Dream Team: Who Should Help Select Your Next ePCR?
Purchasing a new electronic patient care record (ePCR) tool can be an investment for your agency on many levels. Besides the initial cost of purchase and training, you’ll use this tool every single day, so you want to make sure you’re making the right move.
It’s no surprise that many agencies have a selection committee for selecting new software, but who exactly should be part of that committee? Consider having these roles represented in your decision-making process to ensure your future needs and uses will be satisfied.
When purchasing new software, Chiefs and other administrators may not be involved with the entire purchasing process, meaning initial research and creating a shortlist of contenders is left to others in the organization. However, administrators should absolutely see software demonstrations and review components they’ll be using more frequently, such as analytical reports or administrative access functions.
Administrators should look at how analytics can help their agency meet KPIs, internal and state benchmarks, assist with compliance (NEMSIS and state regulations), and generally make life more efficient. One of the key benefits of a good ePCR is automated reporting, so you want to be sure you’re getting the full power of those functions for those who need them most.
In addition, it’s good for administrators to get an overview of how support and training work to ensure everyone in the organization will have the tools they need to be successful when using their ePCR.
2. QA/QI Staff
Quality improvement and assurance is the key to building good data sets that can help improve protocols, drive change in your department, and assist in training medics on standard procedures. Members of your QA/QI team can add a valuable perspective in ensuring your new ePCR tool supports your efforts for constant improvement in your agency.
For example, QA/QI staff should analyze ePCR software for the reviewer functions and ease-of-use when entering data. When software is easy to use, fewer mistakes are made, resulting in cleaner datasets, which means a more accurate representation of operational metrics.
QA/QA staff should also take a look at included Analytics reports and is the software is flexible and exportable. The ability to easily access and use your data to draw conclusions and check in on benchmarks is absolutely a key feature you should require in your new ePCR tool.
After you’ve laid down the funds for the purchase price, a second wave of “cost” for a new ePCR tool makes its appearance: training. Depending on the ease-of-use, accessibility, and support from your provider, training can be efficient and easy to conduct, or somewhat painful. Since your Training staff will likely bear the workload of day-to-day training on the software, it is critical to have in them selection process.
Beyond reviewing how the software operates, trainers should look at the training and implementation procedures and models. Some of the questions they may ask include:
- How is training structured? Are there onsite options? Is all training virtual?
- What training and support exists after onboarding? Are there additional trainings throughout the year?
- How are releases or updates shared with customers? How is training handled for new items that get added to the software?
Your Trainers can help you see into the future a bit, and envision what is will be like to not only train your current staff, but future new employees. Use their expertise in the pain points of a training process to ensure you are seeing the cost in hours of training that you might encounter.
4. Field Users (Medics/Paramedics)
Perhaps some of the most important representatives to have on your ePCR selection committee are the people who will use the software every single day. Their buy-in for the new tool – as well as their practical use can scenarios – can help you predict how easy or difficult adoption of the new tool across your team might be.
For example, report writing is the most important feature to examine for a field user. Being able to touch and try out the software is paramount for this group to know if the ePCR will be a solid fit. A great way to test out ePCR software from the field user perspective is to create mock call scenarios and see how long it takes medics to enter in the needed information.
A tool that is easy and efficient – and makes sense to your field users – will not only aid in adherence to use guidelines, but ensure cleaner, more complete data from the field. This supports your goals of making improvements and observations based on clean, real-world metrics.
Many Perspectives for a Smarter Purchase
By looping in crew members with multiple perspectives in your decision-making process, you’re sure to have better insight into whether or not a specific ePCR vendor is the right choice for your agency. Team members from the full spectrum of use can help identify problem areas and potential challenges in a tool you might have never considered. The questions they present can be invaluable in ensuring that there are no surprises down the road. And when you finally purchase your tool and roll it out to the agency, you’ll have a built-in team of advocates to help.
Take the time to get input and buy-in from a diverse group of roles, and you’ll feel more confident in your purchasing decision and the investment of your agency’s time and resources.