4 costs associated with most EHRs

According to HealthIT.gov, the estimated cost of purchasing and installing an electronic health record (EHR) ranges from $15,000 to $70,000,http://www.healthit.gov/providers-professionals/faqs/how-much-going-cost-me, per provider. An i ndependent third-party organization found similar findings when they looked at the average yearly cost and total cost of ownership

Here are the four costs associated with most EHRs, and how you can reduce them for your practice:

Hardware

Will your prospective EHR require new hardware? If so, prepare to invest heavily (especially for server-based EHRs). In one study, new hardware costs — including switches, cables, and wireless internet connections — averaged $25,000 per practice. Many hardware costs associated with traditional EHRs can be eliminated with a web-based system, which only requires a basic computer and internet connection.

Software

Most EHRs require you to sign a contract and pay a monthly subscription cost per provider, as well as pay early termination fees and data migration fees if you decide its not the right EHR. Other systems charge a percent of billing revenue. If you’re paying for software, make sure you know if routine updates and workflow redesign support are all included in the monthly fee. Of course, it’s also always a good idea to know what you’re paying for and can fully test-drive your EHR before you commit.

Implementation support

If you need personal support during the implementation process, many EHRS will charge you. Look for an EHR that can get up and running quickly to minimize the impact of the transition, and also includes implementation support as a part of their fees. Better yet, find an EHR that offers free implementation support.

Training

For the average EHR, it’s estimated that a single provider needs 134 hours to fully implement an EHR into workflows. Although the learning curve can vary greatly between systems, the loss of productivity during a transition period factors into the overall cost of an EHR. Staff training and support from the vendor can improve your productivity, but it could cost you in fees. Training is important not only for your current staff, but for new members that come aboard.