Curt Rosinski offered some really good advice on a previous meaningful use post for those doctors who are evaluating EHR software and the customization features that they offer:
The thing all potential consumers should keep in mind when buying an EHR, EMR or any medical management software is this; the more out-of-the-box the product is, the less customization the product is capable of. Customization in this case being meaningful customization, not screen color or placement of toolbar.
I’m not sure I agree completely that the more out-of-the box the product is, the less customization will be available. This could be the case, but EHR vendors can make it so you can customize everything in the EHR while still preserving a great out-of-the-box EHR experience.
However, the second comment was even more interesting to me. I’m always amazed how some people evaluating an EHR get so annoyed by the color of a window or get so enamored by the size of the font. I’m not saying that the color of the window and size of the font aren’t important. They can be really important in improving the usability of the software. However, if those things are so important to the usability of the system, then they shouldn’t likely make those things part of the customization preference package.
The idea of meaningful EHR customizations is a good one. Look for the EHR that does a great job balancing the out-of-the box EHR implementation experience while still making lots of customizations possible, because you can be sure that 6 months into your EMR implementation you’ll be ready to look at ways to really maximize the use of your EHR.