Comparison of Vendors for Electronic Health Record Systems A Pre RFP Questionnaire

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1 CONSULTANTS TO THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY Part of the Fox Informational Series Comparison of Vendors for Electronic Health Record Systems A Pre RFP Questionnaire Copyright January, C Street Suite 207 Upland, CA Phone: Fax: Website:www.foxgrp.com

2 Table of Contents Introduction... 1 General Vendor Information... 2 Applications... 2 Customer Support... 3 References... 4 Implementation Plan... 4 Documentation and Training... 4 Conclusion... 6

3 INTRODUCTION If you re seriously in the market for an Electronic Health Records (EHR) system, then you re probably acutely aware of the swarms of vendors who are all vying for your attention. Each claiming to have the features, pricing, and support that makes their product the most ideal for your business s unique set of needs. At times it can be overwhelming trying to discern the true differences between all of the available options. After all, there s so much to consider! At The Fox Group, we have a deliberate, 14 step process that we deploy when assisting an organization to evaluate, select, and implement an EHR system. Each step is critical in its own right, including Step #6: The Initial Vendor Questionnaire. It s this questionnaire that we will focus on in the pages that follow. So, back to that overwhelming stream of vendors all wanting to show you their wares one way to narrow the field is to use a questionnaire to help winnow that list of vendors and systems down to a manageable level. A Vendor Questionnaire is a way to request and receive specific information from vendors that will help you decide who to schedule for live demonstrations of their applications. A Vendor Questionnaire is less formal than a Request for Proposal (RFP), and the vendor s answers to it may, or may not, be included as part of the RFP. Still, it is extremely useful to rule out those vendors and systems whose responses do not support your most basic needs, thereby allowing you to spend your time more wisely on demonstrations of viable system options. In order to get the desired benefit from the responses to an EHR Vendor Questionnaire, it s important to first take a number of other, equally critical steps, such as performing a comprehensive needs assessment. Each of these prerequisite steps will set the stage for a proper line of questioning, and interpretation of the responses. That being said, the sample questionnaire checklist found in this document is not necessarily meant to be all inclusive, but rather serves as a demonstration of the most common questions to ask of an EHR Vendor at this stage of the selection process. Page 1 of 6

4 General Vendor Information Provide your company name and the address of your corporate headquarters. Is your company privately held or publically traded? If publically traded, on what exchange? Please indicate your stock symbol? How long has your company been in business? How many employees do you have? Is your company currently or planning to negotiate for divestiture, transfer of operating rights or licensure to third parties for the software development/support functions of your company for the relevant products? Is your company currently in discussions or engaged in a process to sell all or substantially all of the assets of the company, including the PM/EHR software currently available. Can your company guarantee in the contract that the software will comply with all current and future federal and state mandates? HIPAA? Does your company offer financing options? Applications Are your EHR and PM software integrated (vs. interfaced)? Please explain how integration is accomplished? Do your EHR and PM modules utilize a single data base? Please provide the name and version/release number of the system you are recommending to our practice. Provide the major functionality enhancements from your last three (3) releases? Is your software tailored for physician specialties? If so, which ones? Does your software come pre loaded with templates for my specialty? Does your software have the capability to export data into Microsoft applications (Excel, etc.)? What is your total customer base (EHR only, PM only, and EHR&PM)? How many new customers in the last 2 years? Please provide the total by physician specialty and overall. How is your software priced? Cost/user, cost per user type (physician vs. non physician providers), etc.? Please include information on your standard pricing. What other software licenses and fees are required to operate your system, e.g., reporting, patient portal, server platform, e prescribing, reporting, other third party software. Page 2 of 6

