid productivity losses and EHR transition issues?

Read similar EHR Checklists:

EHR implementation preparation checklist for small practices

EHR implementation checklist for small practices

EHR implementation timeline for small practices

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