Formalize the Management of Portal/EHR Vendors

Put management structures in place to track features and functions promised by vendors in contracts and through other formal communications. Assign a staff member to manage the relationship with the portal/electronic medical record (EHR) vendor by keeping shared records of vendor contacts, issue-tracking logs and feature request logs. If your project is not progressing through your current vendor contact, reach out to others within the vendor’s organization.

Make your Portal/EHR Vendor a Partner

All systems have problems. Blaming the vendor can cause clinic staff to lose confidence in the portal/EHR, which can be difficult to restore. It is in the best interests of the clinic to be supportive and realistic while working with a vendor to address issues. Participate as a partner with your vendor through extensive testing, thoughtful implementation and active oversight. All of these will help mitigate shortcomings in the system.

Thoroughly Test Functionalities, Fixes or Updates Before Going Live

Vendors will describe the qualities of upcoming features, functionalities or fixes, but the only way to fully understand the impact that changes to portal software will have on clinic operations is through testing. Implement new functions or software changes only after they have been thoroughly tested.

Exhaust All Options Before Replacing an Existing Portal or EHR System

Take every action possible to keep an existing portal/EHR system functioning at a high level. Explore with your vendor whether system capabilities can be deployed more effectively to support clinic requirements and workflows. Making better use of an existing system can avoid the expense and long-term disruption involved in migrating to a different EHR.

Use Third Party Vendors to Add Desired Functionality

Third party vendors sell portal add-ons that can bring new functionality to a system. Explore all the costs of deployment and operations, as well as any complications that can result when integrating a third party product. Consider putting a written agreement in place to specify cooperative steps for the portal and third party vendors.

The information set forth in this Knowledge Center should not be construed as legal or medical advice, a legal or medical opinion on specific facts or representative of the views of the Colorado Health Foundation, its directors, affiliates, agents or representatives unless so stated. This Knowledge Center is not intended as a definitive statement on the subject matter referenced herein. Rather, it is intended to serve as general information for readers, providing practical information for health care organizations seeking to implement and maintain patient portals. By downloading, using or accessing information contained in this Knowledge Center, you agree to be bound by the Terms of Use set forth at http://www.coloradohealth.org/terms-of-use together with all agreements or instruments referenced therein.