Comparing vendor prices at the time of an acute care EMR purchase may only be the tip of the iceberg. Unexpected costs, physician usability, missed delivery dates, response time, stability and workflow interruptions all play a role in the true cost of owning an EMR system. Buyers may find that they can afford to buy a particular solution, but they can’t afford to own it or the solution won’t facilitate the adoption they will need.
KLAS examines the recent buying experiences of 146 healthcare organizations. Looking at the elements involved in the true cost of ownership, such as getting the money’s worth, scope, how well the vendor kept its promises, cost surprises and physician/clinician adoption, the KLAS report “Acute Care EMR, Getting Your Money’s Worth: The Overall Experience” looks beyond the actual quoted price of an EMR in a contract to the realized cost of owning a system.
Because the process has matured, there are fewer pioneers and buyers are savvier, it is less likely today that an EMR project will go way beyond budget. Being within budget is significant but only one primary measurement in ownership.
Monetary ties to meaningful use and HI-TECH requirements put a focus on the proactive development of physician friendly solutions and CPOE that leave some providers hesitant about the ease of use of CPOE options available. “Some of the less expensive EMR adoptions may sacrifice depth of CPOE to keep costs low,” said Kent Gale, author of the report and KLAS Founder. “Deep physician adoption typically has a major budget impact and requires significant investment.”
Getting past general clinical use to deep CPOE adoption typically requires significant additional staffing, vendor and consultant costs. Purchasers question the overall expense of and value a particular EMR solution could bring to their organization. “When purchasing an acute care EMR solution, providers wonder if they will be able to count on what they have budgeted, if they will experience major cost overruns and if they will get their money’s worth especially when it comes to physician use,” continued Gale.
“Keeping contractual commitments is tough for almost all vendors,” Gale explained, “especially in the implementation and go-live phases.”