EHR – Hope and Reality


Seth Godin wrote very well about Hope and Reality in our lives. “Sometimes, we don’t sell what we’ve got, we sell what could be.”

He gives the example of Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography. just the proposal can sell for $10 million, not the finished book. Why? It is what can be.

That’s how the Stock Market works.

That is how EHR companies sell. Hope. That is what Doctors buy – Hope.

Hope is not necessarily a bad thing if it is combined with due diligence and trust. The problem is not many providers and medical practices have experience in conducting proper due diligence on EHR systems. I have written about this in the past. Prepare instead of hoping.

The only way to get the maximum out of EHR demonstrations is preparation. I have seen too many demonstrations where they are all over the place. You must know what you want. Write it down. Here is a simple guideline.

1. Write your current workflow. Office workflow, from patient calling for appt, check-in to check-out. List your staff, and write down who does what and in what order.

2. Identify ‘gaps’ or ‘areas of improvement’ in your workflow map.

3. Potential pitfalls and fears in implementing technology.

Now, Prepare a Demonstration Script.

1. Take your most common encounter/patient visit. Look at a few finished visit notes.

2. De-identify the set of note(s) so that patient information is removed.

3. Send it to the demo person(s) – at the time of the demo, or just before so that they have enough time to review it, but not enough to ‘fudge’ their system. Also, send them or tell them your workflow.

4. Ask them to stick to the script. Only after that is done, they can show off their system with other ‘features’. But tell them what you care about and what you don’t.

5. Finally, ask them – ‘What would you do to improve my workflow and make my practice more efficient’? This is one of the most important questions, don’t skip it. It will tell you a lot about how this vendor approaches things.

Proper preparation converts hoping to reality

Author: Chandresh Shah

Chandresh Shah specializes in Healthcare IT and Medical Billing. He knows the market inside out; what works, what doesn’t. He advises and works with small business owners.