When it comes to shopping for new practice management and EHR software for your eyecare practice, it can get overwhelming quickly. And in order to make sure you're making the most of your buying journey to find the best possible solution for your practice you need to go into each software demo prepared and ready to ask the right questions. Today we want to talk about five different categories of questions you should start thinking about compiling as you're shopping for a new system.
Consider All of These Questions When Shopping for EHR Software
The technology the software is built on could affect your purchase decision. It starts by knowing what your options are when it comes to the technology available, and how your practice needs and resources stack up with each option. When it comes down to it you pretty much have two options when it comes to practice management and EHR software for your office.
- Client-Server System: You'll be required to house and manage a server within your practice as well as handle associated IT needs for updates, security, and maintenance.
- Cloud-Based System: All the IT maintenance will be left up to the vendor and your data is stored in the cloud on servers maintained by your vendor outside of your practice. You'll just need an Internet connection to access your system.
Pro Question: How do updates and upgrades to the system happen? How often are updates released?
When you purchase software for your practice you shouldn't just be buying an EHR, or a scheduler, or a reporting tool - you should be buying a robust system that can help you run all of these areas of your practice seamlessly. Plus, the more tools that your system comes with the less you'll be dealing with complicated and expensive third party add-ons.
Pro Question: Is there an extra fee to add claims management, reporting, patient portal, or other tools to the software?
For many practices, the EHR is the most critical piece of the software. A big issue with a lot of EHR systems is the amount of time it takes for an OD to chart a complete patient encounter, so digging in on the EHR workflow is important for understanding how long it will take you to perform specific functions, and learning how the EHR talks to different parts of the system as a whole.
Pro Question: Will I need to manually type data into the EHR, or will sections pre-populate based on the previous information selected?
Implementation, Training, and Support
The thought of switching from a familiar system to something totally new can be a daunting challenge for many practices. That's why asking questions about the implementation process, ongoing training, and support are so important. With some systems, there are extra costs and fees associated with various levels of training and support - so make sure you know what's included. On top of that, understanding what the implementation process looks like and how the vendor will be helping is important information to know.
Pro Question: What kind of training materials are provided? Videos? Live Q&A? Help articles?
We know you won't forget to ask about the cost of the system you're looking to purchase, but make sure you dig deep enough to uncover any hidden or additional fees that could add up over time. Hidden or long term costs could come in the form of things like extra support fees, hardware costs, IT maintenance on servers, upgrade fees, or add on software costs.
Pro Question: As far as soft costs, what kind of downtime will there be during software updates and maintenance? Will my staff need to work late on certain days to assist with updates?
We wrote up an entire resource full of over 50 questions you should be asking every software vendor when looking for a new system. Download our full list of questions.