(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 firstname.lastname@example.org.