Formalize the Management of Portal/EHR Vendors
Put management structures in place to track features and functions promised by vendors in contracts and through other formal communications. Assign a staff member to manage the relationship with the portal/electronic medical record (EHR) vendor by keeping shared records of vendor contacts, issue-tracking logs and feature request logs. If your project is not progressing through your current vendor contact, reach out to others within the vendor’s organization.
Make your Portal/EHR Vendor a Partner
All systems have problems. Blaming the vendor can cause clinic staff to lose confidence in the portal/EHR, which can be difficult to restore. It is in the best interests of the clinic to be supportive and realistic while working with a vendor to address issues. Participate as a partner with your vendor through extensive testing, thoughtful implementation and active oversight. All of these will help mitigate shortcomings in the system.
Thoroughly Test Functionalities, Fixes or Updates Before Going Live
Vendors will describe the qualities of upcoming features, functionalities or fixes, but the only way to fully understand the impact that changes to portal software will have on clinic operations is through testing. Implement new functions or software changes only after they have been thoroughly tested.
Exhaust All Options Before Replacing an Existing Portal or EHR System
Take every action possible to keep an existing portal/EHR system functioning at a high level. Explore with your vendor whether system capabilities can be deployed more effectively to support clinic requirements and workflows. Making better use of an existing system can avoid the expense and long-term disruption involved in migrating to a different EHR.
Use Third Party Vendors to Add Desired Functionality
Third party vendors sell portal add-ons that can bring new functionality to a system. Explore all the costs of deployment and operations, as well as any complications that can result when integrating a third party product. Consider putting a written agreement in place to specify cooperative steps for the portal and third party vendors.
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