- 1 EHR/EMR – Medical Software Pricing Guide
- 1.1 EHR/EMR COST: PERPETUAL LICENSE PRICING
- 1.2 Watch Out for Hidden Cost – EHR Pricing
- 1.3 Subscription Pricing for EMR
- 1.4 Other Cost Factors – Medical Software
- 1.5 Overlooked Cost – EMR/EHR Software
- 1.6 Calculating EHR/EMR TCO
EHR/EMR – Medical Software Pricing Guide
There are tons of EHR solutions on the market, with different Electronic Medical Records (EMR) pricing models and functionality. So when it comes to picking an EHR, how much should you pay?
Well, it is important to match technological capabilities of an EHR with the goals of your medical practice. This is to ensure that the platform meets your meaningful use criteria and the economics of the pricing model are sustainable.
Your EHR platform should be a good technical fit within a realistic pricing policy, given the financial climate in your practice. With stiff competition in the EHR market, you have many EMR pricing models to select from.
EHR/EMR COST: PERPETUAL LICENSE PRICING
There are basically two types of pricing models in the context of EHR. You may choose between a web-based model and an on-site deployment model. You pay an upfront fee to own a perpetual license for the EMR and use it forever.
The cloud-based EHR model is also known as Software as a Service (SaaS). If you seek a perpetual license, you may choose the on-site delivery model that allows for an indefinite use of the software.
This involves ongoing cost to back and manage on-site servers, including updating and patching.
The perpetual license model is used for on-premise deployments with in-house hosting and maintenance.
This involves one-time license fee, which may vary between $1,200 and $500,000. Recurring fee could be for ad-hoc, monthly, or annual updates, maintenance, and upgrades.
However, the EHR pricing model comes for a huge upfront cost in addition to requiring an annual maintenance agreement. Unfortunately, these expenses are unrecoverable if it isn’t a good technical fit for your organization.
Watch Out for Hidden Cost – EHR Pricing
You may want to double check the different software functionalities to watch out for hidden cost, which may be included in
• Customization for reporting and analytics – If you need specific features for your specific practice requirements, you may need to pay extra for the customization cost. Customization cost may be a little more difficult to calculate than licensing cost.
• Subscription License – Medical clinics may need to pay upfront along with an ongoing monthly subscription fee. Payment is stretched over a period of years as opposed to lump-sum license cost.
• Integration with existing or third-party systems – For medical practices that need to integrate with third-party apps or existing systems, there may be extra cost for integration.
Subscription Pricing for EMR
As opposed to a perpetual license model, SaaS platforms come with a fixed subscription option on a monthly basis. You are required to pay a monthly fee for a specific period. Users need to pay upfront installation fee while monthly subscription fee per user may vary between $210 and $36,000.
This model works best for cloud-based deployments, with remote hosting, which can be accessed on compatible devices.
Also known as the pay-as- you-go model, the subscription pricing model involves a lower initial setup cost compared to an equivalent perpetual license. Most SaaS-based models come with usage parameters and the subscription is usually scaled with usage.
Typically, EHR vendors link monthly charges to the number of system users or the volume of activity on the system. One such example of connecting usage volume to EMR cost is the pay per encounter pricing model. In this payment model, the user is required to pay for patient encounters for a fee.
With an array of options available, your choice of an EHR rests on your practice needs. When it comes to picking a SaaS platform, you might want to consider the EHR pricing model. For a large-scale practice, a perpetual license pricing model may compare with other models.
You might be interested to check the total cost of ownership in the long term. The ultimate decision will rest on your practice’s ability to pay a large sum of money upfront or in increments with restricted usage.
You want to choose between a lease and purchase contract.
• Lease implies a recurring monthly expense. When you purchase the software, you buy the software license for the full cost with ongoing maintenance charges.
• Most practices need to purchase a certain amount of license based on the number of users and other factors. There could be hidden cost involved in a license, so it is critically important to understand the pricing structure. You should also try to find what you are entitled to do with the license.
EMR cost can be categorized as initial and recurring. Initial cost includes the cost of implementation while recurring cost may include expenses for ongoing maintenance.
