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EMR ROI (Return on Investment)
Do you know the true cost of EMR adoption for your practice? Implementing an EMR can be a major investment for medical practices. Before jumping in head first, however, take the time to research EMR costs and financing options. To get an idea of the return on investment you can get by implementing EMR software, click to view the EMR ROI Calculator below. Keep in mind that ROI calculators only provide estimates, and actual EMR costs can fluctuate from one provider to another.
Costs to Consider
EMR Costs generally fall under four categories:
Most physician practices will need to upgrade existing hardware before implementing an EMR system. This can include buying new computers and even a network server if the EMR software you go with is client/server-based. Your EMR vendor should provide you with a list of recommended hardware specifications for optimum software performance. Some companies also work closely with hardware manufacturers and can get you better deals. Remember that the amount of money you should budget on new hardware can vary depending on factors such as product brand, model, storage capacity, and processor speed. Don't forget to factor in the cost of future hardware upgrades, including regularly used printers and scanners.
Many EMR vendors sell licenses based on the number of physician-users in the practice and often give discounts for mid-level providers, such as nurse practitioners. Meanwhile, office employees are typically granted free access through the provider's license. EMR license fees vary greatly and can range from $1,000 to $25,000. The average license for a certified, fully-functional EMR usually starts at around $10,000, while the cost of a license for a lighter, entry level EMR is usually on the lower end of the price spectrum. Find out if your vendor charges a one-time, up front license fee, or if payments are made on a monthly basis.
Implementation and Training
Depending on your EMR vendor, training can either be done on-site or through remote sessions online. The cost of EMR training during the implementation period is normally covered under a one-time implementation fee. Some vendors put a limit on the number of "free" implementation training hours a provider can use, while other vendors set a date limit. The average implementation time for a first-time EMR user is 45 hours, with 10 hours being used for computer and network set-up, 25 hours for training, and another 10 hours for customization. After the implementation period is over, normal training fees apply, and training hours are generally billed at a rate of $75 to $150 per hour. You will use training time a lot more when you first start using the EMR software. Afterwards, training expenses will likely be used for new users or to learn about new features.
Support & Maintenance
Support costs are typically incurred from the annual support contract with the EMR vendor. Your support fees will include software updates and technical support, as well as scheduled maintenance. If you do not already have an in-house IT technician, you will want to consider hiring one to handle any on-site hardware and network support.
Learn more about the benefits of EMR software.