5 Critical Support Questions Hospitals Should Ask Prior to an Emergency Department Information System Investment

In an Emergency Department setting where lives are often on the line and time can be short, hospital staff cannot afford to waste time waging battles with unruly healthcare and patient data technology.

Reliable and stellar customer support is a pivotal (and oftentimes overlooked) component of the modern Emergency Department (ED). Superior customer support can go a long way in helping clinicians and ancillary staff excel at their jobs.

The need for emergency care rarely ceases. Informed support for those systems that can help emergency personal perform at top levels must match that continuous pace of care.

“We often find ED directors come to expect and rely on crucial features like 24/7 support from their Emergency Department Information System (EDIS),” states MEDHOST Senior Vice President of Customer Services Kim MacTavish.

Whether the issue to be resolved is financial, clinical, or IT-related; dependable, around-the-clock EDIS support can do more for emergency clinicians and administrators than preserve long-term investments and ROI, it can help save lives.

At the same time, when many ED directors and hospital leaders begin to shop for a new EDIS platform, service-centric customer support isn’t always one of their top concerns. For busy ED directors, questions about first-day resolve rates, sourcing, and customer satisfaction may not even arise before committing to an EDIS. To help these ED directors in their search, MEDHOST has compiled this list of the five best customer support questions to ask before investing in an EDIS.

5 Best EDIS Customer Support Questions to Ask

1.  Is Customer Support Available 24/7/365?

In the high-stress environment of an ED, 3 AM emergencies are as likely as afternoon claim disputes. To reinforce the pace of care in the emergency department, an EDIS support provider needs to be fast and reliable. Whether an ED physician needs help with patient charting, or a staff member has a simple interface question, customer support should always be there with quick, helpful solutions. A lack of constant and consistent support can and should be a deal breaker for ED directors. Ask yourself if this feature of customer support is non-negotiable for you.

2. What are the support team’s specific resources?

With its own customer support team, MEDHOST staffs seasoned experts for every kind of issue—from registered nurses and financial specialists to interface experts and high-tech certified professionals. If customer support can’t help your ED with any software concern, it’s a problem.

As MacTavish puts it, “Imagine I’m a nurse treating a patient, and I experience an issue with the clinical functionality of the system I am using. If I cannot speak with someone who has a clinical understanding, background, or available clinical resources, I may be somewhat concerned with the level of support I receive.” Best advice: always err on the side of resources that best support your specific staff.

3. Is the support internally staffed or outsourced?

In many instances, customer support for an EDIS is outsourced—meaning support does not come from the EDIS provider, but from an outside entity. With outsourced support, the experience that ED directors, clinicians, and staff expect sometimes falls short of optimal. Challenges could include:

  • A lack of comprehensive EDIS knowledge
  • Slow to diagnose critical issues
  • Uncertain resolution times

If you’d prefer an internally staffed customer support service for your ED, factor those potential differences into your search.

4. How is effective customer support measured?

What type of key performance indicators (KPIs) does the EDIS provider use to measure performance? What about the rate of first-day resolve? Indicators like these are crucial to understanding the impact EDIS customer support will have on an Emergency Department. Depending on your facility’s specific needs, it might be useful to ask the vendor to break down detailed metrics and support analytics by hospital or facility.

5. How are customer support teams held accountable?

Ask vendors what internal mechanisms they have in place to ensure effective and efficient customer support for the ED product. Then, directly address what would happen if an emergency staff member had a negative support experience. What leadership is in place, if any, to discuss feedback with ED directors and customers directly? What form would those feedback channels take?

MacTavish says customer support for EDs has evolved substantially over the past 10 years. ED Directors and staff now expect a high level of real-time support. “Customers want much more than just a transactional relationship,” she explains, “They also want a satisfying experience.”

MEDHOST EDIS offers support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. With an 87 percent first-day resolve rate and a 97 percent customer satisfaction score, MEDHOST has a proven record of providing exceptional support to more than 1,000 healthcare facilities nationwide.

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