With an increasing number of health facilities and practitioners adoring the use of electronic health records (EHR), one will be left wondering, how much does one cost?
Implementing the entire system requires a serious investment, but it doesn’t come without benefits.
The integration of EHR and medical billing software helps reduce data entry, provides more transparency, and a higher reimbursement rate (Source).
However, the cost of an EHR system varies significantly based on several factors.
In addition to equipment costs, you also need to worry about EHR software costs, something many people tend to overlook.
The pricing of this software varies from one developer to another. Costs will consist of licensing fees, subscription fees, updates, and maintenance costs.
Throughout this guide, you will learn the various factors that will influence the long-term cost of EHR software.
This is different from EMR software, which is a more narrow look at a patient’s medical history.
Average Cost of EHR Software – Industry Standard Rates
Just as is the case with a good number of software solutions in the market, your provider will probably bill you for software licensing. If required upfront, EHR software licensing fee ranges between $1,200 and $500,000.
Additionally, most EHR software solutions are known to attract recurring monthly and annual costs. All these are the rates for a standard software solution that only offers basic capabilities.
To get more capabilities with your software, you need to invest in EHR software add-ons as well. For recurring payments, you should expect to pay between $200 and more than $35,000 monthly, especially for software subscription payments.
With some providers, you will also be charged for data migration, which can set you $30,000 to $50,000 back.
EHR Software Cost Factors
Now that we have established that the cost of this software varies greatly, you must be wondering what causes this variance.
As you can see from the above-mentioned industry-standard EHR rates, the overall cost will depend on several other costs that you have to make along the way.
In almost all cases, you will be required to pay more than just the licensing fee to keep the software up and running as days go by.
So, what affects the cost of EHR Software?
Are you looking forward to implementing cloud-based EHR or the more traditional on-site solution? You need to understand that the two solutions come at different price points for both upfront and ongoing costs.
Implementing a server-based EHR system averages between $20,000 and $40,000.
Cloud-Based EHR Software Cost
Of the two, the Software as a Service (SaaS) EMR is the preferred option by practitioners and institutions in the country. This is because SaaS software solutions are cloud-based.
Such services are affordable, feature lower ongoing costs, and are easy to update. Since Internet connectivity is essential to cloud usage, you may have to invest in a backup broadband connection.
The low initial cost of SaaS makes it the ideal solution for many small to mid-size practices. The pricing of the cloud-based EHR software solution mainly depends on the number of users.
For instance, one with support for four users will come at a range of $800 to $900 per month.
A solution with support for up to eight users will cost you between $1,500 and $2,000 a month while those for 12 users cost between $2,500 and $3,000.
If you need one that can support up to 20 users, you should expect to pay between $3,000 and $4,000 every month.
Truth be told, EHR technology is rather new and not everyone knows how to use them. As such, a considerable amount of the setup cost should be channeled towards training the staff.
Based on statistical findings, most of the leading institutions spend between $20,000 and $30,000 per doctor for training.
Investing in staff training not only makes them conversant with the system but also boosts their performance significantly.
For enhanced affordability, some EHR Software vendors are known to offer the required training free of charge or at a small fee.
For smaller practices, the training cost will be between $2,000 and $3,000. You need to check whether your preferred provider charges additional costs for staff training.
While this will inflate the cost of EHR software, it is recommended for successful EHR implementation.
Installation and Configuration Cost
Depending on the intended application, some EHR software solutions can be relatively hard to install and configure to your specific needs.
With such software, you will need to hire a skilled professional to do it for you or consult with knowledgeable support staff to guide you through the process.
Either way, this will require you to spend more money on EHR implementation. Regardless of whether you use onsite or SaaS EMR, you still have to account for the local network hardware needs.
EHRs usually require you to configure connected mobile devices, desktop computers, mobile devices, printers, scanners, and fax machines.
Most leading EHR software providers in the industry will charge you between $3,000 and $4,00 for IT support.
If you choose to hire an expert to do it for you, you should expect to pay even more for EHR software installation and configuration.
Ongoing Maintenance and Updates
In addition to the above-discussed costs, you also need to budget for maintainable and update costs as time goes by.
With SaaS EHR software solutions, this will be cheaper and easier to accomplish. As a matter of fact, some will actually offer you free software updates.
In other cases, the monthly subscription cost will be inclusive of maintenance and updates. There yet other providers that will charge you an additional fee, apart from licensing and monthly subscription.
Either way, you should expect to spend between $80,000 and $100,000 on maintenance and updates of the system for the first year of implementation.
Ready to Implement EHR Software?
In addition to the expensive hardware components, particularly for the server-based EHR systems, you will also spend a considerable amount of money on the software.
As you have learned throughout this article, EHR software pricing mainly depends on its features, the number of users, and deployment.
When estimating EHR software costs, you need to factor in licensing, subscription, installation, and configuration as well as maintenance and updates costs.