How Much for EMR? Nickel and Dime?

I had written about how much you should pay for an EHR system.

I would like to talk about the concept of EHR pricing: Chinese menu versus nickel and diming. Some vendors are notorious for nickel and dining every little thing about their system. The reason I’m bringing this topic up is because sometimes we get confused between the 2 types of pricing.

We’ve all gone to Chinese restaurants and we know what a Chinese menu looks like: it’s long, it’s huge, but the idea behind this is that you pick what you want to eat. Similarly, you pick what you want in terms of EHR features and functionality versus just very high-level bundled packages like a prefix dinner.

This is perfectly normal because when you do your practice analysis in terms of what your needs are, you know what specific things you need in your system.

What bothers me most is when people start nickel and diming. For example, when you go to a Chinese restaurant you don’t want them to charge you extra for soy sauce, and you don’t want them to charge you for a cup or a fork – that is nickel and diming.

EHR system vendors say they are including text messaging and faxing, It is a cloud system so storage is included. They say that we will allow 100 faxes, 1 GB of data storage, and so on. That to me is nickel and dining. It’s very similar to your mobile/cell phone plans where they give you a certain number of minutes per month; they give you a certain amount of data per month.

They don’t have any more genuine unlimited plans where I don’t care how much you talk, I don’t care how much data you use. A flat fee that is predictable, is absolutely essential for business.

What I’ve seen typically is. There are at a high level probably 3 types of main bundles:

  • Clinical/EMR module
  • Billing module and
  • Combined software

Within these, there may be many features that are probably included and you need to evaluate them carefully. There may be certain optional items, and these could be anything ranging from EPCS which is controlled substances electronic prescribing to text messaging.

Some people have good productivity tools such as digital pens, medical card scanners, and so on, and that, I can understand as optional.

Therefore when you’re comparing different systems and vendors what I want you to do is to start making a list of the things that are included and what different vendors want to charge.

Watch the video above to see how to compare EHR software vendors’ pricing.

Author: Chandresh Shah

Chandresh Shah specializes in Healthcare IT and Medical Billing. He knows the market inside out; what works, what doesn’t. He advises and works with small business owners.