You probably see the analogy – many of the EHR offerings are ‘dogs’, and the two things to avoid when looking for EHR software are:
1) acquiring software for the sole purpose of qualifying for ARRA HITECH financial incentives.
2) reaching a purchase decision on the basis of “cost”.
Firstly, at the risk of repetition, if your objective is to increase staff efficiency, increase patient throughput, decrease admin/clinical errors and improve compliance with internal/external rules and regulations the MU products, with minor exceptions, will not give these benefits.
Sure, all of the MU certified products will “save you time and money” according to the sales reps, but if you ask “how?” you are likely to get nowhere.
If the next item on your checklist is “cost”, you can pay a lot of money and not get the desired objective, or you can pay very little (how about free?) and not get the desired objective. Clearly, you need to look under the hood.
The facts are that when dealing with solutions that supposedly address efficiency and productivity, a reasonable expectation is you would make an investment and then over time see a positive ROI. So, ROI not “cost” should be your decision criteria.
Few agencies go this route because their focus is on “features and functions” as opposed to benefits that map to agency goals/objectives and even when there is a focus on benefits, few agencies require that the vendor help the agency quantify and demonstrate the benefits prior to contracting.
The only remedy to the current “revolving door” scenario where an agency acquires software, takes 1-2 years to get it set up/going , reaches a stage where they figure the software is not meeting their expectations/objectives and then goes back into the market for replacement software is to do sufficient due diligence.
The steps to go through really are quite simple –
Agencies need to:
a) Set quantifiable goals/objectives.
b) See the proposed product in action, running at least one agency program with agency-specific forms.
c) Prepare a timeline for the project.
d) Have in hand an ROI that turns positive within the project timeline.
Only then should an agency sign a contract.