EHR Consultants – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I know that I have a number of EHR consultants that regularly read this blog. Plus, many of my readers have used, are looking to use or have heard stories about EHR consultants. I’m currently working on an article about EHR Consultants and so I’m interested in hearing people’s feedback about their experience with or as an EHR consultant. Here’s some things i’m interested in hearing about:

  • Benefits of an EHR Consultant
  • Challenges of an EHR Consultant
  • Finding a good EHR Consultant
  • Making the most of an EHR Consultant
  • Does an unbiased EHR Consultant exist?
  • etc…

Basically, I’m interested in answering the question of whether an EHR consultant has your best interest in mind and things you can do to ensure a quality experience with a consultant.

Also, you might look back at my five part series on EHR consultants to get you thinking.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Benefits of an EHR Consultant

    Educated build decisions are one of the biggest benefits of EHR consultants. When implementing an EHR you will make many decisions either prompted or not from your vendor. An experienced EHR consultant will be able to explain and provide more detail to the benefits and consequences of these decisions and help to avoid implementing and learning from the school of hard knocks.

    The folks that are typically assembled on the team often have other responsibilities and can’t be as dedicated to the project as a consultant.

    An outside vantage point from an EHR consultant can be a huge benefit, because they will challenge things that folks within the organization take for granted.

    Challenges of an EHR Consultant

    Pacing a project is one of the biggest challenges I see. Dates are often defined without enough knowledge or information to be accurate. An EHR consultant needs to push like a trainer at times to make more progress than the client realizes can be done and also be prepared to pull back the reins when the client is biting off more than they can chew. Many of the other points in this post are a result of challenges.

    Finding a good EHR Consultant

    Ask your vendor, they know who helps their clients be successful. They might be “biased” to that vendor to some degree but they know that software. Also, look at blogs, forums etc. this gives you an insight into their knowledge, style, personality etc. Fit is important to the success.

    Making the most of an EHR Consultant

    Probably the most important to success is to plan and have a clear definition around how you will use them. A good consulting group should be able to tell you how they can help you after assessing your situation. Don’t hire an expert and then not listen or give them the proper venue to voice their expertise. At the least use them as a lead. If you use an EHR consultant for staff supplementation, make sure there is a plan in place to have knowledge transfer.

    Does an unbiased EHR Consultant exist?

    An EHR consultant should be a client advocate. I am not sure if that makes them unbiased. Naturally some consultants are going to want to stay in their comfort zone. When you hire them should determine how vendor neutral they need to be. Many EHR consultants are chosen after the vendor decision has been made. At that point I think you are beyond worrying about vendor bias. A properly defined engagement should address bias issues. If the consultant can’t comply with the desired level of unbias then move on. A consultant that know what they are getting into will be able to comply or should tell you they are not comfortable in that role.

    Matt Davis

  • Matt,
    I really wanted to thank you for your reply. It’s much appreciate and thank you for your perspective. I can’t argue with you on any points. The only thing I think we need to clarify is that everything you discussed is an EHR consultant that is working on the implementation of an EHR. Your points and discussion doesn’t really refer to a consultant that helps you to select an EHR for a group.

    I think that most of the horror stories out there are from those “EHR consultants” that are just trying to sell a certain EHR to doctors. I call these people EHR sales people dressed in sheep (EHR consultant) clothing.

    I do like your idea of having doctors check blogs (like this one…hahaha) before choosing a consultant. Thanks for the link to your blog. I’ll be checking it out.

  • Unfortunately in the consulting community, there is more bad and ugly than good. Laura and I have actually made our careers off cleaning up the ugly, but it sometimes makes us sick to our stomachs to see the money, time, and resources that have been wasted. Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely some good consulting companies out there, but for the unassuming client it can be difficult to determine which is which when reviewing the glossy marketing materials.

    We have a lot to say on the topic (John – you hit a nerve) so we’ve launched a series over on our blog.

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