An EMR is used by physicians to record and monitor the health metrics and personal information of their patients. It also offers decision support features that aid diagnosis, the creation of treatment plans, the prescribing of medicine, and the ordering of laboratory tests.
Research conducted by the American Association of Family Physicians has shown that, in large practices, only about 32% of doctors working in large organizations are happy with their new EHRs.
However, in a survey conducted by Physicians Practice, over 67% of respondents said they haven’t seen a significant return on their investment in their EMR/EHR system.
This shows that it’s important to carefully evaluate the cost of a new EMR implementation before investing the time, effort, training, and resources to make the switch. Before you can get a reasonably accurate cost estimate for EMR implementation, you should understand the direct and indirect costs involved.
EMR Implementation Costs
After researching and shortlisting EMR/EHR products for your healthcare organization, you may check the prices and think your budget can accommodate them. But you still have to factor in the implementation costs. Each EMR or EHR product has its installation and deployment costs, and you need to be prepared for them. You can divide implementation expenses into indirect and direct costs.
Direct Cost of New EMR Implementation
According to data provided by HealthIT.gov , the cost of buying and installing an EHR varies from $15,000 to $70,000 per provider. However, in multi-physician healthcare facilities, the cost could be as high as $162,000.
EHR deployment costs also vary depending on the type of deployment you choose. The two major types of deployment are on-site and cloud deployment also called SaaS. If you deploy the EHR solution at your hospital, you’ll incur additional hardware costs, and you’ll need to buy a software license that requires a sizable upfront fee. Adopting an on-site server model also means you’ll have to take care of the back-office technology needed to run the EHR including servers, data storage, and data backup.
On the other hand, cloud-based deployment requires you to store your healthcare and patient data on your vendor’s servers and gain access to it online. You’ll need to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee. Your vendor may also ask you to pay an initial set up fee, which is always smaller than the license fees paid for on-site deployment. While you won’t need to set up a back-office with heavy-duty servers and data backups, you may have to pay for a fixed number of users to access the software monthly. Your monthly access fee will increase if you need to give more employees access.
Indirect Cost of New EMR Implementation
Apart from upfront, setup, or access fees, your practice will also have to budget for indirect EHR implementation expenses. These expenses are substantial, and you need to budget for them if you want to have a successful implementation.
The most important indirect costs include training costs, staffing, and the cost of loss of productivity during implementation. Ensure that you budget adequately for training all categories of employees that will use the HER, including IT staff, clinicians, administrators, and others. During training, your doctors will spend less time taking care of patients, so you need to factor in this loss of productivity and attach a cost to it.
Discover How to Get the Best Return on Your New EMR Investment
Contact Lifepoint Informatics today by calling 877.522.8378 for a free consultation on EMR implementation in your healthcare organization. We’ve been providing health IT solutions since 1999, and we have over 20,000 completed projects to date. Let us partner with you to transform your organization.