An EHR Vendor’s Experience Looking for a New System

I recently began the search for a new business system for our company and got a glimpse of what it must be like for a practice looking for a new EHR.

I’ve been on the marketing side of the EHR business for so long that I had forgotten what it was like to be a customer looking for a new system. Sure, we ask prospective customers about their process, conduct surveys, and read various publications about trends, but there’s nothing quite like experiencing a software search yourself.

What have I experienced and learned?

1 At first, I didn’t live by my own “rules,” and I started getting demonstrations before I had clearly laid out my criteria:

As a result, I began to get confused regarding which system did what. I also ended up wasting my time getting a demonstration of a system that was too expensive for us.

2 A custom demo is worth its weight in gold:

I watched a couple of generic demonstrations that didn’t address our workflow. I left really wondering whether or not either of those systems would work for us. By contrast, one of the vendors asked to see our workflow and demonstrated a part of it on the demo. I was able to tell that the system would work for us, and it gave that system a significant leg up.

3 Demo accounts and playing in a system are over-rated:

Two of the four systems we were looking at offered demo or trial accounts. I spent hours in each – and it was a waste of my time. Because the trial accounts were not customized to our workflow and I had received no training, I found myself very confused and had no better idea of whether or not they would work for us than I would have from a demonstration.

4 The thought of changing systems is terrifying:

Going through demonstrations and quotes is scary. I don’t like our current system, and they’re raising the price, so it makes sense to change. But I can’t help wondering if we should stick with what we have. What if we make another selection mistake?

The last “aha” above was particularly insightful for me because when I’m honest, the only thing I dislike about my line of work is receiving a demonstration request from a prospective customer – and then never having them return my calls or emails. Now I get it. Like me, they’re busy and frankly probably scared – is the change worth it? What if I choose the wrong vendor?

The answers are yes, it is worth it. In my heart of hearts, after seeing these demonstrations, I know that. But it’s still understandable for me to be worried. This is where I need to step up, and it’s also where I can help our own team understand what our potential customers are going through. It’s our job to guide them through the maze and help them make the best decision for their practice, even when (occasionally!) we are not the right fit.