Avoiding the EMR Company Sales Tricks

Today I came across this blog post by the Gerson Lehrman Group (not sure who they are, but the content was good). In their blog post/news post/whatever they like to call it, they suggest 3 risks you should avoid to prevent being a victim of EMR vendor tricks.

With all the confusion going on, there are 3 risks you should avoid when making your EMR selection:
1. Paying too much for an EMR solution;
2. Buying a solution with little or no training or support;
3. Buying from a vendor who currently has or develops financial troubles or goes out of business.

The first two are INCREDIBLY important and I see people falling into those two traps all the time and I can barely understand why. There’s just far too many EMR and EHR vendors out there to be trapped into paying a TON of money for EMR software. Not to mention, many of them are more than willing to give you price quotes so you can compare the pricing.

Plus, don’t underestimate the need of training and support. Make sure that’s part of the package. In fact, many EMR vendors will give you unlimited training and support as part of your purchase. They can provide unlimited because they believe in their system and that you won’t need a TON of support. That’s a great thing.

The third item listed above is a little harder. Certainly there’s some you can do to evaluate where the company is and where the company is going. However, crazy stuff sometimes happens and you couldn’t have been aware of it. So, be aware of the third thing and make sure that there are things in your contract that take care of any situations like this happening.

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.


  • Thanks for the post John! You make some very valid points. I wanted to add a couple more to the discussion:

    Another aspect to look at is “will this particular EHR work for ME.” What I mean by that is, when reviewing an EHR, make sure you are looking beyond the bells and whistles & meaningful use criteria, and seeing if the product will actually cater to how you can practice medicine better.

    A number of companies are getting on the “EHR bandwagon” now that they see how much potential money is to be made through HITECH. Some of these companies have no interest in helping patients, improving quality of care, or providing a more efficient tool for providers.

    I think when potential buyers are selecting an EHR, they need to also take this into account: is the company genuinely in it to improve health care, or are they out to just make quick cash?

    This is extremely difficult to figure out and sometimes it is based on gut reactions, because you are looking for clues at something which is not that obvious.

  • These are the questions you should ask your EMR vendor so you’ll stay out of trouble:
    Security questions:
    Can I use your program in my practice with live patients for a certain amount of time before I sign a contract? or
    Do I get my money back if your system does not work for me or if I encounter a slow in patient flow?
    Do I have access to the source code of your software in case you go out of business?
    Note: in case you get negative answers to the above you should end the interview unless you want to take the financial risk.
    Efficiency questions:
    How many patients can I see per day using your system based on a fully booked schedule?
    How long does it take to train and become efficient using your system?

  • Mike,
    Even better than asking the EMR vendor those questions is to find independent users of that system and talking with them about their experience. That will tell you a lot more than some sales person at an EMR vendor. Even more so for the large EMR vendors where the sales people barely know anything about the actual implementation process and successes or failures.

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