Mike Uretz of The EHR Group is the author of an important paper detailing the 7 costly mistakes made when purchasing EMR and Health IT.
The following is an excerpt from the report outlining how to proactively protect yourself should your vendor go out of business or be acquired, or if you make a decision to migrate your data to another system.
Mistake #5 – Not Planning for Worst Case Scenarios
Have you ever thought about what could happen if you purchased an EMR system and your vendor went out of business, changed direction, or dropped adequate support for your product? In my EMR seminars and workshops, this is a concern and worry that comes up time and time again.
How to prepare for worse case scenarios
You have the right to request that your vendor put their software and documentation in escrow for a rainy day should the vendor not be there at some point in the future. With the vendor’s intellectual property at your side, you have a better chance of taking care of problems should the vendor go out of business.
It’s also important that you have access to the vendor’s database schema in case you have to transfer to another vendor. “Database schema” is a technical term that describes the roadmap of how your data looks inside the system. In short, the schema is the formal structure of the database, including the tables, forms, and fields, and their relationship to each other. Not having this schema could prove very costly should your vendor go out of business as you’ll have to pay an IT consulting firm to reconstruct for you.
When negotiating a contract, ask that the database schema, including all associated documentation, be included as an exhibit to the contract. Technically, you own your clinical and billing data, but if you need to transfer it to another system for whatever reason, it can be a very expensive endeavor if you don’t have the “roadmap.”
Finally, make sure that the vendor agrees to help you with a transition to another system should you decide to go this route later on. With this understanding and agreement, you can save considerable time, money, and hassle and assure smooth functioning of your practice should you need to part ways at some point with your vendor.
Click the following link to download the complete report “7 Costly Mistakes Made When Purchasing EMR and Health IT”. (Registration required)
Feb 23 2009, 01:28 PM