A new EHR is a significant investment for your practice. Implementing an EHR can cost between $15,000 to $70,000 per provider. This financial cost does not include the number of labor hours to get the new system up and running. Here is an EHR implementation cost breakdown to help your practice understand the potential costs and choose the right approach for your needs.
EHR Implementation Cost Breakdown: The Software
Any EHR implementation project begins with selecting software (e.g. NextGen, Epic, AllScripts, or eClinicalWorks). Many software vendors offer multiple options designed to meet the needs of different practices. For example, vendors may offer alternative EHR customizations for different practice types such as primary care practices, specialists, or Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs).
Many EHR vendors also offer multiple installation options. With a self-hosted solution, your practice will administer the EHR software and data on servers in your data center. There are often a number of EHR remote hosting providers that can also perform this service for you instead. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or cloud-based EHR systems, in contrast, means that you don't have to worry about hosting software and you typically access the software from the web.
Larger practices may find the self-hosting approach more flexible and cost-effective over the long term. In general, EHRs that can be hosted, rather than the SaaS/web model, allow for more customization and do not require ongoing subscription payments to EHR vendors. There is often still licensing maintenance cost included, which should be considered. However, the upfront installation costs for self or remotely hosted EHRs are higher. Small or solo practices may prefer SaaS or cloud-based EHRs because of their lower upfront costs and ease of implementation.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) estimates that in-office/hosted EHR implementation costs an average of $33,000 upfront, compared to $26,000 for the SaaS approach.
EHR Implementation Cost Breakdown: The Hardware
Your practice will also need to purchase the computers, servers, and networking devices needed to access and use your EHR system. If you elect to purchase an in-office EHR system, like NextGen Enterprise, you will need to purchase secured servers to host the EHR software and data. You can also partner with NextGen or a hosting provider to host your data instead and lower your initial hardware investment.
This means that in-office systems require a larger upfront investment in hardware to support EHR roll-out. Cloud-based or SaaS systems like NextGen Office, in contrast, require fewer hardware purchases because your data is stored on the software vendor’s servers and accessed through a web browser.
For any EHR system, you also need to assess your computer and networking needs. Slow computers and laptops, poor internet connections, and network infrastructure issues are significant sources of poor EHR performance. When buying new equipment, it is recommended to understand compatibility with the new EHR and choose appropriately. It is also recommended to test computers with the EHR for the end-user experience before buying in bulk.
Your EHR implementation plan should include any necessary hardware replacements and acquisitions to ensure stable access to your EHR system, including:
- Enterprise level networking and wireless equipment
- Tablets, desktops, and laptops
- High-volume scanners
- Insurance card scanners
- Electronic signature pads
- RSA tokens
EHR Implementation Cost Breakdown: Implementation Support
Many practices need support from project managers, trainers, analysts, consultants, and developers to implement an EHR system. Third-party contractors like TempDev can help with everything from project planning to customization to workflow redesign to training. With expert implementation support, you can get your EHR system up and running faster. Implementation support can also save you money over the long term by keeping your project on budget, improving usability, and ensuring sufficient training to support effective EHR use.
The costs of implementation support will vary depending on the level of support your practice needs. Implementation support should also help you implement best practices and set you up for success with implementing your new EHR.
EHR Implementation Cost Breakdown: Training
Training is a critical part of any EHR implementation. Targeted training improves satisfaction with your EHR system and prevents burnout. Your EHR implementation plan should budget for both pre-implementation and ongoing training to support staff use of the EHR system.
One study estimated that training costs approximately $1,500 per physician for end-users, with higher costs for training superusers and implementation teams.
EHR Implementation Cost Breakdown: Ongoing Costs
Your ongoing costs will vary based on your training needs and your software and hardware choices. Common ongoing EHR system costs include optimization, development, software maintenance, hardware replacement, and training.
If your practice selects cloud-based EHR software, you pay a subscription fee to your vendor for continued access and support. These fees can change over time depending on the vendor and your practice’s needs. If you opt to host your EHR in-house, you will incur server and internal network maintenance costs. Ongoing costs are often higher for cloud-based/SaaS EHR systems than for in-office systems.
ONC estimates that ongoing software and hardware costs are about $4,000 per year for in-office systems and $8,000 per year for SaaS systems. These estimates do not include costs for ongoing training and third-party support.
TempDev Can Help You Develop a Custom EHR Implementation Cost Breakdown
TempDev provides industry-leading support for your NextGen EHR and EPM. TempDev’s project managers can help you develop an EHR implementation plan and budget, including a full cost breakdown. If you need implementation support, TempDev’s developers can help you customize and implement your NextGen system so you can roll out faster. Plus, our consultants and trainers can support workflow redesign and develop a training plan to make sure your staff is ready to use your new EHR system on day one.
Call us at 888.TEMP.DEV or contact us to get started implementing your NextGen EHR system.
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