Chandresh Shah

Apply “SOAP” when buying Health IT / EHR Systems

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Patient is not always right – even when they think they have the internet and trusty Google on their side. Patient has strong ideas and a strong sense that she is right, but is locked into a narrow view and weighed down by constraints that seem to be more immutable than they really are.

When patients come to you self-diagnosed; knowing and asking for a particular medication or procedure before any discussion of symptoms or diagnoses, your reaction is always, “You may be correct, but let’s find out for sure.” You go through the structured SOAP methodology before you arrive at the P – Plan.

Healthcare IT is very similar. You are the Patient!

How many times have I heard, “I only need X,” only to discover that he/she needed Y?

That is the prime reason for failure of EHR systems implementations; trying to medicate before diagnosis. Most practices shorten or short-circuit the diagnostic phase, jump straight into a DEMO of a system. They marginalize the process of diagnosis and proclaim that their self-diagnosis is valid enough for them to proceed, particularly because they have experience of failure!


If any vendor tries to prescribe before Diagnosis, beware and walk away. At the same time, don’t make the same mistake your patients do – don’t ask for P – Prescription/Plan before you diagnose the problem. Leave it to experts. If your vendor is not that expert, find someone else that will work with you, engage in a conversation and dialog to find out your issues and goals before recommending a solution.

It is very easy to jump to the conclusion that all certified  EHR are the same

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