EMR Consultants – Tell Us Your Story

It seems like the more people that I talk to, the more I realize that everyone seems to have a story about EMR consultants. So, let’s hear all of your stories good and bad with EMR consultants. Is there a reason you’ve chosen not to use an EMR consultant? Are you considering using one in the future? Do you pay your consultant or does the EMR company pay for them? Let us know your thoughts.

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.

18 Comments

  • You may want to use a consultant to help you narrow down your choices of EMRs. This might be a bad idea because they may lead you to the expensive complicated EMRs who pay commissions. This is what happened to me when I bought my EMR in 2005.

    I think the best thing to do is spend the time to narrow down the choices by reading blogs like this and looking at the AAFP ratings (American Acadamy of Family Practice). Also read articles in Medical Economics and Physicians Practice.

    Once you find a EMRs that seem good, study their website and get an online demo of their system.

    Check out 3-5 systems.

  • As a healthcare oriented IT Service Provider we have chosen not be affiliated with any one paricular EMR/EHR company. I think this gives us some credibility when working with our clients, many of whom have many different practice needs.

    Our business isn’t beholden to any one software vendor, only to our clients practice goals. We do have more experience with certain EHR systems than others, but we aren’t reselling the software and getting a commission. The software sale doesn’t drive us in any way. We are totally service oriented. This goes against the traditional VAR playbook of committing to a product and developing a sales strategy around it, but it has worked well for us.

    On a side note, if we have a client on an EHR or PM system that we haven’t supported, we will, depending on the client committment, send our staff members to train on this software, at our own expense. We have a lot of success with this approach and it aligns our goals to our client goals.

    -Jeff
    EMR Group, Inc.

  • Dr Jeff: How many physicians have the time to read blogs to understand the good, the bad and the ugly about EMR Selection, price negotiation, project management, hardware selection and installation, etc. It is OK for the vendors to pay the EMR Consulting company for taking the trouble of finding the Physician with a need, determining the requirements of the Physician, matching the requirements to what the EMR systems offer and then shortlisting 2-3 EMR vendors for demonstration and negotiation. So it is basically handholding the Physician through the process and reducing the chances of failure.

    Wy would you think that the EMR Consultant would be more motivated by the short term gains (money) vis-a-vis longer term recommendation based on successful implementation?

    Thank you.

  • Mark,
    I’ll let Dr. Jeff speak for himself, but there are tons of EMR sales people dressed up with the “EMR Consultant” title. They don’t care about what’s best for the practice. They just want doctors/clinics to buy the EMR that will give them the best commission. This isn’t true across the board, but there are many many people like this. They are nothing more than EMR salespeople.

    I’m not saying that people shouldn’t use a good EMR consultant. I’m also not saying that it’s not right for EMR consultants to take a commission from an EMR vendor for referring someone to that vendor. What I think is important is that people are educated on finding the right EMR consultant that do as you describe and aren’t just trying to sell an EMR.

    In fact, I wrote an article in MDNG about this very topic: http://www.hcplive.com/mdnglive/articles/PC_EHR_consultant

  • John, I am going to print and read your article. I am sure it is very good. You stuff is usually excellent.

    This is what we need to do on this site and your other site.

    We need a Bill of Rights to govern our interactions with
    EMR Vendors AND EMR Consultants

    we also need a publication of “Common Sense” things to know and do when we interact with
    EMR Vendors and EMR Consultants

    Kind of like the United States Bill of Rights
    and
    Common Sense by Thomas Payne

    Let’s get everyone sending in suggestions about what should be in our EMR Bill of Rights and our EMR “Common Sense” to protect us from the Vendors and the Consultants (the way we need to be protected from the British Government and our own Goverment!)

  • Dr Jeff,
    I’m not sure I’ll go as far as you go. However, I am planning to do something to try and help providers. However, I’d rather do something that has an impact than talk about huge things which have no impact.

    Watch http://www.emrandhipaa.com for more on this subject.

  • John, if we come up with a bill of rights and common sense principles, it will have a HUGE impact!

    Doctors need simple tools to guide their efforts and to use as “a higher authority”.

    “If you produce it, they will come” and they will use it.

    Trust me, I am a doctor 🙂

  • By the way, I liked your article.
    I gives good guidance for anyone considering an EMR consultant. I suggest everyone read it.

