While this is not a comprehensive list, the following is a good rule of thumb when it comes to selecting an IT vendor:
100% Healthcare Focus – Don’t get just 50% of what you are paying for when you select an IT vendor. Healthcare is a specialty that requires specific skill-sets and experience and while many IT vendors can support your hardware, a good healthcare IT vendor can also support your practice and help with workflow, EMR and PM solutions. Like any professional, being able to focus 100% leads to better skills and knowledge that leads to better value for the practice. In your practice, do you really want someone that tries to learn the ins and outs of every business type as well as the healthcare field or do you want someone who works every day in only supporting healthcare and medical practices?
Track Record of 5+ Years – Look for a company that has been in business for at least 5 years and ideally longer. With the increase in the use of technology in medical practices, more IT vendors are trying to break in the space. Do you want them learning on your dime and making mistakes putting your practice at risk? Your IT vendor should have no problem providing 10 – 20 happy clients and if they can’t, find one that can.
EMR Implementation / Support Experience – Another measuring stick is how many implementations your IT vendor has completed. Look for a vendor that has completed at least 100 implementations. This is an obvious indicator in how much they know about the healthcare market and the experience your vendor gains from completing implementations or in providing support for EMR and PM systems, the more value they can provide to you.
Size Matters – Did you know that the average IT vendor has between 2 – 4 employees? And for those that specialize in healthcare, the numbers are even smaller with some companies having only 1 employee in the entire company. While you may get some very personal service at first, what happens when this person goes on vacation, is working with another client or when several emergencies happen at one time. That personal service and support suddenly goes out the window. When looking for an IT vendor look for a company that has at least 10 employees and even more important, make sure those 10 employees have healthcare experience and focus exclusively in supporting medical practices. Also look for a company that has their own help desk. A good help desk can handle quick questions, resolve issues and also get things into the hands of someone who can resolve or provide support faster.
Specialties – Last but not least is that the healthcare IT vendor you select should have experience in supporting your specialty. Family practice physicians is completely different than supporting a cardiovascular, OBGYN or oncology practice. The workflows are different, the devices are different and the needs of each of these practices will vary greatly. Look to find a vendor that has the experience that proves it can provide value to your practice!