Like many important medical tools, electronic health record (EHR) systems are a major investment. It's certainly worth getting right the first time. Care providers need to ensure that they are getting a reliable system that will be easy to learn, work as expected and help doctors provide better care.
But, like so many consumer products, success often depends on who you buy from. As pointed out by a recent article on Fierce EMR, it is not unheard of for care providers to enter into unfavorable contracts with vendors that lead to unexpected fees and other costs.
Sometimes the cause is fairly obvious. Contracts may not be designed to tie vendor payments to specific operational milestones, which can lead to poor support. But, as the news source notes, there are other pitfalls that providers may not know to look out for.
Providers need to know, for example, whether they are working with a for-profit or nonprofit entity, so they know whether to expect a sales tax. There are also insurance issues at play. Attorney Steven Fox told Fierce EMR that some providers have trouble settling issues of liability with EHR vendors when the vendor is at fault due to the way the original contract is written.
Much of these problems are the result of providers not dedicated enough time to finding the EHR vendor that is right for them. But this is important technology, and given how large the investment can be, it is important for customers to seek out respectable healthcare consulting firms that they know will provide excellent service.