With the rush to achieve meaningful use of electronic health records and qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments comes a rush of providers to select an EHR.

But that doesn't mean providers should overly rush the selection process, says Marion Jenkins, CEO at QSE Technologies Inc., an Englewood, Colo.-based systems integrator with more than 150 health I.T. implementations under its belt.

"Don't fall in love with the demo," he warns. "Even if people have been told before, some will fall in love. People literally fall in love with the colors. It makes you miss things you should be asking about."

Jenkins will walk through what to do and not do during the vendor selection process at an educational session at the Medical Group Management Association's Annual Conference, Oct. 24-27 in New Orleans.

One common mistake, he notes, is seeing a system that solves your practice's biggest problem, so you'll assume it does everything else well. For instance, there are risks around HIPAA security that often are glossed over. "The system may be secure, but your sharing of usernames and passwords to buy fewer licenses violates HIPAA," Jenkins warns.

There are plenty of other areas where assumptions made at vendor selection time can cause trouble later, he cautions. A biggie: Buying into the idea that since an application is Web-based you don't need hardware. "EHR mistakes are preventable," Jenkins says. "You don't have to be a victim. If you trace back the EHR disasters, you find the critical steps were not followed."

The session, "E8, Selecting an EMR--From Someone Who Doesn't Sell EMRs," is scheduled at 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 26. More information is available at mgma.com.

--Joseph Goedert


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