Here is what I tell my clients.
The starting position is to understand the importance of having a set of strategic objectives before going out on a shopping spree.
“Do you want an EMR because everyone else has one?”, “Do you want an EMR so you can apply for MU incentives?”
Or, do you want to increase staff efficiency, increase throughput, decrease admin/medical errors, and improve compliance with internal/external rules and regulations?” If yes, by how much quantitatively? And, ask the vendor to implement a representative program at your agency (at the vendor’s cost) and demo one of YOUR workflows posting YOUR forms so you can see what this product will look like in production mode.
If you cannot see a product in action, configured for one of your programs, go to another vendor. It’s a buyer’s market, if the vendor cannot be bothered or is not able to configure the product quickly/easily, other vendors will/can.
Canned demos always look good, but how representative of your business are they?
Do you want a simple, easy to use User Interface? (If you are not sure, watch out, because no one at your agency will use the system you end up buying with your hard-earned cash or government money).
While on the topic of UI, a system that has one screen really is all you need to engage all manner of patient processing across thousands of patients in any Agency. (i.e. fixed time commitments on one side, floating time tasks on the other side) – this covers 100% of what everyone does, each day, all day long.
Clearly, this level of scrutiny is appropriate for enterprise wide solutions, not single user installations.