An EMR vendor contract can cause anxiety for your hospital. It’s a huge investment by any hospital, and everyone wants to get it right. I’ve written on this topic before, as it’s a common question I get from our clients (see EMR Vendor Contracts – Keeping Control.) When your hospital decides to install a new EMR, the details embedded in the contract are of extreme importance to the success of the project. Ensure that the contract gives you an appropriate level of control. Atlanticon can help by advising on key points when signing your EMR vendor contract. These points can often help your attorney ensure your interests are better protected.
Vendors are obligated to provide implementation support to a hospital installing their products. But is it the right support? Often, vendors use hospitals as a training ground for new staff. This practice is detrimental and costly to your project. Insert safeguards in the contract, requiring a minimum skillset of all vendor personnel that are charged to you. The contract should clarify other details as well. Ask the vendor to document the number and frequency of visits. Clarify their role and timeframe for drafting the scope and plan for the project. And insert their commitment level for responding to software issues.
Interoperability is another critical EMR vendor contract topic. It exists when one system can’t share data with another system. Should you bear the full cost if your new system can’t fully connect with another? If your new EMR is unable to share information with another system within your hospital, costly customizations will be necessary. You will bear the full cost of these changes if you fail to address this in the contract. At a minimum, valuable project time is lost dealing with the issue.
Few EMR vendor contracts can spell out every possible situation that two parties might encounter. However, take time to think carefully about the type of issues that might prove costly. Take steps to protect yourself while there’s time – as opposed to arguing when there’s not.
Project managers or CIOs that need further advice on reviewing a contract with an EMR vendor – don’t suffer alone. Reach out to see what we can to do to help.