High Cost EHR Support Packages

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High Cost EHR Support Packages

Electronic Medical/Health Records (EMR/EHR) programs will streamline the way your practice operates.  Our sixth installment of our ten part series will shed some light on the incredible support fees you may be facing, which ARRA (Stimulus) funding will NOT cover.   

Part 6 - "Care to Jumbo-Size your Support Package Today?"

     You’ve watched the awe-inspiring demonstration of that wonderful medical records program.  You’ve heard the salesman tout its bullet-proof reliability, stating that it will never go down.  You’ve been promised that this beauty is so easy to learn, you can master it in a few hours, right?  Then please explain to me how this silver-tongued devil convinced you that this program requires annual support fees ranging in the THOUSANDS of dollars. Hmm, if a program requires THAT much support, seriously, how reliable is it?

     Granted, you may need some help customizing your templates to match the way you treat patients.  Your billing department may want a special report to show how many patients with a particular diagnosis have been seen in the past quarter.  You may have just purchased an all-in-one fax-printer server on which your claim forms don’t line up.  Okay, so far, you are only talking about tasks which may require a few hours of work.  And yet your monthly contract easily pays for 10 to 20 hours of work.  Are you feeling a little ripped off yet?

     Our suggestion is to make a “reality” check.  Ask your staff how many hours of support they truly feel they will need.  How many support calls did they make last year?  Most important is to determine how many of those hours were for problems that the software itself caused!  Do your files get easily corrupted?  Do icons mysteriously disappear from your program?  Does your software require you to shut off firewalls or other programs that actually protect your system?  Perhaps you really DO need to find another system!

     “They sure play the nicest music on hold” How quickly can you get in touch with support? When your system goes down (and they ALL do at some point or another), will you be able to get the support you need? With today’s technology, most companies offer remote-access support which prevents you from having to wait for someone to drive to your company. If they don’t offer remote support, expect to be down for a long time!

     At the very least, insist that your vendor give you a detailed list of what is included in your support contract.  Will it include Holidays or after-hour support?  Does it only include remote support?  Does it include customizing reports, training for new staff members, routine backups and more?  If not, your best bet is to find a company that will provide support on an as-needed basis for those once-in-a-blue-moon support calls, you may have saved yourself a huge chunk of your budget.  There aren't many companies that will do this, but the hunt is worth it.  So skip the Jumbo-Size support and put that money into features you really need!  Let’s talk!

     Coming up next, Part 7 - "The Easy Move" - Will patching something into your current billing program be the best solution?

EMR Catastrophe Avoidance - 10 Part Series - All Articles by Author Max Shylahr

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