Monday, September 21, 2009

EMR vs House: Words of wisdom from a practice managment guru

Rick Rutherford, a practice management guru with the American Urologic Association, has a great analogy for EHR selection. I have published it, with his permission, in its entirety.

"The biggest fallacy in the process of selecting an EHR system is that too many folks think that there must be ONE systematic, accurate approach to making a good choice. There isn’t. To me, it is more similar to buying a house than a car. You can buy a car, drive it for three or four months and decide it is a lemon and go trade it in for a different one in a single day. Sure you lose some money, but beyond that, it is an easy transaction. When you buy a dwelling, there are many more considerations and sometimes, if you make a mistake, you just have to live with it. EHR systems are the same way. Why? Consider the following (substitute the word “house” everywhere you see the acronym “EHR”):

A whole group of people have to use the EHR so all of them should have input into what is important.
You can buy a modest EHR or a extravagant EHR depending on which things are most important to you.
When you start to use your EHR, you discover that almost every pattern you have developed must be changed or you will waste a lot of time and energy.
Over time, you become more and more comfortable with the EHR and appreciate (or hate) nuances you never saw when you did your first walk-through.
There are lots of financing options for an EHR. The government may give you money, the hospital may give you money, the bank may give you money. However, the financing should NEVER be the reason why you choose one over another.
You can spend money any time you choose to enhance the features of your EHR. Sometimes you have to spend money because of unexpected circumstances that you didn’t plan for.

The biggest difference between houses and EHRs? There is no residual value in an EHR. So take your time, be sure about what you want, talk to as many other people that use it as possible and read every single word of the purchase contract. Negotiate every item. Finally, once you commit, do everything within your power to make it make your life better.
With warmest regards, Rick Rutherford"

So true indeed.
Thanks for the words of wisdom, Rick.

The IU.