  • Let me start by disclosing I am an EMR/EHR consultant. I practice as more of an Implementation consultant than anything else.
    I definitely agree with the statements that an EMR consultant used to select a vendor will not have your best interests in mind if they are getting kick-backs. Just like when dealing with real estate, you should put your trust in the ones who don’t get any commission from the sale…a real estate attorney comes to mind as someone you can trust in the deal because they get paid no matter what.
    If you are not sure how to select a good consultant, start by asking around and getting good references. When you find someone ask them to disclose any partnerships or commissions they may receive from a vendor selection (or recommendation for that matter). Also check out a third party reviewer, like KLAS, to see how the vendors shape up.
    And if you still aren’t sure…call me . I would be happy to help you find a vendor who meets your needs. I don’t get kickbacks, but have grown fond of Epic products.
    John, great article by the way, I especially like the illustration. So true!

    Aaron

  • Aaron,
    Since you like Epic products does that mean you do more hospital EMR consulting? I haven’t seen the beast….I mean Epic implemented in ambulatory settings really.

  • John,
    I have done both. I primarily work with the web products so I am more in tune with the Ambulatory side than the Inpatient. I did however lead a large Inpatient install in Chicago while working at Epic. I haven’t had a great opportunity to see the other vendor products in “real” action, or places where they actually enjoy them. I have only really seen ones I have replaced and others in a vaporware format. Any that you have seen that you really like?

    Thanks,
    Aaron

  • There are a number of them that I really like. I usually don’t talk about them too much on the site because I don’t think there’s a one size fits all EMR that I can just endorse and be done with it. It depends a lot on the culture, size, specialty, etc of a clinic. Plus, I guess there’s something to say about keeping this site somewhat impartial to vendors.

  • Hi,

    What i want to say is that, all the EMR products that we integrate with practices are 1. expensive 2. Bulky 3. complicated to such an extent that we get cursed at sometimes when the doctor and staff can’t do certain things in the EMR when it has been past 6 months.

    For some reason, whenever we mention Practice Fusion, they don’t want it because its FREE. Surprisingly some doctors do read a lot, they found out that Fusion sells unidentifiable patient information and that too without the patients consent, many want to avoid a lawsuit or fine.

    So far the systems that our users like are:

    1. Allscripts

    2. SRS SOFT

    3. Ingenix

    4. Acom health

  • Thanks for sharing K. Patel. No doubt being an EMR consultant is not all rosey. What’s your thoughts on the free Practice Fusion EMR even though doctors might be afraid of that business model?

    What makes those 4 that you mention work out better than the other EMRs which are expensive, bulky, and complicated? Especially since I’ve heard some of those attributes apply to your list of 4 too.

  • Thanks John for engaging me in this conversation. Here is my story about fusion, in any internet product that is targeted towards the average user, its ok to roll with free and make it ad-supported. But a professional product has to be sustainable. Fusion is not yet sustainable, they have raised some cash the advertising rarely shows and as i mentioned yesterday that doctors want to know what’s happening with their patients info.

    Some doctors that we have worked with went ahead with Practice Fusion. But some, who are “business savvy”, “technically savvy” and well informed don’t want to go with PF. From our experience, a doctor who can’t afford that thousands of dollars to buy systems will go with Fusion and only pay a consultant for digitization and training.

    The list of EMRs that mentioned are truly bulky etc but they are less complicated is what i was trying to get at.

  • John, would also like your view on certified systems. In my opinion the gov is structuring how ab Emr should work out rather letting the physician utilize it in a way that is efficient to them.

    I bring this up because yesterday afternoon I was sat down with an internal medicine clinic and the doctor said he doesn’t want certified but wants something that is easy and doesnt care about incentives and says the amount is peanuts. SRS by the way is not certified and has over 2k doctors.

  • K Patel,
    I think that Practice Fusion is a very legitimate business model. I can understand that some don’t agree with it and even those who think that it’s not sustainable long term. Personally, I think the jury is still out on how sustainable it will be or not. Although, I do know that Pharma has a real desire for data and so there’s really great potential for a Practice Fusion (or other company) to provide that data in an appropriate and above board way. Many of the other EMR vendors are doing this same thing, but not above board. Ignorance is bliss for many I guess.

    I agree that certified EHR definitely influence the EHR selection process in a bad way. It provides no value to the physician and is really only beneficial to EHR vendors that are trying to make a sale.

    I’d have much rather had the government spend the money on establishing a standard for interoperability and incentivizing doctors to be interoperable. This would have had the side affect of doctors having to implement an EHR in order to be interoperable. So, it would have incented EHR and helped reach the broader goal of interoperability that doesn’t have very good financial justifications for doctors.

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