You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know When it Comes to EHR Adoption

Posted on June 18, 2012 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

My husband and I are currently researching the world of landlords with the possibility of becoming two in the very near future. This process has presented me with several situations that physician practice managers must find themselves in from time to time, especially when contemplating purchasing and implementing a new piece of healthcare IT.

The first thing I did was sit down with a friend who, along with her husband, currently manages multiple properties in addition to having a full-time job – a situation not unlike my own. I came to our conversation with a laundry list of questions about being a landlord, which she was happy to answer over a few glasses of wine. I have continued to use her as a sounding board as I continue down the path of property management.

I imagine that, hopefully, this is what practice managers do when mulling over new IT systems for their facilities – get together over coffee, a round of golf, at a conference, and really hash out the experience of one for the benefit of the other. Personal recommendations and advice are invaluable, in my opinion.

In tandem with plying my friend with wine, I also turned to the Web for resources with which to educate myself – another research practice managers most likely utilize. As someone who deals with healthcare vendors on a daily basis, I know that there is a treasure trove of data out there on pretty much any health IT system you might be contemplating. White papers, case studies and of course many of the blogs at Healthcarescene.com offer insight into implementation experiences.

Then came the hard part – sifting through the “free” property forms I could use to get the rental property ball rolling. Like many of us in healthcare, as the popular saying goes, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” So, while many free forms I came across seemed perfectly legitimate, I was constantly second-guessing myself: Is this one legal enough? Will that one hold up in court if, heaven forbid, we have an eviction on our hands? Why would someone pay for this form when they can get it for free? What is this website not telling me!?

I wonder if this is similar to what small practice managers feel like when they go down the path of the free EHR. As consumers, we typically assume that free is good, but we also know that you get what you pay for. So they must do some second-guessing themselves when it comes to using healthcare IT that includes advertising from third parties, right?

This is where, I imagine, a successful free EHR company would step in with the aforementioned white papers, case studies and offers to sit down and allay any fears a provider might have about taking this leap into the HIT unknown. I’d love to hear from those who have been in similar situations. What resource did you find of most value when considering new IT? What resource disappointed you? What were you not aware of that might have made a difference in your decision? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments below.