5 What year was your product CCHIT certified and when is your next certification submission? List each objective for Eligible Physicians in the CMS Final Rule on Meaningful Use criteria and explain how your software will enable the practice to meet the performance objective in the criteria. Explain the report the software can generate to enable the practice to verify it has met the current Stage performance objectives for each meaningful use criteria. Identify any of the performance objectives your software cannot currently report on, or any objectives or measures you consider not to be a function of the software. Does the software have a HL 7 lab interface? Which laboratory companies? Is there added cost for the interface? Customer Support Does your company provide toll free Customer Support? On what days of the week and during what hours is support available? (Note applicable time zones) What notification do you provide to clients regarding identified software bugs? Will make your current bug tracking log available to our practice? Have any of your software releases distributed by your company in the last 18 months required hardware upgrades, operating system upgrades, database conversion or re engineering of business processes to accommodate the release? Describe the software enhancements and their expected impact. Are there any limits to the number of back releases supported? Our practice whishes to include the following items in the final agreement. Describe your company s position on each of the following items: Financial disincentives for not meeting implementation dates. Guaranteed delivery dates for software under development. Acceptance criteria to be used in determining that the software is installed satisfactorily with the final payment upon acceptance. Failure to perform provisions for cancellation. Absolute fixed price contract. Guaranteed interface specifications and performance criteria. Maximum acceptable software support response time, based on your proposed hardware configuration. Incorporation of vendor questionnaire, RFP, functional and technical requirements worksheet as part of the contract. Financial disincentives for poor customer support performance Page 3 of 6

6 References Provide the following information of five (5) current client references we may contact that are in production status and most comparable to our practice. Include: Company/practice/facility name. Corporate address. Customer contact name, title, telephone number, address. Date of system implementation and system modules implemented. Number of locations/sites. Specialty and subspecialties. Implementation Plan Describe the standard process used by your company to implement your system at a new client site. Provide a sample implementation work plan indicating: Tasks required. Relative sequence of tasks and any key dependencies between tasks. Responsible parties for each task. Estimated time to complete each task. Based on your knowledge of our practice, list specific internal resources you feel we require in order to achieve the above timeline for system implementation. What milestone marks the end of implementation? How, specifically, is the transition of responsibility from implementation to support coordinated and communicated within your company? Documentation and Training Describe the training approach and schedule you would recommend for the initial training of our practice staff. Describe training materials, user materials and the number and skills levels of practice staff required for training. Specify type of personnel to be assigned to training, implementation and amount of time devoted to each area. Are cost of training and implementation included in the cost of the system or is it extra? Are travel costs for training personnel included as part of your quote? If not, what are the anticipated costs? Page 4 of 6

7 How does your company support additional training requirements after the initial implementation is complete? How is this additional training priced? Describe the technical and user documentation provided with the system. Are they provided online and in hard copy? Provide a sample of each (approximately 5 10 pages). How quickly are technical and user documentation updates made available to all clients after a new software release? When was your last major update to the documentation made available to your clients? Describe any regularly held seminars or user group available to users of your system. Page 5 of 6

8 CONCLUSION As stated earlier, the EHR Vendor Questionnaire Checklist provided in this document can, and perhaps should, be modified to meet your organization s specific needs. And a questionnaire of this nature will go a long way toward organizing yourself and your organization as you delve into the process of planning for the selection and implementation of an EHR system. Lastly, remember that this questionnaire is just one step in the overall planning process a process that may take months of deliberate effort. However, with 20% of EHR s being de installed due to errors stemming from poor selection, lack of a well organized implementation, or outright user dysfunction, these deliberate efforts pay off many times over. And while there will certainly be temptations to skip over a few steps because no one feels they have the time to complete all of this due diligence, perhaps the words of John Wooden, one of the winningest coaches in college basketball history, can put such a notion into perspective If you don t have time to do something right when will you have time to do it over? The Fox Group has been in the business of helping healthcare organizations of all types and sizes to properly strategize for their future, and to execute these plans for successful outcomes. When it comes to an EHR we re talking about a true transformation in the way an organization functions on a daily basis. With that in mind, success isn t critical, it s mandatory. The strength of our hands on knowledge and experience can be inserted into your organization to orchestrate the process at each critical step in the selection and implementation of your EHR system. With our expertise, we can help you move forward with confidence that your choices today will return many rewards for years to come. The Fox Group, providing excellence to the healthcare community since The Fox Group is a healthcare consulting firm serving physicians, hospitals and other diverse healthcare providers throughout the U.S. and abroad to achieve their strategic, operational, and financial goals. Our team of consultants include healthcare executives with substantial, real world experience and academic credentials in various healthcare systems and services. Contact us at Come visit us on the web YouTube facebook Page 6 of 6

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