Analogy for Selecting an EHR

So which jeans did you choose?

Andy Sutorius
Twitter: @andysutorius

I have an analogy where I compare buying a pair of jeans to buying an EHR. It goes something like this. There are a lot of jean manufacturers out there with different features, branding, thread colors, sewing techniques, marketing strategies, and an array of prices. Likewise, there are a lot of EHR vendors to choose from and each vendor has different product features, platforms (cloud, web, windows, citrix), implementation and support teams, and a dizzying array of prices.

Even if you’re a provider who is on the cusp of health information technology (HIT), I’m betting you don’t keep a running list of all the different EHR vendors and their features. Thankfully there are resources like HIMSS and KLAS that rate and survey vendor products. But reading just a sliver of the information on EHR vendors from their web sites can be overwhelming.

Why did I pick an analogy of buying jeans? Because we’ve done it before and for those of us who like jeans we’ve done it a lot of times, it’s a familiar thing to do. But for choosing an EHR many of us have never done it before now. If you can look at parsing through the information of buying an EHR like you buy jeans, the experience should feel like you’ve done it before.

Let’s try it out. How many legs do you have? Two, ok we need a pair of jeans that have two leg holes. In comparison, how many physicians do you have? Two, ok we need an EHR for a small physician practice. We like to put stuff in our jeans, right? How many pockets do like on your jeans? How many patients do you have? We are going to put their stuff in your database. What size should the pockets be? Do you carry a phone, keys, wallet and tablet pc with you? Maybe you’re looking for cargo pants instead of jeans if you want a place to carry a tablet pc?

What is your practice specialty; Internist, Neurologist, Family Medicine? What are the needs specific to your specialty? Do the features of the EHR meet those needs? Are there behavior notes for psychiatrists, is there scope integration for urologists, will it convert adult dose meds to a child’s dose for pediatricians, or can you view timeline histories that would be helpful to cardiologists? These are just a start of the question list.

I hope you can see how a series of familiar questions can help you navigate through the sales cycle. The goal is about selecting the “best fitting” EHR for your practice.