Don’t go live without 98% satisfaction and a money back guarantee

(After a comment made by John Lynn, I decided to change the above number to 98%, since no software is ever 100% perfect.)

There are lots of great posts recently regarding how to optimize your relationship with an EMR vendor.  I read an interesting comment from John Brewer from HIPAAaudit.com in response to a post on EMRandHIPAA discussing dangers of EMR implementation before you have seen and approved the final product working in your practice.  John’s recommendation was, “I always recommend to NOT go live, no matter what until you are 100% happy with customization. Otherwise…it…will…never…get…finished…”

This certainly conjured up bad memories of my first EMR experience when I “went live” in December 2009. Let’s see, what do I recall?   Training that was never completed because the system was broken from the get go.  Can’t really train on a partially completed system now, can you?   Only bits and pieces of our first system ran correctly at any given time.  Three months of pain went by before we finally got up the gumption to fire the vendor, and that was not a very good place to be mentally.  It’s never fun or without killer-level stress to toss life as you know it down the proverbial drain and start over, but that’s exactly what we were eventually forced to do.

I’ll never forget that, right up until the time when we had to threaten to get a lawyer involved to even get the company to agree with a partial return of our thousands of invested dollars, they kept feeding us line after line about how they were going to fix everything to our complete satisfaction.  And still, to echo John’s words above,… it… never… got… finished.  I would only add one additional recommendation before agreeing to go live with an EMR:

Ask for a 100%  money-back and 98% satisfaction guarantee in writing as part of the contract.

If they can’t offer that, then I recommend switching to a vendor who can.  I’m sure they are out there.

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009.  He can be reached at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.

About the author

Dr. Michael West

Dr. Michael West

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC in 2009. He can be contacted at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.

2 Comments

  • Good point, practices often overlook contract specifics once they’ve piced a vendor. Our contract section in the ehrselector.com supports strong user provisions with over thirty questions that we ask vendors in Yes/No format. For example:

    o Contract specifies performance based product acceptance?

    o Phased implementation is possible?

    o Contract can specify customer remedies in the event that the system does not perform as specified?

    o Contract includes provision for an acceptance period during which the customer is entitled to a full refund if performance is not as specified?

  • Great points Carl. I figure that if it’s a true partnership, then the buyer should be able to specify parts of the contract in order to protect themselves.

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