EMR Salesperson Myth – Specialty Templates

Time to call out another myth that EMR salespeople love to use to sell their EMR system. Here’s the question and answer that will be familiar to many:

Doctor: Do you have templates for my specialty?
EMR Salesperson: Of course, we have tons of templates for your specialty.

Available templates is one of those myths that is perpetuated by many EMR companies. The problem with the question being asked is that “EMR salespeople” wouldn’t know the difference between a good and bad EMR template if they tried. Add in the idea of specialty specific templates and it’s no wonder they don’t know how to give a doctor a real answer to that question. They are also so far removed from the EMR template development that they can’t reasonably answer that question. So, stop asking the salesperson.

Instead, ask to see all of the specialty specific templates. At least then you’ll know up front the quality (or lack therof) of the EMR templates offered for your specialty.

I’d personally even take it one step further. Ask the EMR vendor to make a change to one of the templates you like. The harsh reality of templates is that almost every (and possibly EVERY) template you get from an EMR vendor is going to need at least some modification to make it look the way you want it to look. You might want to reorder the data, brand the note, add in missing options in drop down lists, or some other edit. Regardless of how big or small, you’re going to be editing the templates you’re given. Better to know up front the process for editing the template. If the person showing you the template baulks at your request to modify the template, that’s a really bad sign.

I’m not hammering on templates either. They can be very effective if created correctly. Just don’t expect a set of practice changing templates right out of the box.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, 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, EXPO.health, 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.


  • i beg to differ. I work for OnlineMedSource, an amazing EMR/EHR company. I garauntee that when you try our product, it will take less time, and suit you better, more fast than any other company. You can have your templates the exact way you want them, and in a reasonable time frame! info@OnlineMedSource.org

  • Rebekah,
    You just illustrated exactly what I’m talking about. I call these EMR sales miscommunications. What you consider a reasonable time frame and what most doctors consider a reasonable time frame is so different. Every doctor is different and so any promises of how quickly you can adjust templates is just fluff in my book. You can’t know until you know how the doctor documents and how that matches what’s already been created. Then, you can start adding in how user friendly the program is you created.

    I think it’s a mistake for you to try and guarantee that your product “will take less time, and suit you better, more fast than any other company.” I’m not trying to discount your product. I’ve never seen it. However, there are 400 products out there for good reason. I believe it’s impossible for any one product to be able to be the perfect product for all doctors, in all specialties across this country. Each company has its pros and cons.

    Let’s just take a simple example. Let’s see a screenshot of an oncology template out of the box.

  • The discussion of “do you have templates for my specialty?” was actually the subject of a post I recently made on our blog. It’s a bit more of a detailed discussion, since different EMR systmes mean different things when they use the term “templates.”

  • Robert,
    I like this part of your blog post:
    ““Templates” mean different things to different EHR systems. Physicians who ask the question “do you have templates for my specialty?” are asking a more complex question than meets the eye.”

    This is another good reason why the question is so hard. Defining the term template is the subject of a number of other posts. However, the doctor asking if they have templates could be imagining one definition of the word template while the EMR salesperson is imagining another definition.

    Is either one wrong? No, that’s why I call it a sales miscommunication.

  • Great questions on templates and clinical relevance.
    For more discussion and “10 Ways to Control the EMR Sales Cycle” (or, “What your EMR Sales Rep does not want you to know”), Visit myEMRchoice.com

  • Rebekah, have you personally gone and timed your software’s implementation cycle against “any other EMR vendor”? How can you substantiate your claim?

    And comment # 6, I’m really sick of vendors polluting even discussion forums.

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