Selecting an EMR Vendor

Posted on August 20, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I know that sometimes people don’t like the analogy’s I make on this site. However, I just can’t help but make them. I find them instructive and there’s nothing wrong with people disagreeing with me. In fact, that’s often where I learn the most.

In the comments of a previous post, I was discussing some of the common issues with large EMR vendors (I like to call them Jabba the Hutt EMR vendors). Namely: backlog of training and setup, slow EMR support response times, HUGE up front costs for the EMR, etc etc etc. I’m sure that many of you are familiar with these subjects. For example, you pay a HUGE up front fee, get to wait 6 months to get trained on the EMR (EMR backlog?) and then once you implement your support calls take forever to get responses from the EMR vendor. Unfortunately, this is far too common.

What I don’t get is why people continue to go through this pain.

A few years back I was talking with someone about eating out at restaurants in Las Vegas. Someone was complaining about the wait times at a restaurant to get a table. Then, a long time Las Vegas resident commented that her husband and her NEVER wait for a table in Las Vegas. She then explained that there are SOOO many restaurants in Las Vegas, that if one has a wait they would just go to another one.

Obviously, the comparison to an EMR isn’t perfect, but the number of EMR choices is plentiful and you do have a choice to go with another solution. Sure, your EMR is an absolutely critical decision. You don’t want to make it lightly. However, that’s exactly why I don’t understand users that want to take a $50k-100k+ risk on an EMR software which can barely even support their implementation in the first place.

Is there EMR product really that much more compelling than the other 300+ EMR vendors?

There are plenty of low cost monthly alternatives that have exemplary support out there. The phrase “Buyer be ware” was never more true than with the purchase and selection of an EMR vendor. Don’t be swayed by great marketing and sales people. Take your time and find the right EMR and the right EMR vendor.