Choosing an EHR at the VT AAP

I was on the phone yesterday with a client from Rhode Island who was taking the time to tell me about his practice’s search for an EHR. To my surprise, they had flown down to visit another customer of ours in Tennessee to see what they thought of an installation with one of our EHR partners. They gave him some interesting advice: take your time. Even though the TN practice is happy and up-and-running with the EHR, they realized that it has taken them a year or more to figure out what, exactly, they want and expect from it. And that has cost them time and money. [Note: the EHR company in question has served them well; this is a classic practice management issue.]

Which makes me feel that I know what I’m talking about sometimes.

You see, a few weeks ago, I was honored to give a presentation at the VT AAP fall meeting. My discussion was entitled “Choosing a Pediatric Electronic Health Record”. Perhaps it was “Preparing for…” In fact, I think I can use WordPress to post the presentation. In any event, the fundamental point from the entire presentation is:

The single biggest and most common mistake practices make when choosing an EHR is to learn what they need after they purchase the system.

Look at that!

Now, many of you read this blog have heard me speak, but there are plenty of you who haven’t. Although common sense and not false modesty tells me that I’m far from the world’s greatest speaker, I think I’m often better in person than I am in writing. My brain seems to enjoy the challenge of making things up on-the-fly, which means I sometimes end up saying things in a presentation that I would have never thought to communicate in writing. So, there, in the middle of my talk, I blurted out:

Purchasing an EHR before organizing your practice and knowing exactly what to expect is like having kids to save a marriage. Sometimes it works, but it usually doesn’t. And it’s always more expensive.

Now, maybe that doesn’t ring as true in the middle of a blog as it did 45 minutes into a lecture about the subject, but I saw the lightbulbs turn on in the eyes all around the room, so I thought I’d record that analogy before I forget it. And extend it poorly with some comment about birth control.

So, if you’re shopping for an EHR – take your time and prepare. Want some suggestions? Just ask.

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