The price of implementing a new EHR has changed over the last decade. Since the Barack Obama administration signed the ARRA and HITECH acts into law, EHR implementation costs have changed for small practices and large provider networks.
A Health Affairs survey revealed that the cost of implementing an EHR for a 5-physician practice was a little more than $162,047 within the first two months after launch. Results from a group of surveys put the price of implementing an EHR at 15,000 to 70,000 per care provider.
Today, the price of implementing an EHR for a similar practice may be higher since many more features are added to most EHR installations. However, the cloud-based implementations now allow providers to discount the costs over a more extended period and pay in smaller installments.
If you plan to implement a new EHR in your organization, focusing on these cost categories will help you arrive at a fair estimate.
1. Hardware Costs
Your practice may need to acquire new servers, workstations, and networking equipment for the new EHR. If you choose to purchase an on-premise EHR, you need secured servers to host the application and database.
Even if you opt for a SaaS system or cloud-based deployment, you still need to choose a hardware platform and pay subscription fees. Deploying your EHR in-house requires higher initial capital than using the software vendor’s servers or your private cloud service.
While estimating your hardware costs, you need to consider the following:
- Desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones
- Wireless networking equipment
- Automatic document feed scanners
- Barcode readers
- Smart card scanners
- Signature pads
2. Software Costs
Most EHR software comes with core modules and a long list of customization options. Some of these options were provided to meet the needs of various practice types, while others were added to improve interoperability.
The main modules include:
- Document management
- Appointment scheduling and time management
- Electronic communication and messaging
With the high demand for interoperable data solutions in healthcare, in-house EHR installations may not save your practice money in the long term anymore. For a new EHR, a cloud-hosted solution may be the most cost-effective solution. Data posted by the ONC shows that implementing a SaaS-based EHR is about $26,000, while implementing an in-house hosted EHR costs $33,000.
3. Support Costs
For the successful implementation of a new EHR system, you will need the help of project managers, analysts, developers, consultants, and trainers. Working with consultants can enhance the quality of:
- Project planning
- Workflow redesign
- EHR customization
When you partner with an expert, you can save time and money and quickly get the system up and running.
4. Training Costs
Training is a vital aspect of your EHR implementation. When it is well organized, training boosts clinician satisfaction with your EHR and reduces burnout.
For effective implementation, you should have a budget for two types of training:
- Training during implementation
- Training to support end-users of the system
You should budget between $1,500 and $2,000 for each physician. You’ll need a higher training budget for developers, analysts, and project managers.
5. Operational Costs
Operational costs are the costs you need to maintain, develop, and optimize the EHR system. You will also pay a monthly or annual subscription fee for a cloud-based installation. On the other hand, a self-hosted EHR system will incur maintenance, security costs. However, these costs are usually lower than the cloud-based systems.
Get a Custom Quote for the Price of Implementing an EHR
Lifepoint provides EHR implementation support and interoperability solutions for healthcare providers of all categories. Call us at 877.522.8378 today to book a free consultation session or visit our contact page to discuss your EHR implementation needs.