As you provide excellent patient care, your chiropractic EHR software vendor partners with you to keep patient records accessible, secure, and efficient.
To get the most from your software, build a strong relationship with your vendor by facilitating good communication. Demonstrating that your clinic is interested in maximizing your return on investment will likely lead to more productive conversations and fewer headaches in the future.
From the start, try to build a strong rapport with your vendor and establish clear expectations. Any contractual agreements you have will also help set the tone for the relationship and will help provide clarity in case issues arise.
Typically, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requires EHR vendors to sign business associate agreements establishing the vendor’s responsibility for such activities as protecting patient information and following HIPAA provisions. You should carefully review anything your vendor asks you to sign and be sure to find out what contractual language is required by law.¹
In order to promote a great vendor relationship, you will probably need to make communication a high priority. Follow these tips to minimize misunderstandings and get the most from your EHR.
Vendors work with technology all day and probably understand it better than your clinic’s staff does. This can easily cause misunderstandings and confusion around your office, particularly if your vendor uses technical terms you are unfamiliar with.
Improve your office’s tech-speak with these tips:²
- Choose your champion. Make the communication process less confusing for everyone involved by designating one person in your office as a liaison to your vendor. Then, have this individual communicate officially to your vendor whenever questions or problems occur. If you have someone in your office who is particularly comfortable speaking with technical support and customer service and understands how to use the software properly, they are likely a natural choice for this role.
- Write everything down. Whenever someone in your office speaks to the vendor, record the conversation in as much detail as possible. Any changes to the system, such as new installations, upgrades or patches, should be included in this record to help with troubleshooting later. If you are prepared with records, your calls to technical support should be much easier.
- Prioritize your communications. Not every problem requires contacting your vendor, although some issues are significant enough to require immediate action. Determine which issues can be added to a list for a weekly technical support call, solved in-house by tech-savvy staff or fielded directly to your vendor right away. This may help save time on support issues and your vendor will probably appreciate how organized you are.
Any part of the support process you can help with will likely make a positive impression on your vendor while also saving your clinic’s own resources. Remember to encourage your office to work with your vendor whenever possible and make an effort to accommodate them while they are working for you.
Partnering with your vendor
Connecting with your vendor on a more personal level and treating representatives respectfully may pay off handsomely for your practice. By acknowledging what your vendor needs from you and providing it, you may receive better service and faster responses.
To improve your chances of building a great working relationship, consider implementing these suggestions at your office:³
- Train your office in how to treat vendor representatives. If you have a designated vendor liaison, let your office know how to communicate their questions and concerns through your liaison. Staff members should also know your expectations for how visiting representatives should be treated.
- Allow vendors the access they need to do their jobs. Be sure your front desk knows when to provide access to your system and how to do so securely.
- Make an effort to recognize your vendor’s efforts at relationship-building. If your vendor regularly treats your office to lunch during their visits, for example, return the favor if it is appropriate to do so by offering your representative lunch the next time they visit. Returning kindness for kindness can help build a good rapport.
A solid foundation
By partnering with your vendor, you may find an easier, friendlier EHR experience that helps you go the distance for your patients. When problems arise, you need a vendor willing to work for you. Be the EHR user who knows how to productively and effectively communicate.
¹Hhs.gov. “Business Associate Contracts: Sample Business Associate Agreement Provisions.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/covered-entities/sample-business-associate-agreement-provisions/index.html. Published: January 2013. Accessed: September 2016.
²Hurt, A. “EHR Vendor Relations: 4 Tips to Better Communication.” Physicians Practice. http://www.physicianspractice.com/ehr/ehr-vendor-relations-4-tips-better-communication. Published: February 2014. Accessed: September 2016.
³Watson, W. “4 ways to improve vendor relationships.” Optometry Times. http://optometrytimes.modernmedicine.com/optometrytimes/news/4-ways-improve-vendor-relationships?page=0,1. Published: May 2015. Accessed: September 2016.