As an independent physician, you are understandably concerned about expenses for your practice. However, if one of those expenses provides a significant return on investment (ROI), both financially and in terms of productivity, then it is worth a closer look. Electronic health records (EHRs) can help you and your staff work more efficiently while providing quality care. There are many aspects of EHR pricing for independent practices to consider.
Tangible benefits of implementing an EHR in your independent practice can include:
- Increased efficiency
- Increased quality of care
- Reduction of waste
- Fewer medical errors
- Better organizational outcomes (e.g., financial, and operational benefits)
- Better societal outcomes (e.g., improved ability to conduct research, improved population health, reduced costs)
When pricing an EHR, keep the benefits and the resulting ROI in mind. When determining exactly what an EHR solution will cost for your independent practice, you will need to fully examine variables that can affect the price of an EHR, including:
- The exact features a practice requires
- Add-ons such as practice management or patient portal
- Cloud or on-premises deployment
- Updating hardware to support the system
- The scale of the installation.
Some estimates project that the five-year total cost of ownership for cloud-based systems could be $58,000 while the office-based option is estimated to cost $48,000. Estimates of some upfront costs were at approximately $26,000 while the office-based system upfront costs are estimated to be around $33,000.
Experts recommend that, when deciding whether to invest in an EHR your independent practice can rely on two tools:
- ROI – a calculation of the most tangible financial gains or benefits that can be expected from a project versus the costs for implementing the EHR or suggested program or solution.
- EHR Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) – more comprehensive than ROI and attempts to quantify both tangible and intangible costs and benefits.
Whichever method a practice chooses, it is important to include all the direct and indirect costs that can impact the EHR investment.
As for the ROI of the investment in an EHR, practices typically can expect to recoup the cost in approximately 2 ½ years. They then receive an average of about $23,000 per year per full-time employee in net benefits after that point.
One research study found that the average budget per user for EHR software is $6,000. The study also found that the most popular reason for implementing an EHR solution was to support growth, with almost half of the organizations participating in the survey citing this as their primary goal. Increasing efficiency followed as the second most popular reason for implementing,
The reasons for implementing EHR, by practice size, included:
For practices with 1 physician
- Support growth 50.7%
- Greater functionality 15.3%
- Increase efficiency 14.7%
For practices with 2 – 10 physicians
- Increase efficiency 26.2%
- Greater functionality 22.6%
- Support growth 22.6%
For practices with 11 + physicians
- Consolidate disparate systems 25.0%
- Better support for reporting 12.5%
- Support growth 12.5%
In addition, most independent physicians spent about ten weeks in the process of reviewing, researching, and selecting an EHR for their practice.
Elation Health offers one system for clinical documentation, coding, and quality program performance. Learn more about Elation’s EHR pricing here.