Still Confused with EHR Selection — Where to Look for More Help

Selecting an EHR system is an intimidating process and one that can have a large impact on a practice’s long-term success. While AmericanEHR Partners provides you with a number of resources to help you with this process, you may feel you need more assistance. Here are a few options to consider if you find yourself in this position.

One of the most cost-effective options for practices looking for a little bit more help are the Regional Extension Centers (RECs) recently established by the Federal Government to assist practices with the adoption and use of EHR systems. RECs provide hands-on support to practices at no cost or at highly subsidized rates. However, the focus of RECs is to provide assistance to small practices and those that provide primary care services in public and critical access hospitals and community health centers. REC services include outreach and education, EHR support (e.g. working with vendors, helping choose a certified EHR system), and technical assistance in implementing health IT and using it in a meaningful way to improve care.

RECs have slightly different approaches with respect to the services that they provide. For instance, certain RECs only support a selected number of EHR vendors while others work with all vendors. To find an REC that supports your area visit the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

There are also a number of commercial services designed to guide you through the process of EHR selection in a structured manner. These services are available for a fee and can be provided in conjunction with consulting services. One of the programs we have come across that is recommended by the American Academy of Family Physicians is Welch Allyn’s Prep Select Program.

You can also get support from independent consultants; however, be sure to do your background research. Check to see if they have financial relationships with any EHR vendors or resell specific EHR products. Contact references and be sure to check whether those practices would work with the consultant again if given the opportunity.

Have you used an independent consultant for your EHR selection or implementation? Share your experiences by clicking on the “Comments” link below.

This post is the personal opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the American College of Physicians (ACP). ACP does not endorse a specific EHR brand or product and ACP makes no representations, warranties, or assurances as to the accuracy or completeness of the information provided herein.

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