Selection of EHR software has definitely slowed. I predicted EHR adoption would slow back in February and I’ve definitely seen the selection process slowing. One of the main reasons people are waiting to adopt is they want to know what’s going to be defined as a “certified EHR” and “meaningful use.”
In order to combat this slow down in EHR purchases, we knew it was only a matter of time until EHR vendors started promising to support whatever is required to become a “certified EHR.” The first one I found with an EHR guarantee was NextGen. Here’s a summary of their commitment:
- A solution that will always evolve to meet the standards and certifications for federal stimulus reimbursement programs of interest to physicians using NextGen Healthcare products.
- A solution that uses open standards and enables generally seamless communication across the healthcare community.
- A fully-functional solution, and swift and professional implementation.
- Top quality training and support.
This is a really smart business move. They’ve got to do something to keep making sales. However, I’m a little concerned by anyone who selects an EHR based on this commitment. I must admit that I don’t see any reason why NextGen won’t do everything in its power to become a certified EHR. It would be detrimental to their sales staff if they don’t. However, don’t be surprised if a lot of doctors don’t get swallowed up in the wake of misunderstanding.
To illustrate what I mean, take a look through the above commitments and tell me one of them that can be easily defined and measured. Whenever there’s ambiguity involved, the lawyers in the room start to salivate. However, how many doctors offices are really going to spend the time and money involved in enforcing this guarantee? Very few if any. They’ll spend as much on lawyers as they will on recovered damages.
Sadly, the above seems like a better mission or vision for an EHR company than it sounds as a guarantee. If any EHR company really meant this stuff, they wouldn’t need to make a guarantee. All people would need to do is talk to previous customers and the writing would be all over the wall.
Moral of the Story: Select an EHR because it’s the right software for you as a clinic. Don’t base EHR selection on EHR stimulus money or some guarantee.