Your Guide to the EHR Vendor Selection Process [Free Vendor Rating Form Included]

July 27, 2022

There are many factors that lead a hospital or ambulatory practice to switch to a new EHR system. Therefore, establishing a successful vendor selection process is critical to ensure your team chooses an EHR that best aligns with the organization’s clinical needs and business strategy. Failure to select the proper EHR system can lead to several costly issues such as decreased user satisfaction, high staff turnover, and lack of quality patient outcomes.

 

Requirements Gathering Process

Build Your Selection Team

Your selection team should consist of members that best represent your healthcare organization. Consider members from key stakeholder groups such as senior leadership, practice management, clinical, administrative, information technology, and support staff teams. Understand too that this added responsibility will require dedicated time and effort from these individuals.

Assign specific roles and responsibilities related to the steps in the selection process. This is an opportunity to utilize the strengths and unique perspectives of individuals within your organization.

 

Establish Your Goals

Your selection team must set EHR goals for the selection process. Your EHR goals should be specific, measurable, relevant, and time bound (SMART goals). SMART goals allow the project to be tracked with specific guidelines, while also identifying the resources needed to ensure project success.

 

The goals your team initiates for the project also establish milestones for your organization’s success. Goals help your team to develop new behaviors where necessary and strengthen what is working well today. Reaching specific goals throughout your implementation also provides a sense of accomplishment for your team. In the end, you cannot manage what you do not measure, and essential improvements will be lost along the way.

 

Identify & Prioritize EHR System Requirements

Your selection team will identify and prioritize what features will help your organization achieve its clinical and organizational goals. Like goal setting, prioritization is a crucial step toward ensuring your new EHR implementation is a success. When considering what your requirements for operations, patient care, and outcomes are, remember to also consider your contractual requirements, service bare minimum needs, reporting requirements, and patient satisfaction goals.

With requirements prioritized and team roles established, your selection team should conduct preliminary research to determine which vendor systems meet their criteria. In many cases, there will not be a perfect EHR solution, and the team will need to determine what compromises they are willing to make between system features, customer support, and cost.

 

Information Collection & Evaluation Process

Prepare & Distribute Request for Proposal

Request for Proposals (RFPs) tell prospective vendors what they need to know about:

      • Your healthcare organization.
      • What you are looking for (system requirements: required and nice to haves).
      • What information you expect the vendor to provide such as product information, implementation and training plans, customer support, security, and so on.

 

Constructing and distributing a comprehensive RFP is a labor intensive and time consuming but critical step. If you do not outline your requirements clearly, you could be left with useless and unhelpful responses and select a system that does not meet the organization’s needs. For assistance with this process, connect with us to get started.

Once all vendor proposals have been submitted, the evaluation process begins.

 

Review & Prepare Your Vendor Shortlist

Evaluating vendor RFPs are based on how well the product aligns with your organization’s prioritized requirements list. Creating your shortlist includes calling on references provided, reading online reviews, and chatting with other healthcare organizations for further feedback.

While your requirements list is important, keep in mind that you are doing more than picking a software solution, you are committing to a long-term partner. Therefore, your selection team should also consider the vendor’s company culture and priorities as well. Start by addressing questions such as:

      • What do non-salespeople at the company think about the EHR product?
      • Will you get the hard sell from the sales team? Do the vendor’s employees like the product?
      • How long has the vendor been in business and are there any hints that the company could be bought out?

 

The best way to tackle these questions is to utilize job search websites such as Glassdoor and Indeed to gain insight into the prospective vendor’s company culture.

After reviewing the RFPs, the best matches are shortlisted and called to schedule live demonstrations of their product.

 

Vendor Evaluation & Decision Making

When assessing each vendor’s product during live demonstrations, your selection team should complete a standard rating form or scorecard to evaluate each live demonstration. For your convenience, we have provided a free Vendor Rating Tool here.

Once your selection team has agreed upon their top choice along with back-ups, review recommendations with key stakeholders to gain buy-in and commitment.

 

Contract Negotiations

Inform the vendor they have been selected. Negotiate the terms of the EHR system including contract length, cost, implementation and training plan, customer support, and any other critical items. If an agreement cannot be made, reach out to your chosen back-up vendors, and repeat the process.

From RFP development to vendor selection, analysis, and contract negotiations, selecting a new EHR system is labor and time intensive. Even after negotiations are completed and contracts are signed, the real work begins. Is your hospital or practice ready for the long road ahead?

Consider working with a John Lynch & Associates EHR consultant to gain immediate access to a fresh set of eyes, unique perspective, extensive experience, and the discipline to motivate, plan, organize, and control resources.

With over 15 years of experience guiding hospitals and practices of all sizes in the vendor selection and implementation process, our trusted consultants will come alongside your organization and provide unbiased expert insight on both the EHR systems and their vendors.

For more information on how we can assist with your EHR selection and implementation process, contact us at 623.980.8018 or by email at johnlynchandassociates.com.

 

Phone Number

(623) 980-8018

Mailing Address

PO Box 12372 Glendale, AZ 85318