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What I Wish I’d Known Before … Selecting a Consulting Firm for EHR Implementation or Optimization

April 14, 2018 What I Wish I'd Known Before 3 Comments

Make sure consultants have a basic orientation to your organization, especially around acceptable use policies, communication, security.


They don’t know everything — trust, but verify.


Don’t let them burn billable hours with your vendor or other consultants without your participation or approval.


The #1 job of consultants is to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) that you can survive without them.


Don’t be fooled by the sample resumes. In most cases, it is unlikely those will be the resources on your project. Bait and switch is common.


Don’t forget to factor in travel expenses — the more distance, the more $$$. Make sure they find your travel guidelines acceptable.


Call lots of references. Not the ones they gave you, but others on their “we’ve worked for every health system in country “ logo slide. Find out who is on their A team and get them.


Check their quoted number of employees (many firms are 70 percent temporary people). Go to LinkedIn and see how many people actually list them as an employer. Find out their turnover rate (both senior management and staff consultants) — again, LinkedIn is useful for this.


Unless they’re sharing financial and other risks with you, they’re not your “partner.” Let them do something small successfully, then sign them up for something larger. Interview their consultants and ask hard technical questions.


Always remember that they know more about you than you know about them. Consulting firms are notorious at being opaque. Beyond them really screwing something up and you spreading the word, they have very little accountability.


That they’d then try to get me fired so they could put their replacement in as interim leadership and bill for it.


How they vet their consultants.


I wish we’d had more perspective on the specific skill sets those working with us would have to ensure they fit the roles as we’d defined them.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. There’s a lot of truth in what you write…although (as a consultant) I like to hope that not all consulting firms are the same.

    I work with a small association of independent HIT consultants and don’t try to sell services that i don’t feel confident in offering. That may cost me a contract and good night’s sleep but I’d rather leave behind a good reputation than feel like I sold an empty promise and just took the money and ran.

    With hope for those of us who don’t say ‘we don’t know it all’, I’d also like to acknowledge and thank those clients who believed, trusted and invested in us with the opportunity to learn and work with new technologies since access to vendor training is almost always restricted.

    – Hunter

  2. I can tell you that my small company is always in partnership – we have a reputation to maintain. I understand many companies are not honest but a good company will be working for your independence of them. Unfortunately the dishonest ones ruin it for the rest of us.







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