Building a custom EHR interface is an essential aspect of EHR optimization. Interfaces connect EHRs to other information systems like the laboratory information system (LIS) and the radiology information system. However, one of the major obstacles healthcare CIOs face is justifying the cost of implementing a new EHR and estimating costs accurately to secure budgetary approval. That’s why we will be looking at some of the essential factors to consider when evaluating a new EHR interface cost.
1. Justify the Cost of a Custom EHR interface
One of the challenges CIOs face when requesting funds to develop a new EHR interface is demonstrating that the investment is profitable. Apart from helping to comply with “Meaningful Use” regulatory requirements, a new EHR interface can offer significant financial benefits such as:
- Enhancing electronic test orders
- Reducing the cost of delivering care
- Reducing physician fatigue
- Increasing productivity and revenue
To make a strong case for the release of funds for a new interface, you may create a cost-benefit analysis that focuses on better quality of care and improving clinician efficiency.
2. Identify the Benefits of Building a New EHR Interface
When clinicians use an EHR interface effectively, it can improve the quality of care and enhance the practice’s productivity and profitability. The tangible benefits offered by a well designed EMR/LIS interface include:
- Better interoperability
- Reduction of waste
- Fewer test and treatment errors
- Improved financial outcomes for the hospital and laboratory
- Enhanced ability to participate in population health research
3. How to Compile EHR interface Costs
When hiring developers, CIOs usually ask for the EHR interface cost, and they expect a straightforward, precise answer. But the truth is that the total cost of an EHR cost depends on the type of interface you want to create and how it is going to be used. Building a point-to-point interface will involve the following cost components:
- Interface Development: This is the cost of programming the HL7 or FHIR interface performed by a software vendor or in-house programmers.
- Port Fees: Programming each interface will involve the creation of two pairs of import and export points. One pair will reside on the EMR software, while the second pair will be on the LIS or other health information system. Each endpoint or port usually has a fixed cost.
- Data Transfer: After creating the ports for each interface, a secure connection must exist between the two systems for safe and HIPAA compliant data transfer. While some providers try to use VPNs for secure data transfer, these third-party tools may not always be reliable. That is why it is necessary to create a dedicated SSL connection that will always guarantee safe data transfer and ensure that HL7 messages are not corrupted or hacked.
- Training and Support: Fees for training and support are seldom high, but they are nonetheless important. Without adequate training and support from the interface developer, the new EHR interface may not deliver the full benefits and ROI expected from the project.
Finally, it’s important to note that when a healthcare provider needs to develop a large number of interfaces between multiple EHRs, labs, radiology departments, and other information exchanges, it is better to set up an interface engine that will allow for the low-cost development of interfaces at scale.
Do You Need to Develop an EHR Interface at a Low Cost?
Contact Lifepoint Informatics today to discuss your interface development needs. We can work out a solution that will satisfy your requirements within your budget. Give us a call now at 877.522.8378 to schedule a free consultation.