Selecting the healthcare IT platform that best fits your practice is a big task. These systems are generally sprawling and complex, making it hard to get a full picture of the software during the first use. Following these steps can help you organize your search and choose the ideal medical software suite for your workflow and your team.
1. Research market leaders and popular systems.
The first step in any buying journey is to learn about the market. Take some time to research EMR software, the recent history of the industry, and some of the leading brands on the market today. Seek out user reviews on multiple platforms to get an idea of how previous and current customers responded to the EMR software after implementation.
2. Identify your priorities.
While you’re researching the market, consider your priorities in a healthcare IT platform. Ease of use is often a big consideration for medical practices, because some medical software suites are complex and difficult to learn. However, a system with a steep learning curve might offer advanced features and tools that can improve your medical practice’s performance. So, while there might be a rocky introduction to the software, this little extra time might pay off in the long run.
Another key consideration is the customizability of the system, such as which templates it offers for clinical notes and how much you can tailor them to suit individual users’ preferences. Patient engagement tools, such as a user-friendly patient portal that allows patients to take an active role in their healthcare, are also increasingly common.
Finally, look for interoperability with labs, pharmacies and hospitals for seamless data interchange. Consider which aspects of a healthcare IT platform would match your team’s existing workflow, rather than how you would adapt your workflow to a new system.
3. Request live demonstrations.
Many medical software vendors do not post pricing on their websites, but almost all of them offer live demonstrations, which are often followed by a price quote or estimate. Live demos give you an opportunity to walk through the software with a company representative who will show you the highlights. They will often tailor the demonstration to your needs, showing you the tools you’re most interested in seeing. Most live demos take place through video conference software.
During the live demos, take extensive notes on each of your priorities and anything that stands out as a positive or negative. If you can, record the live demo or ask the company representative to do so. Saving recordings to review later or share with team members can help you make a final decision.
4. Schedule a more detailed demo with the top three vendors.
Oftentimes, if you’re interested in a healthcare IT platform, company representatives will give you a second, more in-depth demonstration. Some of these demos even include sample software you can control and click through yourself. Take detailed notes yet again, and record this demo if possible. When you’re finished with these final demonstrations, request a contract or agreement from each company you’re considering to compare them side by side.
5. Request a detailed breakdown of pricing and fees.
In the contract or agreement you request, there should be a detailed breakdown of all pricing and fees. You need to see an explicit list of everything you are paying for, alongside a contractual obligation for the vendor to provide certain services. Don’t simply trust a promise from a sales representative; if they promised it, it needs to be added in writing. Once you’ve compared contracts, you should be ready to make your buying decision.
When you’ve selected a healthcare IT vendor, closely review the contract before you sign it. If possible, have an attorney review the contract and mark it up accordingly. Be sure to request a detailed breakdown of pricing and any additional fees that might be included. Many vendors charge extra for setup, implementation and training, for example. Again, make sure any promises a vendor made during your research phase are guaranteed in writing.