When choosing an electronic health record software system, the vendor product demonstration can provide you with valuable information.  Physicians, nurses and staff members need to be aware that vendor demos can be extremely time-consuming but provide pertinent information and insight into the product and if it is best suited for the facility.

Since salespeople and products vary greatly, it is important for a key decision maker or representative of the medical facility to address the needs and wants of the office before setting up the vendor demonstration.  A lot of wasted time can be eliminated if the vendor knows beforehand what the needs of the office are and can prepare the appropriate demo ahead of time.  Preparing questions ahead of time and sending them to the vendor is also helpful in eliminating excess time and money when it comes to the demonstration.

Below are some helpful tips and strategies to assist you with getting the most from your EHR vendor demonstration.

Before the Demonstration

As previously stated, preparing a set of questions and sending them to your vendor ahead of time can save a lot of time.  While it is important to open-minded during the presentation, you can gain a bit more control if you propose the needs and wants of your office beforehand.  This is easily done by preparing notes and questions and sending them to your representative before the meeting takes place.

A good EHR vendor will likely send a conference or demonstration program to the office ahead of time.  Be sure to carefully review the program and prepare more notes and questions as they relate to each session.  This can help you be more informed and know which areas to address in greater detail.

During the Demonstration

During the demonstration it is important to remain open-minded.  This is the time to educate yourself and allow the vendor to show you the crucial areas of the system.  The key to getting the most out of your vendor demonstration is to be an active participator.  Rather than being a passive learner, get active by taking notes, asking questions and participate in hands-on demonstrations.

This is also a time to build rapport with the vendor.  In the event that you take on the product, you will be in close contact with the vendor.  To have built a relationship with the vendor will prove to be beneficial in the long run.

After the Demonstration

Following the demonstration, be sure to complete the vendor survey that will be supplied to you and the rest of the attendees.  Your opinion matters and will help improve future meetings you may have with the vendor representative.

It is important, especially if you are highly interested in the product, to send a thank-you email to the vendor.  While you may be bombarded with thank you letters from the opposite end, sending a note yourself helps to gain relationship and improve communication.

Following the vendor demo it is important to gather all of your notes, re-read them and ask for input from the other attendees from your team.  Everyone should collaborate together in order to make the best and most informed decision.