An Electronic Medical Record (EMR) System is essentially a digital form of the paper charts used for patients.
In their functioning, EMRs are meant to store information on a patient’s medical history within a health organization.
Additionally, the system is also used to manage and make decisions about a patient’s health care.
The software keeps track of when patients are due for checkups, and it monitors how statistics like changes in blood pressure and cholesterol levels over time.
Under normal circumstances, the software may also be used to track scheduling and medical billing.
With regards to EMR software, consumers have two main options: on-site and Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) EMR vendors.
Each of these two options comes at a different price point, which is determined by a number of factors. Discussed below are the key cost factors that influence the pricing of EMR software.
How Much Will EMR Software Cost You?
Basically, vendors of SaaS EMR software are known to offer different price points for their products. So, how exactly is this price arrived at and how do you know whether you are getting a fair deal?
The cost of any EMR software will mainly depend on the total number of users, practitioners, and the number of devices running the software.
If you would rather have a traditional on-premise EMR solution, you should expect to spend between $1,500 and $5,000 on software licensing fees.
If you take into account all the required hardware as well as software costs, the solution will cost about $10,000 for a small practice.
larger practices may end up spending upwards of $50,000 to implement the right EMR solution. On average, software licensing fees can range between $1,000 and $25,000.
However, enterprise-level systems will attract higher licensing fees, which can extend to hundreds of millions for center and epic systems.
In addition to these, there are several other aspects that will determine the overall cost of EMR software you will incur.
Main EMR Software Cost Factors
Just as is the case with any SaaS software in the market, the price of EMR software varies from one vendor to another.
To begin with, there are those providers that will charge you an upfront amount for the software, while others will require you to pay monthly such subscription fees.
There is yet other EMR software that will offer its software for free. Again, there are other types of costs you may invite along the way, all of which will impact on the overall cost of the software.
Discussed below are the key factors affecting EMR software pricing:
The Pricing Model
As you may have learned, different vendors use different pricing models to price their EMR software. The main difference is often in fostered functionality and capabilities.
Just as functionality is an important consideration, the pricing models a vendor can offer are equally important.
Again, you need to ensure that the technological capabilities of your preferred EMR are aligned with your practice’s goals. In this regard, the pricing model you choose must be conducive to system ROI.
Even the perfect EMR from a technical standpoint can be all for naught if the economics of its pricing model pricing is unsustainable.
This being the case, it is important that your EMR platform presents a good technical fit within a pricing policy that is realistic and specific to the financial climate in your practice.
Fortunately, the EMR market is competitive, with many pricing models to choose from, including:
SaaS platforms typically based on a fixed monthly subscription pricing model, commonly referred to as the “pay-as-you-go” model.
Although the initial setup cost for SaaS is usually lower than the equivalent perpetual license, SaaS-based EMR vendors typically attach usage parameters to this model.
Holding other factors constant, an EMT subscription model will cost you between $200 and $700 per provider per month.
These parameters can be somewhat loose. For instance, an EMR software vendor may provide their software and all associated updates for one monthly fee with little or no limitations based on use.
In this case, they will not be collecting the same monthly fee from a user who uses a small amount of data compared to an intensive data user.
In order to scale the subscription with usage, EMR vendors may link monthly charges to the number of system users or the volume of activity on the system.
A good example of connecting the volume of use to cost is found in the pay per encounter pricing model.
In this EMR pricing model, the user pays for a set number of patient encounters for a specified fee.
Perpetual License Pricing
Broadly speaking pricing models align with the two main forms of EMR delivery: on-site EMR deployment and web-based EMR delivery, also known as Software as a Service (SaaS).
Typically, on-site delivery offers a perpetual license (allowing you to use the software indefinitely).
However, the user must pay for ongoing costs to support and manage on-site data servers with a larger upfront cost.
These ongoing fees also include updating and patching software when required. As you can imagine, there are drawbacks related to paying a lump sum fee plus an annual maintenance agreement.
The main drawback of this EMR pricing model involves a significant cost at the onset of the agreement.
Again, these expenses cannot be recovered if the system does not meet your organization’s needs.
If this is your preferred model, you should expect to spend a large amount of money upfront, with one-time licensing fees ranging between $1,200 and $500,000.
Installation and Configuration Cost
Regardless of whether you use onsite or SaaS EMR, you still need to account for your local network hardware requirements and costs.
EMRs usually requires a number of mobile devices. As such, you will need to factor in the cost of such things as desktop computers, mobile devices like tablet PCs, phones, iPad, etc., printers, scanners, fax machines, and the like.
Again, some systems need to be installed and configured by skilled technicians. This will definitely inflate the cost of EMR software.
On average, you will end up spending between $1,000 and $3,000 on the installation and configuration of your EMR software. This often depends on the complexity of the project.
Implementation assistance encompasses all technical support required to implement the EHR system.
This typically involves staff outside of your organization. Potential implementation assistance costs include bringing in an outside IT contractor, assistance with chart conversion or hardware and network installation.
Staff Training Cost
Different EMR software is designed differently, hence may not function in a similar manner.
Whether you are changing to different software or implementing one for the first time, you need to train the staff on how to use it. Training extends to physicians, nurses, and office staff.
In addition to training staff, a decision regarding who will carry out the training will need to be made. Often the vendor will offer training services.
However, this could be limited, requiring in-house staff to conduct training in the future. On average, most practices are likely to spend about $20,000 in staff training costs alone.
However, there are cases where some organizations have spent more than $30,000 training their staff on the use of the new EMR software.
As such, you need to check if your preferred Vendor offers onsite training - it will cost you extra but it may well be the key to ensure a successful EMR implementation.
Ongoing Maintenance Cost
Technology often malfunctions; this is a fact of modern life. This rule applies to a large-scale EMR system just as much as it applies to consumer technology options.
In addition to the normal system maintenance, some providers are known to charge consumers for technical support.
However, most SaaS vendors bundle ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs as part of their monthly subscription.
As such, it does not hurt to check and confirm with the EMR Vendor you are considering.
System Customization Cost
Out of the box EMR systems often require several tweaks and adjustments to fit into the environment they are being used.
With some of the leading providers, this comes at a cost. This cost may be reduced if a system with a high level of the user configuration is selected
System Add-Ons and Upgrades
The longer you continue using EMR software, the more likely it will be that you will require to upgrade.
Particularly as meaningful use expectations of EHR functionality change, an organization can anticipate upgrades and add-ons to be required.
Most of these will come at a cost, which will impact on the EMR software cost in the long run.
Ready to Implement EMR Software?
With a growing number of practices and medical organizations adopting the use of EMR technology, it is just a matter of time before you follow suit.
While preparing to make the move, you need to understand the pricing of these systems.
In addition to the software licensing cost, you also need to factor in several other costs that you will incur while implementing the software and possibly after implementation.
With this guide, you will have an easy time estimating the cost of EMR software accurately.