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Frequently Asked Questions

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Implementing EHRs
Continuing Quality Improvement

Why Your Vendor Relationship Matters

Your electronic health record (EHR) vendor can be an important partner in quality improvement. Quality improvement requires you understand the full functionalities of your EHR product, including decision support, data reporting and analysis, and disease and population management. Maintaining a productive relationship with your vendor will enable you to fully leverage your EHR to improve quality.

See the following case studies and lessons from the field for examples of how you can work with vendor to improve quality and realize the benefits of EHRs.

  • Nancy Fennell, Practice Consultant with the Regional Extension Center of New Hampshire , tells the story of how her practice worked with an EHR vendor to generate custom reports that help the practice remind patients of annual physicals.
  • Dr. Christopher Tashjian, a specialist in family medicine practicing in rural Ellsworth, Wisconsin, explains how his vendor implemented an after-visit summary feature to enable his practice to print visit summaries for patients.
  • Urban Health Plan, a community health center in the South Bronx, worked with its software vendor to improve care coordination through enhancement of EHR features.

EHR Selection

You should start thinking about quality improvement when selecting or upgrading to a certified EHR.

  • Start with the Certified HIT Product List (CHPL), a list of EHRs that have been tested and certified under the Temporary Certification Program maintained by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). You can use the CHPL) to help you select an EHR vendor certified for clinical quality measures (CQMs) that align with your quality improvement goals. CQMs can help you identify areas for quality improvement,identify differences in care/outcomes among various populations, and improve care coordination between health care providers.
  • You can use the Vendor Evaluation Matrix Tool to help you evaluate vendors. Pay particular attention to the Decision Support and Disease and Population Management sections.

Your Local Regional Extension Center Can Help

Your local Regional Extension Center (REC) can help you navigate the vendor landscape and speak to vendors about quality improvement. 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 identify key quality improvement considerations and objectively select 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.