Factors to Consider in Contract Negotiations
- Ensure that the final contract includes the vendor’s response to the request for proposal or request for information as well as any applicable warrantees (e.g., service level, product performance, and response time).
- Pay particular attention to ownership of data (especially for an application service provider system), requirements for additional training and support, fee-based upgrades, co-op purchasing, and options for purchasing hardware outright and negotiating only the price of the software.
- Clearly identify price and payment terms (preferably paid out in milestones, along with the right to withhold payments in the event of a vendor breach of contract.
- Identify required experience for vendor staff involved in product configuration, implementation, training, and/or ongoing support.
For best results, many practices seek legal assistance when negotiating vendor contracts.
Your Local Regional Extension Center Can Help
Your local Regional Extension Center (REC) can help you navigate the vendor landscape. RECs are located in every region of the country to help health care providers select, implement, and become adept and meaningful users of EHRs. Your local REC can help you objectively identify the vendor product that best meets your unique needs. Contact your local REC to find out if you are eligible for free or reduced-price local EHR selection support.
For more information, see the following resources.
- The Health Resources and Services Administration provides guidance on establishing vendor contracts and the key components of vendor contracts.
- Stratis Health provides a contract checklist to help you negotiate a favorable contract with your vendor of choice.
- “Negotiating the EHR Vendor Contract,” an article in the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons provides detailed advice for contract negotiations.
- Hartley, Carolyn, and Jones, Edward D. “EHR Implementation: A Step by Step Guide for the Medical Practice.”
- Hartley, Carolyn. “Signing an EHR Contract? 25 Tips to Control Costs.”