EMR Vendor Support Tracking

One thing that I’m sure very few doctors consider when they’re selecting an EMR software is the method that the EMR vendor uses to handle support calls. Certainly, it wouldn’t be that hard to figure out.

First, you can ask the EMR vendor at the end of the demo, “How do you track problems that I call you about?” There answer should be very telling. If they say that you call the 800 number and we try and help you. That’s not so good. If they say that you call, email, IM, etc us with your support request. We take all the information we need and create a ticket (or some other word like ticket) that will track the request you made until completion. You’ll be emailed the information that was added to the ticket with a number in it for your reference. Then, if they’re really great you’ll hear them say, we handle [insert number] requests a day. Our average resolution time for support requests is 3 hours. Our customer rating after a support request is 4.5 out of 5 stars and our goal is to make that 4.8 next year. Yes, we send out a survey where customers can rate the support they received for that ticket. If they’re unsatisfied with the resolution, it’s elevated to a supervisor who follows up with the client directly.

All of the above is possible and really not that hard to implement. Sadly, not many EMR vendors go to this extent. However, I’m guessing that as EMR adoption increases they’re going to have to reach this level of sophistication in order to compete.

Second, when you do a site visit or phone call with someone who uses that EMR (and yes, you better do this), ask the person what type of response they get from the EMR vendors support. You’ll learn a lot about an EMR vendor by asking the client how their supported.

The real question you want to ask yourself is, “how much thought and effort has the EMR vendor given to how they support their customers?” If they haven’t given much thought to this process, then it’s likely that they haven’t given much thought to other key areas of their EMR and associated processes.

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.

4 Comments

  • John,
    You spoke of ED EMR’s being a “different beast”. Which are the most used and popular ED EMR’s out there? How many ED’s do they need to be in to be considered small, medium or large companies? PS excellent blog, first one I’ve actually followed and signed up with.

  • Patrick,
    ED EMR are definitely a different beast. The model of care is just different and so it requires different features.

    Of course you had to ask the million dollar question. Sadly, you didn’t pay the million dollars. Seriously though, I don’t really recommend certain EMR on my site. I try to remain as impartial as possible. Plus, even if I did make recommendations, I know more ambulatory EMRs and know very little about the details of the ED EMRs. Certainly there’s a fair amount of overlap, but I’m sorry I’m not more familiar with the ED EMR vendors out there.

    As far as the number of ED’s to be considered small, medium or large companies…
    I’m not sure I’d worry as much about the number of ED implementations. Sure, that’s one factor that should be considered and balanced against your ED’s culture. Some EDs have the budget and desire to work with an ED EMR with more implementations and likely a lot more customization to their specific environment. Other EDs may want to be apart of an ED EMR that is smaller and for which they can help to shape and mold the development of that EMR. With that said, it’s probably more important to know the focus of the ED EMR company.

    For example, an ED EMR company might have 10 ED EMR implementation and 100 other EMR implementations. This might tell you something about where there focus lies and the type of support that the ED EMR will get. Of course, focusing on more than one specialty like ED means that the company could be VERY large despite only having a few ED implementations. You’ll have to consider the support you’re going to receive. It could be bad because the companies focus is somewhere else or it could be good because the company is focusing on the ED market.

    How’s that for a blog post in the comments? In fact, I think I’m going to take this concept and make it a blog post. Oh yes, and thanks for the kind words about the blog and for subscribing to it. Glad to hear you like it.

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