How to Navigate Vendor Contracts Without Losing Your Mind

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How to Navigate Vendor Contracts Without Losing Your Mind
February 5, 2019

Contract Anxiety: a very real concern.

Contracting with a new EMR vendor is a huge undertaking by any hospital, and everyone wants to get it right. That said, there is a common question that frequently comes up: what should you consider during the contracting phase?

When your hospital decides to install a new EMR, the details embedded in the contract and the scope of work are of extreme importance to the success of the project. First and foremost, 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. Some of the key elements for consideration are listed below.

Safeguarding Your Hospital During Vendor Visits

Vendors are obligated to provide implementation support to a hospital installing their products. But is it the right support? Vendors have been known to use hospitals as a training ground for new staff. This practice could be detrimental and costly to your project. Insert safeguards into the contract, requiring a minimum skill set of all vendor personnel that is assigned to you. The contract should clarify other “visit” details as well. Ask the vendor to document the number and frequency of visits. Clarify the vendor’s role and timeframe for drafting the scope and plan for the project. Then make sure the contract addresses the vendor’s commitment level for responding to software issues, and penalties for failing to be responsive.

Interoperability

Interoperability is another critical EMR vendor contract topic. It exists when one system can’t share data with other systems. 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. Also, consider whether the vendor is interoperable with regard to any government regulations for reporting data.

Take Control

Few EMR vendor contracts can spell out every possible situation that two parties might encounter. However, take time to think carefully about the types 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 navigate the process alone! Reach out to see what Atlanticon can to do to help by contacting us at business.services@atlanticon.net.

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