12 budget considerations for implementing an EHR

The financial implications of implementing an EHR can be severe, especially when considering adoption of electronic records can cost upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Hayes Management Consulting offers the following 12 budget items to address when preparing for an EHR go-live, according to a Health Data Management report.

1. Estimate the build costs of the EHR, including the costs of building out each individual application module. Some vendors require more work to construct the final product, and customization always costs more to complete.

2. Consider compensation, both in terms of financial and time, for physicians who are involved in the rollout, as they will be taking on additional duties to help with the implementation.

3. Calculate the need for additional production support staff, especially if an organization is adopting an EHR for the first time. A healthcare organization may need to invest in staff, extended support hours and automated tool to help with the implementation.

4. Physician productivity is likely to slightly slow down during an EHR implementation, so healthcare organizations may need to make amendments to maintain a physician compensation model.

5. With a new EHR comes the need for new interfaces. Healthcare organizations should research necessary investments on required interfaces for their new platforms.

6. Data will likely need to be converted from an existing EHR to the new one, which carries planning time and costs to carry out.

7. Hospitals will also need to consider server and infrastructure hardware, including virtualization and whether to host applications.

8. It is in a healthcare organization's due diligence to review any necessary software licenses that vendor estimates may exclude, including third-party applications.

9. Hardware such as desktops, laptops, smartphones and other devices are an additional cost. Furthermore, each device carries its own associated cost for software, licensing, etc.

10. Consider the hospital network's growth projection, including security and HIPAA requirements. These could require upgrades, thereby incurring additional costs.

11. Prepare for downtime capabilities include hardware and software options. Many vendors offer solutions, and the additional costs should be factored into the overall project.

12. Have a contingency plan in place. Approximately 10 percent of a project budget should be allotted for this type of backup plan.

More articles on EHRs:

7 characteristics of healthcare's 'Most Wired' hospitals
68% of physician practices say they haven't seen ROI from their EHRs
20 things to know about meaningful use

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