The Insider’s Guide to EHR Selection: Expert Advice and Insights

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The path to choosing the right electronic health record (EHR) solution is often challenging for healthcare organizations. With an overwhelming number of options available, each with unique features and integrations, it can be difficult to find the perfect fit for healthcare workflows. Additionally, navigating the complexities of IT infrastructure and ensuring the new EHR aligns with healthcare regulations adds layers of difficulty. As healthcare regulations continuously evolve, the wrong EHR selection can have serious impacts on successful care delivery and return on investment.

When the right EHR is selected, there are significant benefits, including the reduction of medical errors and more efficient and safe care delivery. By taking steps to match EHR solutions with their needs, prioritize their budget, and compare available options, organizations can be sure that they are making the best EHR selection. In this guide, we’ll outline eight tips to help organizations move forward with confidence.

1. Create a Project Charter

A project charter is the key to successfully kicking off any project, and this is true for EHR selection as well. With the goals and scope clearly outlined, it simplifies pitching the project and creating buy-in from stakeholders. It’s also a great first step to help define the roles and responsibilities of the team that will lead the EHR selection process.

EHR Team2. Build a Cross-Functional Team That Represents the Organization

With the project charter as a reference point, organizations can build a team that will determine and ultimately implement the best EHR solution for their needs. This team should consist of members representing all the functional areas of the business who are affected by the final EHR decision. Their valuable insights will help inform a selection plan that ensures their organization drives the selection process, instead of the companies selling the product.

3. Gather and Document Business Requirements

As part of the planning and research process, it’s vital to carefully assess the business case-use requirements for an EHR solution. What challenges will the right EHR solve for the organization? Clearly documenting these will help organizations define what a usable EHR looks like, and will serve as a template for their selection process.

EHR Implementation4. Use a Formal RFP Process to Ascertain Functional Match and Budgetary Estimate

At this stage of the project, organizations will have clearly defined their goals and the most important criteria specific to their needs. They will also have a team in place that can help create a robust Request for Proposal (RFP). This RFP will help collect all the data organizations deem important from EHR vendors so that they can more easily compare vendors and determine which product is the best fit.

5. Evaluate, Assess, and Shortlist Vendors Who Match the Selection Criteria and Budget

With RFP information in hand, organizations can now effectively sort through potential EHR vendors to narrow down their choices to products that most closely align with their selection criteria and budget.

6. Create Workflow Scenarios for Vendors to Demo and Follow

Although the RFP process helps organizations to thoroughly evaluate EHR vendors, this step is the true test of the product against their specific needs. Demos present an opportunity to focus on the challenges identified in step three and see how a solution can solve them through a set of workflow scenarios.

7. Objectively Score Functional Matches and Make a Decision

Everything organizations have collected through this stage of the selection process now can coalesce into a final decision. By objectively scoring each EHR solution, the team can easily rank their choices and pick the one that is the best match for their goals.

EHR Optimization8. Confirm Findings with References, Hardware Requirements and Needed Integrations

Before signing a contract for the new EHR, be sure to confirm that the hardware requirements and integrations needed will match the existing infrastructure. Contact references and speak with other executives to understand their experience with the system. These important steps will help organizations avoid being blindsided by disappointing real-world results and unexpected budget overages upgrading systems.

Prepare for EHR Implementation

Once the complex process of EHR selection is complete, the next big undertaking will be EHR implementation. Careful implementation is essential to leveraging the full functionality of their EHR and the highest return on their investment.

The Value of EHR Consulting Services

It’s understandable to be overwhelmed by the complexity of the EHR selection and implementation process. Each step involves a high level of detail, and the wrong conclusions can have lasting impacts on an organization’s bottom line and patient outcomes. An unbiased IT advisor can be a valuable asset to help lead the process in a strategic, intentional manner, helping guide the internal project team through a successful selection and implementation. Contact us today to learn how Hartman Executive Advisors can help your organization find the EHR that is best aligned with your needs and goals.

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