Integrity and Commitment
If you follow healthcare IT-related news, then you are likely aware of a recent Justice Department announcement that a certain EHR vendor had agreed to a settlement stemming from a False Claims Act lawsuit. Unfortunately, the vendor’s alleged actions have raised concerns about our industry in general and have led providers to question the integrity of other companies who, like Aprima, are committed to the delivery of products that enhance the process for the delivery of quality patient care.
First and foremost, we want to assure our customers that integrity remains one of our core business values. For almost 20 years, we have been delivering solutions that improve the lives of physicians and patients. During that time, we have met all certification requirements without cutting corners. We believe that our high client retention rate is a testament to our success at meeting the needs of our customers.
It’s disappointing that the actions of others have given our industry a bit of a black eye. We believe that the EHR certification process, while not perfect, provides value and offers protection to providers and the patients they serve. Now that EHR certification is headline news, it’s an appropriate time to reflect on how we can improve that process so that vendors can focus on the delivery of more flexible and usable products that enhance the value and quality of patient care.
The Meaningful Use program has definitely advanced the use of EHRs and facilitated safer and more efficient patient care. At the same time, the extensive program requirements have diverted limited vendor resources away from the other development efforts, such as creating more efficient provider workflows and friendlier user interfaces. Some of Meaningful Use requirements, while beneficial to a segment of providers, are irrelevant to others – and exacerbate inefficient workflows. As healthcare continues to shift to value-based care, the timing is ideal to consider updates to the certification process, including the incorporation of more flexible functionality that helps providers achieve the right end results for patients, instead of tracking whether or not a provider has clicked the right boxes.
If you are a provider, you likely want assurances that your current or future EHR vendor is committed to adhering to certification rules, meeting all regulatory requirements and delivering quality products – as well as, perhaps, a proponent of initiatives that advance care for all patients, including interoperability between systems. To minimize risk, consider the following recommendations:
- Stick with vendors that have an established client base. A top 50 vendor is a safer choice than one with only a few customers.
- Verify the vendor’s client retention rate. A high customer retention rate indicates the company is successfully keeping clients happy.
- Third party validation matters. Investigate reports from organizations such as KLAS, Frost & Sullivan and Black Book.
- Clarify whether or not the company charges for software updates. At Aprima, updates are free for all customers that have an active maintenance and support agreement. Keep in mind, however, that no vendor knows exactly what products or services may be mandated five years from now. It’s possible that your practice may one day need additional products outside of the core EHR, such as a patient portal or specific security tools for protecting patient data.
- Ask about the vendor’s policy for moving your data to another vendor, in the event your practice is acquired – or if you simply opt for a different solution. A nominal fee to cover the cost of the vendor’s time and any materials is to be expected. The cost will likely be higher if the data must be in a specific format. Steer clear of any vendor who charges exorbitant fees to provide customers their data.
At Aprima, we stand behind our products and services and remain committed to helping our customers succeed in their practices. We realize that your EHR is one of your most valuable business tools and critical for ensuring the delivery of safe, efficient and effective patient care. On behalf of all the dedicated professionals at Aprima, we thank you for the continued opportunity to serve as your trusted partner.
Michael K. Nissenbaum, Aprima President & CEO