This blog was originally published in March 2023 and was updated in October 2023
When considering the purchase and implementation of an electronic health record (EHR) solution for your new practice, you will need to examine EHR costs and the realistic return on investment (ROI) of this essential software platform.
Many independent physicians are currently realizing the benefits of EHRs. This trend has been consistent since 2015, and the adoption of EHRs by office-based physicians has more than doubled since 2008. Almost 9 in 10 office-based physicians in the US had adopted an EHR as of 2021. Nearly 4 in 5 had adopted a certified EHR (CEHR).
Exploring the benefits of EHR for your business
Benefits of EHRs include the generation of a positive ROI and improved organizational efficiency. In particular, EHR-enabled practices report specific benefits, such as:
When staff members have quick, easy access to electronic patient records, they save a lot of time that would otherwise be spent locating paper charts. Patient-related administrative tasks, such as filling out forms and processing billing requests, also require staff time and effort. EHRs streamline these tasks. With EHRs, staff members will spend less time interpreting handwritten notes.
Improved medical practice management
Through integrated scheduling systems that link appointments directly to progress notes, automated coding, and easier-to-manage claims, your staff can more efficiently run your organization and improve medical practice management.
Enhanced information availability and sharing
With EHRs, patient records are available simultaneously to all appropriate staff members at all times, meaning your staff can more efficiently locate and process patient information.
EHRs can also be programmed for easy or even automatic delivery of information from laboratories or other providers, saving staff time that would otherwise be spent manually entering information into patient records.
Elation’s EHR solution enables you to monitor your panel, close the loop on outstanding actions to monitor adherence to the care plan, and gain deeper insights into your practice’s performance.
What are the costs associated with EHR?
Many people focus on the cost of EHR software when budgeting for their new electronic health system. But software is only part of the overall cost your practice will incur.
Here are some of the other considerations you’ll need to factor in when calculating EHR costs:
You may need to invest in new servers and other hardware such as computers and devices to host the EHR system. Additionally, you might be required to upgrade your network or increase your internet bandwidth, which you should factor into your EHR costs.
Software licensing costs
You will likely need to purchase a license to use the EHR software. These fees can vary greatly depending on the size of your organization, the number of physicians, and the features required.
New security tools
It’s crucial to ensure your patients’ health data is protected in compliance with HIPAA regulations, and this may involve investing in new security systems for your practice. You may also need to make investments in cybersecurity measures so that patient data is protected.
Data storage and Backup
You should also factor in costs associated with storing, backing up, and managing patient health records in a cloud-based system or a physical data center.
Integrating the EHR with other healthcare systems will incur additional costs. You may also need to invest in efforts to make sure that the EHR can securely communicate with other medical offices such as hospitals, labs, and pharmacies.
To ensure an efficient EHR implementation process you will likely want to hire support services to help migrate your existing EHR to a new system and set up a new EHR correctly. Your EHR vendor should be able to help with this process.
Once the EHR is live, all your team members will need to be trained on how to use the EHR system. Providing EHR training for your staff will incur additional EHR costs.
Annual license renewal fees
You will also need to account for ongoing license renewal fees, as well as any costs associated with upgrading your EHR so that it’s up to date.
What is the average cost of an EHR system?
Research has found that the typical provider should expect to pay about $1,200 per year per user. Larger practices will see lower EHR costs, at less than $700 per user, and independent practices may pay slightly less when calculating their EHR pricing. Note again, though that this is only the cost of the software.
So if you have a practice size of around 3 physicians and 4 supporting staff members, you can expect to pay around $8,400 for your system, but you could be looking at quite a bit more when you include training costs, support payments, data migration, and all the other fees associated with implementing a new system at your practice.
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The ROI of EHR implementation
In a recent interview, healthcare leaders discussed the potential ROI of EHR implementation. They agreed that EHRs contribute to improvements in operations, including revenue cycle operations, on a single, integrated platform.
Tom Barnett, chief information and digital officer of Memphis, Tennessee-based Baptist Memorial Health Care, noted that “Today's EHRs more than pay for themselves and when implemented properly, can positively exceed their ROI projections.”
Susan Snedaker, CIO of Tucson, Arizona-based El Rio Community Health, said, "If the healthcare organization manages the EHR integration well and tightly manages scope and cost, there can be a significant return on the investment over time. That ROI can show up directly as higher revenues through productivity gains or enhanced revenue capture. It can also show up in less quantifiable ways such as higher provider satisfaction — more time with patients and less documentation time — and more efficient clinical workflows.”
A national survey of physicians ready for meaningful use revealed that:
94% of providers report that their EHR makes records readily available at the point of care.
88% report that their EHR produces clinical benefits for the practice.
75% of providers report that their EHR allows them to deliver better patient care.
One study found that the average practice will see an ROI on their EHR system in just 10 months – and then you’ll have a fully profitable system.
Download our free EHR implementation guide for expert insights
Learn more about common EHR costs and get expert insights to ensure a smooth EHR implementation process.
Choose the right EHR software for your practice
If you’re looking for a new EHR for your independent practice, you want to ensure your EHR pricing matches up to the benefits you will receive.
With Elation EHR, your practice will receive a comprehensive and user-friendly solution that enhances patient care, practice management, and overall efficiency while ensuring compliance with healthcare regulations.
Elation EHR streamlines your workflows, provides access to comprehensive patient records, and facilitates efficient communication within your care team. It also enhances billing and revenue cycle management, minimizes errors, and offers decision support for evidence-based care.
If you’re seeking an vendor who can provide end-to-end EHR implementation support, Elation is your best choice. Get in touch with our team today to request a free demo of Elation EHR, or contact us if you’d like to learn more about our EHR support services.
FAQs about EHR costs
Are EHR systems affordable?
The cost of EHR software doesn’t have to break the bank. While luxury systems can set you back thousands and thousands of dollars, there are plenty of economical options out there – and you will see a swift ROI that makes the purchase a no-brainer for your practice.
How much does an EHR system cost?
Recent reports have shown that EHR costs $1,200 per year per user for the average practice.
What's the cost of implementing EHR systems?
The cost of implementing EHR systems should be factored on top of the price of the actual software. A small practice may expect to spend around $33,000 all-in for software and implementation.
Are there any hidden costs associated with EHR adoption?
Your EHR software provider should be upfront about all the costs required to implement their EHR system. That being said, there are some EHR costs outside the normal scope that you should be aware of in case they apply to your practice.
You should figure in hardware, software, and security upgrades to ensure safety and compatibility, as well as implementation support, staff training, and ongoing maintenance such as optimization, hardware replacement, and general software maintenance.