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.