Other Cost Factors – Medical Software
Hardware can be a huge expenditure for those looking for on-premise software with their own servers. The cost includes all other infrastructure expenses for installing the solution. As a result, when it comes to EMR pricing, it may be seen as a costlier alternative to cloud solutions.
For budget-conscious medical practices, you may want to go with cloud services that do not require infrastructural investments and you can rely on the vendor’s web-based solutions.
Hardware will depend on the EHR chosen.
This means if you go for an application service provider EHR, it has lower hardware requirements than an EHR based on client server, as the hardware maintenance is the responsibility of the vendor. This affects the total EMR cost.
On the other hand, a client-server EHR requires designated file server computers. It is the size of your practice that determines your hardware requirements, which may include:
• Fax machines
• File servers
• Tablet/laptop PCs
• Personal digital assistants
The software cost for medical practices includes the price of the EHR itself and other add-ons or support apps, such as scanning, faxing, or word processing.
Overlooked Cost – EMR/EHR Software
An understanding of different pricing models gives you better insight into any additional fees that might go overlooked when implementing a new EMR.
- Data migration: The biggest surprise might come in the form of data migration cost. When your software vendor extracts and exports patient data as files, it might look like a surprise cost. Such data migration charges may vary from $30,000 to $50,000.
- Productivity loss: Getting used to using the new system and entering patient data involves time. This could mean less time for seeing patients on a day-to-day basis during the transition phase. Additionally, it could cause a temporary decline in profits.
- Staff training: Another surprise EMR cost could be in the form of training cost. It depends on the type and amount of training required for the new system. Some vendors offer numerous free online training materials that can bring down the software cost for medical practices.
However, it is a better idea to get expert help from an implementation specialist. This could help make your staff better acquainted with the system, thus reducing costly downtime.
Calculating EHR/EMR TCO
Indirect cost is defined as the cost of selecting the EHR in terms of staff time. It includes time lost in implementation that was otherwise meant to be spent in regular duties. You cannot ignore staff time spent on implementing the solution when checking indirect cost of implementation.
This includes training and technical support for implementing the system and helping the staff get acquainted with the new system. Furthermore, lost productivity after implementation will need to be considered, particularly if changes in the EHR system cause a disruption in the current practice workflow.
When assessing an EHR, it is best to consider more than the price and think long-term, such as the cost of hardware, licensing, and purchase. The idea is to determine comprehensive cost estimates and calculate the total cost of ownership or TCO.
In simple terms, TCO is the complete evaluation and accounting of information technology and services costs in both short and long term. This will give you a clear idea of the real cost of operating or owning an EHR that often includes overlooked expenses.
All-inclusive practice management solutions are more expensive yet expansive and come with electronic health records. Health practices also get access to full claims processing capability. The software cost for medical practices could amount to $50,000 or more.
Some vendors offer both in-house and cloud-based options. For a massive practice, it is a good idea to use installed software. However, smaller practices can choose a cloud-based EHR.
Although hardware prices have come down, the EMR pricing is basically influenced by:
• Training that could cost anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000.
• Software upgrade, which may come at an annual price of $1,500 to $3,500.
• Software license is available for $3,500 per user.
• Information technology support, available at $200/hour.
EMR/EHR Pricing Bottom Line
When it comes to evaluating EMR cost, it all boils down to three main factors:
What are your exact needs?
Yes, your actual needs will dictate the software cost for medical practice. It would be a mistake to assume that the EMR price quote given by the vendor includes all the features you want.
Sometimes it may not even support the staff in your office, so it may not be the best choice for your practice. It is therefore important to be clear about your requirements in order to get to know the real EMR cost.
It is critically important to do a check to see if there are any hidden costs. Is there any cost that you might have overlooked?
The software cost for medical practice is more than the license cost. You should also enquire about the cost of data migration and staff training when planning your software budget.
Did you do a cost comparison?
In addition to this, you should seek out free resources to do EMR cost comparisons. There are many such resources available online. This ITQlick EHR pricing guide is your best recourse to getting complete software cost for medical practices offered by some of the top EMR vendors.