Replacing EHR Staff

So, you’ve gone through the entire process of researching and selecting an EHR vendor. However, the process has only just begun and already you’re having doubts. The staff doesn’t seem as “expert” as you expected them to be, and several important training deadlines have already been missed.

Physicians and clinic managers often put up with a lot when they wind up stuck with a lousy EHR vendor, or less-than-ideal EHR staff members. However, it’s important to replace staff, or even your entire vendor, early on in the process if you think the relationship isn’t going to work out.

Why? Well, moving forward with staff members who are incompetent, unresponsive, or unprofessional can cost your clinic time, money, and patients.

For instance, what if your clinic gets stuck right in the middle of the implementation process? You can’t get your vendor or the phone (or the staff members/trainers are taking weeks to fix your problems). Your budget runs out, and you haven’t even implemented the program 100%. Workflow is disrupted, patient files are missing, and you don’t know what to do.

Sound extreme? It happens.

Or imagine this: you’ve signed the contracts with an EHR vendor, and the first few training sessions with your staff went well. However, the closer you get to GoLive, the longer it’s taking to get your phone calls returned, and your help tickets answered. Your vendor seems, for the most part, MIA.


How to Fire Your EHR Staff

If you’re feeling that your EHR vendor or staff isn’t working out, the sooner you end the relationship the better.

First, make sure all decision-makers in your hospital or clinic are on board with the decision. If someone wants to give them on last shot, then go for it. It’s best to have consensus on this decision!

Next, read through your contract carefully. Make a list of any services you were promised that you didn’t receive, and make sure those services were promised in your contract. It also helps to list specific actions or behaviors from staff members, or poor training, that you want to bring up.

Remember, you’re building your case here. Be thorough, and try to keep emotion out of it. Just look at the facts. You might also want to consult a lawyer; if the early-termination fee is hefty, and the vendor hasn’t delivered, they’ll probably be able to make your case better than you. The fee could get waived in exchange for your silence (after all, bad referrals and word-of-mouth will lose them a lot more business!)

Now you need to look at patient files. If you’ve already started the pre-load process, what are you going to do with this data? Will you go back to your patient files?

Keep in mind that EHR vendors know  relationships do sometimes fall apart. Many offer special prices if you’re changing vendors, especially if the process is already started. If you decide to start your vendor search over again, make sure you mention this.

Last, you need to tell your vendor that you’re unhappy and want to break your contract. They’re probably not going to go quietly into the night, which is why having a lawyer present, or on another line, will help move the process along.

Firing your EHR vendor or staff is a dispiriting process. It’s tempting to stick with a bad vendor because you’ve already invested so much time and money into the upgrade. However, you could lose significantly more by sticking with a bad vendor who you don’t trust. If that trust and professionalism isn’t there, then you’ll do your entire clinic a favor by stopping the process now instead of months later.

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