How Much Should You Pay for EHR?

They range from $0 (Practice Fusion) to $800 per provider per month. Most EHR systems charge a monthly subscription fee these days.

So, how much should you pay?

If you think all EHR systems are the same, buy the cheapest Certified EHR system. Right?

When you say ‘they are all the same’, what you really mean is that all certified EHR systems have the same ‘features’. i.e., they do charting, they store patient data, labs, ePrescription, ICD-10, CPT, and E&M coding, etc.

For Example, both iPhone and Android devices have all the ‘features’, yet you choose one versus the other. Why?

OK, so they are all NOT the same. 

Second Question: How much can you afford to pay?

Before we try to answer that, ask yourself this.

“What would be at stake if this is NOT the right system for your practice, makes everyone non-productive, staff wastes lot of time?”

EHR should not be taken lightly. The negative impact is very critical. By implication, looking at EHR as a cost and expense is not correct. EHR must be a proper financial and investment decision. You wouldn’t hire a nurse that wants the lowest salary, would you?

Let’s break it down.

  1. All EMRs are NOT the same.
  2. Don’t go by Price. Don’t start a conversation with ‘how much’? You are not buying potatoes.
  3. Prepare very hard and meticulously – as if you are starting a business.

Prepare very hard – as if you are starting a business

This is one element of your practice that, as I mentioned earlier, can have a tremendous impact on our business bottom line if you choose the wrong system and the wrong vendor. Here are some things I recommend you must do before you see any demonstration.

  • Have a written document outlining the complete practice workflow.
  • Have your staff write specific parts of the practice workflow that are inefficient and can be improved.
  • Identify 5 cases that represent 80 – 90% of your patients (unless you’re a super-specialist where each patient is truly unique). Use these cases to benchmark systems. Share these cases with the vendor (de-identified) and ask them to walk you through these cases.
  • Ask the vendor to show how they can bring improvement to your practice rather than focusing on particular features. There may be many ways to accomplish the goal.

And finally, determine a budget that you can afford and something that can bring positive ‘return-on-investment’ (watch the video below)

EMR Systems are NOT expensive.

Talk to your Accountant/CPA. Look at your Profit and loss statement and determine the distribution of costs. You may quickly find that you sometimes spend more than the monthly fee of an EMR on things that do not have such an impact on the success (or failure) of your practice.

And finally, don’t be afraid of spending slightly more than you can afford to get the maximum value and support from your vendor. It will pay off!

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.